Elder Brothers

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  • July 23, 2014

The following is a post by Princy Mathew, a member of Seven Mile Road and the Willow Grove GCM.

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve met with a few women to study The Prodigal God by Dr. Tim Keller. Even though the parable of the prodigal son is a very popular passage, to be honest, it is only now that I am learning what Jesus was trying to teach and wow, is this a challenging lesson for me!

Dr. Keller talks of our churches being filled with elder brothers who look the right part, do the right thing, but have the same rebellious, disrespectful, and selfish hearts like the younger brother in the parable.  This story is hitting too close to home for many women in my group and as we are justifying our feelings, God is revealing our disgustingly sinful nature, so much so that we are realizing that our elder brotherness maybe pushing the younger brothers away from desiring a relationship with Jesus.  Our superior, judgmental, angry spirits are in no way enticing to our brothers (our spouses, our children, our friends, the list goes on)—and we are intensely feeling the weight of this truth.

BUT, there is also something incredible happening, we are seeing God’s prodigal heart towards us, just like the father’s in the story!  This father sees and knows the hearts of his two sons—they each act differently-one very good and one very bad, but both wish him dead and covet his riches and wealth.  And with this understanding, this amazing father extends an invitation to both sons to renew and resume a loving relationship with him.  The parable ends with the wayward younger son, ‘the lover of prostitutes’ inside the house of his father, celebrating and unifying with his father and the rule- following, moral older son standing outside the house refusing to step in and join the party.  The father welcomed the younger son, and he also comes out of the party to invite his older son. And this is how the parable ends.

So what do my friends and I do with this?

We realize that we are the elder brothers.

Our hearts are feeling this uncomfortable truth.

We are guilty.

As we are feeling desperate about our condition, God gives grace as Dr. Keller writes, “There is no evil that the father’s love cannot pardon and cover, there is no sin that is a match for his grace.”  Our parched souls needed this truth!   Romans 5:8 states, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

We have a lifeline extended to us in Jesus—what will the elder brothers do?

Photo Credit: Submittingharold

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About Ajay Thomas

Ajay lives in Philadelphia with his wife Shainu and their kids Hannah and Micah. He is responsible for preaching and vision as a pastor at Seven Mile Road.

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