Two Sons #3
- Share the last party you attended and one thing you remember about it.
- What stood out to you in the sermon? What insights did you gain? What questions did it raise?
Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So, he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ The older brother became angry and refused to go in.
- If you were the older brother, how would you have felt when you learned that your father was throwing a party for your younger brother? Why?
- Why can it be so hard for us to see other people receive acts of kindness and generosity that we think they don’t deserve?
- How was the older brother in his own way just as “lost” as the younger brother?
- Which brother in the story can you most identify with?
So, his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
- How would you describe the older brother? What were his strengths? What were his weaknesses?
- How can our efforts to live a holy and moral life lead us to become self-righteous and judgmental of others?
- How can self-righteousness make us blind to our own need to continue to grow stronger in our relationship with God?
- How does a judgmental spirit lead us away from God?
The older son felt mistreated by his father and said to him, “you never gave me even a young goat.”
- Why do you think the older son felt mistreated? How long do you think the older son had felt mistreated?
- How can a feeling of scarcity create fear and envy within us?
- How can fear and envy lead us away from God?
- How can gratitude and thanksgiving help us avoid a spirit of scarcity?
The older son describes himself by saying “I’ve been slaving for you.” He then describes his brother, saying, “this son of yours who has squandered your property.”
- What do these two descriptions tell us about the older son?
- What happens to us when we begin to assess our relationship with God by comparing it to others?
- What can happen to us when we think we’ve been overlooked or underappreciated by others? By God?
‘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.’
- Do you think the older son went into the party? Why or why not?
- How is Jesus the example of what a true and faithful older brother should be?
Confess any self-righteousness you feel and any impulses you have to be judgmental of others. Then give thanks for God’s amazing grace and forgiveness and ask God to fill you with a spirit of grace and forgiveness toward others.