Parables are designed to teach one lesson. That doesn’t keep us from dissecting them to the point of diminishing return. Having said that, let me continue to cut.
The father had another son, older, who had a different take on life. He also knew his older son. When the father threw the celebration for the returned prodigal he did not send word to the older son. That boy was out working. He was being dutiful and obedient. The father let him return and hear the celebration before he knew anything.
(Luke 15:25 KJV) Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.He had to know the older boy would not be overjoyed at what was happening. He was right. Notice the response.
(Luke 15:28 KJV) And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.He had reason to be angry. He explains it in great detail.
(Luke 15:29-30 KJV) And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.To tell you the truth, my sentiments are with the older son. I have no trouble with the father’s forgiveness but that doesn’t mean the older had to like it.
Traditionally the older son gets a lot of bad press. He is called selfish and hard hearted. Often people act like he is destined for hell because of his attitude. Not so. The father is as forgiving to him as he is to the wastrel. As usual, people ignore a key verse.
(Luke 15:31 KJV) And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.This son was not rejected by the father. Notice that his place is acknowledged. He is just as accepted as the younger son.
Which son are you more like. One needed to repent or he would be lost. One needed to be more forgiving, but there is no indication of him being rejected because of it.
homo unius libri