I just thought I would share this other thing that came to light as we studied this story last night at Bible Study. And before I start, way to go McNary folks for not reading ahead and spoiling the surprise! Such discipline!
Anyway, here is the thing that jumped out at me last night. It was verse 28.
28"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.
Someone asked why the father leaves the party. Well, the obvious answer is that he is trying to get his son to join the party. But this time, all the pieces fell into place. Let's take a look back at Luke 15.
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'
Notice a similarity? The shepherd leaves the 99 other sheep to find the one who was lost. The father leaves a raging party to go look for his son. His lost son. And it isn't the son you would think.
The older son wanted a party. In my last post I said that he should have gone and looked for his lost brother. I still think that is true. But I see another way he could have had a party. He could have let his father find him and bring him home. Had he accepted the invitation to come in, he would have had everything he ever wanted.
Because remember what the father does when he finds things? He celebrates! He was already celebrating his younger son coming home. Now he wanted to celebrate his older son doing the same. He was trying to throw his older son a party.
Imagine that party! Imagine the rejoicing of God when the whole family gets together.
So what do I take from this? The joy of God is found when we go find lost people and bring them home. The joy of God is found when we accept his invitations for us to quit slaving in the fields and join the party. The joy of God is found when we begin to experience his heart for the lost. The joy of God is found when we rejoice in someone else being found.
I love this stuff. I really do.