The prodigal son’s older sibling seems to carry an attitude of contempt toward his younger brother – and toward his father, from whom he felt entitled to be rewarded for his righteous deeds. The older brother hoped for justice and favor but received a rebuke.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR SHEPHERD GROUPS
- Take a few minutes to reflect on the Rembrandt painting "The Return of the Prodigal Son." (See the image here.) Which parts of the painting and its symbolism are especially meaningful to you? Did you observe any additional symbolism in it?
- Read and discuss Luke 15:25-32. In what ways does the older brother go to his own "far country"?
- How do you avoid the self-righteous mentality that says to God, "You owe me"? Can you think of some scriptural truths that counter such a mindset?
- Is it easier to preach the Gospel to people rooted in vile behavior, or to those rooted in self-righteousness? How can we talk about God's grace to either group (including one we might be in)?
- Where do you fit in this story? Are you the prodigal son? The older brother? Or do you find elements of both in your own heart?
- How has your view of the prodigal son story changed during this series? How has your view of yourself changed?