Friends, we must (as folks who come to church) make sure to root out any bitterness or bent that would build a core of self-righteousness within us! Jesus is pushing - and there’s not a real conclusion here in this story to the elder brother — Jesus is pointing out the self-righteous stance being taken; the pleading of the Father to enter in… and leaves the story open-ended, hoping for a change of heart.
Elder brothers divide the world in two: “The good people (like us) are in and the bad people, who are the real problem with the world, are out.”
Younger brothers, even if they don’t believe in God at all, do the same thing, saying: “No, the open-minded and tolerant people are in and the bigoted, narrow-minded people, who are the real problem with the world, are out.”
But Jesus clearly says, “the humble are in and the proud are out”
(See Luke 18:14) For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The people who confess they aren’t particularly good are moving toward God, because the prerequisite for receiving the grace of God, is to know you need it.
Do you know how much you need the grace of God?