The Self Righteousness of the Sinless

Luke 15.25-32 is the second half of one of the most beloved parables by Jesus. It’s the half that we don’t focus on as much. What is our disposition toward those who struggle with sin?


    1. When Jesus received sinners and ate with them…
      1. It is like a shepherd seeking and finding lost sheep (15.3-7).
      2. It is like a woman seeking and finding a lost coin and rejoicing (15.8-10).
      3. It is like a father running out & welcoming home a rebellious son (15.11-24).
    2. In 15.25-32: The older brother represents the Pharisees and scribes.

II. How did the older brother relate to his father?

    1. 15.25 – The older brother had been out in the field all day.
      1. 15.26 – Wants to know what’s going on. 15.27 – gets the answer.
      2. 15.28a – His angry reaction.  15.28b – Father has a conversation with him.
    2. 15.29 – Two specific words stand out here:
      1. Look,…these many years I have served you.
      2. I never disobeyed your command…He sees him only as an issuer of commands.
    3. Pharisees of Jesus’ day had a totally different mindset. See Luke 18.10-12.

III. This mentality can paralyze us.

    1. If we relate to God only as commander-to-slave, everything will be distorted.
      1. We will feel alienated from sinners. Us vs. them mentality.
      2. It can make us angry & resentful of mercy.
      3. It can turn us into a blamer.
    2. The older son was just as messed up as his younger brother.
      1. Romans 3.23-24. Everyone ALWAYS has the same need.
      2. Salvation will always be a GIFT, no matter how long you’ve been a Christian.

IV. The Father’s Response:

    1. 15.28b – the Father came out to him. It’s personal.
    2. 15.28c – the Father entreated him. NASU: began pleading with him.
    3. 15.31 – He calls him “son.”
    4. 15.31b – Father says “you are always with me.”
    5. 15.31c – “All that is mine is yours.”


    1. Not only did Jesus entreat the Pharisees, he entreats all of us.
    2. Come inside to the banquet of grace, forgiveness, and fellowship with the all satisfying Father.

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