Yesterday our sermon was Luke 15:1–32, specifically on Luke 15:11-32 (“The Prodigal Son”). The key is to realize that both sons are prodigal, both were more concerned with themselves than anyone else. Both rebelled, one away from the father, the other in the father’s house. Both needed the father’s compassion, and both received compassion.
Ultimately the parable finishes, but it isn’t finished. The parable should in structure and thought have included at the end that the older brother came into the house and he was restored and everyone celebrated. Jesus leaves that ending for the Pharisees and scribes (older brother) and the hearer and reader. Where do they stand with regard to Jesus and and his compassion?
In 15:1-2 we read with new eyes the focus of the parable(s):
Now all the tax collectors and the sinners (younger brother) were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes (older brother) began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
Jesus extends to the older brother the same invitation and plea: “Come and celebrate over the one who is lost.”
I had mentioned the pattern of the parable of the Prodigal Son and this scholar who helps us gain insight into the structure and thought pattern of parables. He wrote two overview books.
Bailey, Kenneth E. Poet and Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes: A Literary-Cultural Approach to the Parables in Luke. Combined ed. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1983.
The two attachments show the pattern he discovered and how that helps focus on the critical item and the parallel structure building up to that and then progressing from that.