Jesus: The True Elder Brother

One of my favorite TV shows is Designated Survivor.  When I watch it I find myself on the edge of my seat because there is so much tension in the show.  Every great story, every great tv show, every great movie is filled with tension.

In Luke 15 Jesus tells another one of his parables. This parable is filled with tension.  It starts out with a shepherd who loses his sheep.  He goes on this search to find his lost sheep and when he finds it he wants to invite his friends to celebrate with him. Then he tells a story about a woman who loses a coin and turns her house upside down to find it. When she finds it she invites all her friends to celebrate.  

Then Jesus tells us a story about a father and his TWO sons.  On the surface these two sons are very different.  One is a good son and the other is a bad son.  One is an obedient son and the other is a disobedient son. One son is responsible and the other son is irresponsible.  These two sons are like night and day OR are they?

If we look underneath the surface both sons are the same.  These two sons are not very different at all.  

Both sons are alienated from the father. Neither son loves the father.  They are only concerned with what they want, what they think and what they feel.  

The younger son asks his father for his inheritance.  It is very dishonoring to the father to ask for the inheritance before the father has passed away.  He is basically saying to the father, "I wish you were dead!" 

The elder son when his younger brother returns home refuses to celebrate when the father pleads with him to come celebrate. It was very dishonoring for the elder brother to refuse the father's plea. He cares nothing for the father or his feelings.

Both sons are only concerned about the father's things.  The younger son wants his inheritance.  The elder son is only concerned that his father killed the fatted calf for his brother and never even killed a goat for him.  Can you feel the tension in this story?

I bring your attention to the first thing Jesus said about this father and his sons, "A father had TWO sons!"  We know this story as The Prodigal Son which leads us to believe that there was only one lost son, but ultimately BOTH SONS ARE LOST!  

  • One son is lost in his riotous living and the other in his righteous living.
  • One son is lost in his disobedience and the other son lost in his obedience.
  • One son is lost in his ignorance and the other son is lost in his pride.

Easter is not just about those people who are obviously lost.  It is as much about those who believe they are doing all the right things like reading their bible, praying, going to church and tithing. Jesus said it best in Matthew 7:21-23.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

That is the scariest verse in the bible.  Is it possible that all these years we've heard the story of the Prodigal Son and not realized that both sons were lost?

If the elder son was a TRUE elder son he would have cared for the Father and would have gone to find his younger son and bring him home NO MATTER WHAT THE COST.

You and I had a TRUE ELDER BROTHER who came from Heaven to Earth because He loved the Father with all His heart.  It didn't just cost Him his wallet.  It cost Him His life.  It was the ultimate sacrifice.

  • He didn't receive the finest robe. He was stripped of His robe!
  • He didn't receive a ring on His finger. He received a crown of thorns!
  • He didn't receive the fatted calf. He was the fatted calf!

The Easter message is about God through His Son invites ALL OF US into a relationship with Him!

Thank God that you and I had a TRUE ELDER BROTHER who gave HIS ALL!  Jesus paid it all!  All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow!

If you want to know more about this perspective I encourage to go to and purchase the book "The Prodigal God!" by Tim Keller.  It will change your life just like it did mine.