The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a story of two sons. The older son is the son favored by tradition and culture. In Jesus’ time the older son would receive a larger inheritance and would be responsible to care for and uphold the family. In Jesus’ story the older son does everything expected of him. He is the son who does what is required, who stayed near and did the father’s work while his brother wasted his wealth. He is the good son and, in his goodness, he is just as lost as his brother.
What are the things that a good follower of Jesus does? Why these the things?
Read Luke 15:25-32. What is the complaint of the older son? Is he justified in this complaint? What is the tone of the older brother in these verses? What does this tell you?
Read Luke 15:13 and 15:30. What do you notice about the differences? What does this tell you about the older brother?
Do you agree that the older son is just as lost as the younger son? Why or why not?
Unlike the younger son, the story of the older son is left unresolved. Why do you think this is?
Do you know yourself as an older brother? In what ways can you find yourself in the story of the older brother? What is the solution?