The Brother of the Prodigal Son, Could have set a high example for his younger brother. Today I would like to entertain the idea that the older brother in the parable should have been
an Ambassador for his wayward brother. He should have negotiated for his re-acceptance into the family.
It is possible that, if he cared, The Older Brother might have ran ahead to meet his younger brother. Perhaps to tell him, "Hey, listen carefully to me, I want to help you. You've got
to be careful how you approach Dad. I mean, he's heard all kinds of stories about how you squandered the money he gave you. Maybe I can get Dad calmed down before you you meet with him."
If the Older Brother was playing the Role of an Ambassador, such as the Apostle Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 5:20, he might have negotiated for peace for his younger brother.
"Here's an idea I have, why don't you remain out here a few more days, I'll get you some food. And in the mean time, I'll work on Father before you come home. I'll tell him that you
really feel bad about the way things went, and how you want to make it right. I'll try to make some kind of arrangements so Dad won't be so angry that your coming home broke. That way he
won't scream and yell at you for living foolishly."
At least the older brother could have tried to be compassionate in some way.
On the Other Hand, we know that in the Parable Jesus tells, the older Brother was anything but an Ambassador, in fact, he was not looking to make peace with his brother, but rather he
was filled with resentment about how the Younger brother was getting a big feast, "Father actually welcomed the little brat home! Gave him a party, roasted steaks on the grill, put a
gold ring on his finger!! This brother of mine didn't even deserve a McDonald's Happy Meal!! After all, I'm the eldest son, and I've never so much as asked for a Goat to have a party
with for my friends!"
The Older brother was not thinking of making amends with his younger brother, no–far from it! Rather he was expressing jealousy, envy and spite.
Have you ever experienced these feelings?? We're usually pretty good at coming up with little ideas in our minds. You know, like you see someone who seems to have it all going for
them, but you think to yourself – "They really don't deserve to have it so good. After all, I'm doing everything right, I listen to Mom and Dad, I do what the boss asks at work, I obey
the Speed Limit!! Well, most of the time!
Hey, I'm a pretty good person, so why should God forgive that person for all the bad things they've done. I mean, if God loves that person and wants to bless them, then I ought to be
due all kinds of favors!"
Or, "Why does that guy or that gal get the lucky break while I'm over here working hard without any fanfare!@? God, this just isn't fair!"
If you notice yourself having these kinds of feelings, then you
might do well to notice that you just stopped being an Ambassador for Jesus!! You know the feeling, you know the Kinds of thoughts that begin to run through your mind,
"I've been a faithful member of this church for 50 years(!!), and done all the work around here! And here this new person comes along and acts like they own the place!" *FLASHBACK!!
"Why I've been working for you Dad for 50 years, and I've not even asked for so much as a goat to roast and have a party with my friends!" . . . . Sounding familiar??
A Side Note, God's Word is the same–yesterday, today and tomorrow!! It never loses it's meaning, just like Human nature never changes. Oh, you may think we've changed a little over
the past 2000 years, but Lord Knows! We haven't changed a bit!
So here's the bottom line: Jesus is telling us that, yea, you Christians are indeed children of God! Yes, by the waters of Holy Baptism, you become washed, purified, righteous children of God and you belong to
In fact, the Lord loves you and is filling you more and more with his Grace and Peace. This is what we live for as Christians! But we have to watch ourselves, that we don't become
proud. We don't want to become like the older brother in the parable who gets resentful when God's grace is lavishly poured out on another child of his who has not yet walked in the ways
of the Lord.
We ought not allow our flesh (human nature!), which seeks to justify itself, room to spoil the matter of God's grace at work in someone else's life. Did you catch that?? This is
important: Since we are Christ's Ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), we have a responsibility to be the ones to encourage others. We are supposed to be setting the good example! We are the
ones who should not allow Spiritual Pride to get in the way of our duty to love and lead others to Christ, who is the source of the grace we live in and our salvation!
Instead, as we hear in Paul's words to the Corinthians, we are to become Ambassadors for Christ! We who are the very embodiment of what God is doing in the world, need to so express
and live out God's grace and love in the practicalities of our lives, that we become the very means of transferring this grace and love to those who are more needy than ourselves.
It could be that Jesus is expressing this idea to his Jewish brothers and sisters in the parable. As we know, the Israelites were the chosen people of God, they are like the Older
Brother who is beloved. In essence, Jesus allows that the younger brother is a Gentile, who, by Jewish standards would not be worthy of God's love. And yet we see the Father welcome the
younger wayward brother home.
Jesus challenges his fellow Israelites to show the good example, Of course they are the Beloved. By their good example more people who need to know God's love and experience his grace
can come to know it First Hand!! So, we also, who are In Christ, are asked to show the better example. Loving sinners and acceptance of others whom we might not deem worthy of God's
holiness or people who name God by a different name than we're accustomed to, this is the beginning duty of every Ambassador for Christ. And by all means, "Beloved, let us love one
another!" (1John 4:7-8).
As Paul said, "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and [He] has given us this ministry of reconciliation!" (2 Cor. 5:18).
Therefore, let us go from wherever we find ourselves today to be Christ's Ambassadors. Let us look for opportunities to share the Good News of God's love for others. And even if a
brother or sister, a son or a daughter should go on a wayward course for some time, let us be there to welcome them back into the fold. God will do the turning in their lives, our job is
to be ready to greet them when they're ready to receive grace and love. Let us not hold another of God's children back from living again in the household of Faith.
And Finally, let us be the Living Ambassadors of Jesus, always giving witness to his grace and peace and love for people and the World.
Let us Pray,
Lord Jesus, I want to be the embodiment of your love. I want to live my life so that others know you through my actions and words, I want to bear witness to your Gospel of Peace in a
Make this Happen in Me–for your glory. Amen