The Prodigal God: Younger Brother vs. Older Brother

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Carter Watson
10/7/12
Writing II-1st
Younger Brother Sin vs. Older Brother Sin

Luke 15:11-32 is one of the most famous parables in the Bible. It is the parable of the prodigal son. This parable is about a son who runs away with his inheritance, wastes all of it, and then comes back home to his father’s open arms. Tim Keller goes more in depth into this parable with his book The Prodigal God. In this book, Keller compares the two sons’ sins, “two brothers, each of whom represents a different way to be alienated from God, and a different way to seek acceptance into the Kingdom of heaven” (9). Throughout the book, comparisons can be made between the younger brother’s sin and the older brother’s sin. The younger brother was selfish and wanted his inheritance immediately so that he can go party. The older brother follows all of the rules to get things and doesn’t want his brother to come back. Throughout The Prodigal God, comparison can made between the two brothers’ sin in that both of their intentions are selfish and they both want control.

Tim Keller’s book is more than just discussing the parable of the prodigal son. While the tradition seems to focus more on the younger brother and his sins, Keller goes more depth with the older brother and his faults, “Most readings of this parable have concentrated on the flight and return of the younger brother-the ‘Prodigal Son.’ That misses the real message of the story, however, because there are two brothers, each of whom represents a different way to be alienated from God, and a different way to seek acceptance into the Kingdom of heaven” (9). The first way that the older brother and the younger brother’s sins are similar is that both of their intentions are selfish. With the younger brother, he wanted his inheritance early so he could go and party. “The young man humiliates his family and lives a self-indulgent, dissolute life. He is totally out of control. He is alienated from his father.” (39) This behavior...
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