What Jesus Did! 'The Loving Father' — Luke 15:25-30

Saturday, September 16, 2023

[Continuing the tale of the two sons and talking about when the younger profligate son returned home, Jesus said,] "Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 'Your brother is back,' he was told, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.'

The older brother was angry and wouldn't go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, 'All these years I've slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!'"

Note: This passage continues the third story (Luke 15:11-32) that Jesus told about the joy of recovering something or someone that is lost. The other two stories are Luke 15:3-7 and Luke 15:8-10.
— Luke 15:25-30 NLT

Key Thought

There is no doubt that the behavior of the older son was horrible and selfish. "All these years I've slaved for you..." reveals his attitude about his service to his father. He didn't see what the younger son had discovered: It was better to be a slave in the father's house than to be without the father! [1] What is amazing was the grace of the father. He loved both sons. He had given the inheritance to both sons. So he did what a father would have never been expected to do in that day: He went out to console his pouting and selfish older son and invited him to the banquet. Jesus' point is that our heavenly Father doesn't want any child to be lost — not the rebellious child and not the self-righteous child. The bottom line is that the Father loves every one of us and wants us all to be a part of his celebration of grace no matter the place we are now in our relationship with him!

[1] Luke 15:17-19.

Today's Prayer

Father, thank you for your unselfish and inexhaustible love. Without your grace, I would be lost. With your grace, I give thanks in anticipation of the great celebration of your grace before your throne. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Ephesians 2:8-9
  • Matthew 25:21
  • Psalm 21:6


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Illustration of Luke 15:25-30 NLT —  'Your brother is back,' he was told, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf.

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.