Read Luke 15:21-24
Scripture says, that the prodigal son returned home and repented for the sins he committed against heaven (Heavenly Father) and his earthly father (Man). He was not only forgiven, but also restored in the family. That family represents the Kingdom of God, and the Body of Christ. The prodigal son is given the birth right of the first-born. God doesn’t have you start over to prove your faithfulness, nor does he punish you, after you repented.
Verse 25 says, “Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.” He asked one of the servant’s what was going on. The servant tells him that his brother has come home safely, and his father has killed the best calf for this joyous occasion.
Verse 28 says, “And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him.” Instead on the eldest son being happy, he is angry. He is angry not because of the transfer of the birthright from the eldest to the youngest. Why is he angry? He is angry because there is no punishment, no stepping down from the prodigal’s position or title, no proving his sincerity by taking a leave of absent from ministry. There is no standing before the family, elders, or congregation to confess his sins and expose his shame. The prodigal is left in the hands of his father, who doesn’t point the finger at him, but with open arms he embraced him, and forgave him. Isn’t that what our heavenly father did for us? Isn’t that what he expects us to do for others? To forgive, embrace, and restore them back into the family of God. What it really boils down to isn’t protocol, but jealousy.
The eldest is jealous of the treatment and attention given to someone who is unworthy. None of us can earn or is worthy of salvation. None of us can stand on our own merits or self-works. Jesus Christ alone paid the price for our salvation.
God the Father sought us and called us, we did not initiate our own calling into the Kingdom of Heaven (John 6:44). Here the Father gives the son what he does not deserve (called grace) and withholds what he actually did deserve (judgment). The father showed mercy.
Who Does the Eldest Son Represent?
Luke 15: 29-30 says, “And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.”
The eldest son represents the religious leaders. The eldest makes a point of letting the obvious be known by saying; “thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots.” Religious (not spiritual) people see the speck in others people, but not the beam in their own eyes. They can find fault in a tree. They found fault in a sinless Savior because Jesus didn’t do things their way. He came against their traditions and legalism. The religious leaders saw their rewards due for their works. They didn’t understand that they can bring nothing to the plan of salvation and if they try to earn it, they do not understand how God saves and that it is Jesus’ righteousness alone that accounts them worthy. No human works can ever earn salvation.
Luke 15:31-32, the father tells the oldest son why he is rejoicing: “’my son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
What I don’t understand is why the eldest son isn’t upset because of the transference of the first-born inheritance, which was given to the youngest son? This would have upset me more than the prodigal spending his inheritance on riotous living. The fact that he afterwards receives my (eldest) inheritance seems unfair.
In the Old Testament, the firstborn son was the one who normally received a double inheritance, and was the one who would inherit his father’s role as head of the family. God sometimes reversed this order, as he did with Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:21-26), and as Jacob later did with Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:13-22). Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob, but his rights as the firstborn were taken away because of his sin (Genesis 35:22; 49:34).
However, besides Reuben or Esau the other people mentioned including the eldest son didn’t sin, so why the transference of the double inheritance to the youngest?
Rom. 8:29 says, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be, conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
I didn’t understand why the father did this until I read Romans 8:29 and Isaiah 53:8 which says “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken”
Jesus was the first-born son. He died and didn’t receive the birthright (double portion), however we did. We received the birthright because of Jesus, who was crucified for us. We now are sons and daughters of God, who is our Heavenly Father, and we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We have received the promises, blessings, and birthright of the first-born. Isaiah says, “Who shall declare his (Jesus) generation?” The answer is clear we shall declare it!
Forgiveness would be empty without restoration. If you have received Jesus as Lord and Savior then you have found favor with the Father. The best robe (Robe Of Righteousness) has been placed upon you, a demonstration of the Father's complete approval of you and love and protection for you. A ring has been put on your hand representing the riches you have in Christ, authority you have been given in the name of Jesus and installation into the office of king and priest to God. Sandals have been put on your feet affirming son-ship and all of its benefits.