HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.–Luke 15:28
The Elder Brother’s Duty toward His Younger Brother
The moral failure of the elder brother is very significant in one respect. It was a failure in the sphere of duty to an equal. As a son, he had given every satisfaction, and with a good conscience, he insists on that. Faithfully, and with creditable patience, he had served his father for these many years.
- Probably, too, no fault could be found with him in his practical management of the estate, nor in his conduct toward the servants on the farm.
- Toward his superiors–for in Jewish eyes the superiority of fatherhood is great–toward his superiors, he was all that could be wished for.
- Toward his inferiors he was blameless, and no-fault attaches to him there.
The point to be noted is that where he failed and failed in a shocking and contemptible way, was in his duties toward his equals. True, one was older and the other younger; one had the privileges of the first-born. Yet were they brothers, born of the same mother, sharers together of the home of infancy. And this was the point of failure in his life, not his duty to superiors or to inferiors, but his duty to one whose birth and upbringing put him on the platform of equality. I want to talk with you for a little about our duties toward our equals.