Sooooooo much Good & Plenty of stuff in Timothy Keller’s The Prodigal God.
We now see that the true elder brother is Jesus.
“My son, everything I have is yours.”
What a wonderful revelation! How sad the elder brother never accepted that.
*Pride in his good deeds, rather than remorse over his bad deeds, was keeping the older son out of the feast of salvation. The elder brother’s problem is his self-righteousness
*To truly become Christians we must also repent of the reasons we ever did anything right.
In this parable we notice how the father (God) goes to each child and expresses love to them in order to bring them in.
*The father’s lavish affection makes the younger son’s expression of remorse far easier.
*The point of the parable is that forgiveness always involves a price— someone has to pay. There was no way for the younger brother to return to the family unless the older brother bore the cost himself. Our true elder brother paid our debt, on the cross, in our place.
*The key difference between a Pharisee and a believer in Jesus is inner-heart motivation.
*Christians have seen something that has transformed their hearts toward God so they can finally love and rest in the Father.
Keller uses this story to drive his point home: “The acclaimed foreign film Three Seasons is a series of vignettes about life in postwar Vietnam. One of the stories is about a Hai, a cyclo driver (a bicycle rickshaw), and Lan, a beautiful prostitute. Both have deep, unfulfilled desires. Hai is in love with Lan, but she is out of his price range. Lan lives in grinding poverty and longs to live in the beautiful world of the elegant hotels where she works, but in which she never spends the night. She hopes that the money she makes by prostitution will be her means of escape, but instead the work brutalizes and enslaves her. Then Hai enters a cyclo race and wins the top prize. With the money he brings Lan to the hotel. He pays for the night and pays her fee. Then, to everyone’s shock, he tells her he just wants to watch her fall asleep. Instead of using the power of his wealth to have sex with her, he spends it to purchase a place for her for one night in the normal world, to fulfill her desire to belong. Lan finds such grace deeply troubling at first, thinking Hai has done this to control her. When it becomes apparent that he is using his power to serve rather than use her, it begins to transform her, making it impossible to return to a life of prostitution.”
*We will never stop being younger brothers or elder brothers until we acknowledge our need, rest by faith, and gaze in wonder at the work of our true elder brother, Jesus Christ.
Keller, Timothy (2008-09-25). The Prodigal God. Riverhead Trade.