The True Older Brother

In the very beginning of Luke chapter 15, Jesus speaks to religious leaders — teachers of the law — who look at Jesus fraternizing with “sinners,” and they say to him basically, “Why are you hanging out with all these lost people?” The people who are spiritually lost — meaning far from God, away from home, alienated from God. Why is Jesus fraternizing with them?

In response, Jesus gives three parables, and they’re all about lostness. The third parable is this one, the parable of the prodigal son – the most amazing, shocking, category-busting message of Jesus about what it means to be spiritually lost. Jesus is basically trying to get across a new idea, a better idea, than the Pharisees had of what it means to be spiritually lost. 

Let’s look at this new category of spiritual lostness that Jesus introduces: 1) what it is; 2)  how you can judge whether you’re in the category yourself (what the signs are of that condition); 3) what do you do with it if that’s you, and 4) what are some of the implications for our church.

This sermon was preached by Rev. Timothy Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on November 9, 2008. Series “The Fellowship of Grace”. Scripture: Luke 15:17-32.

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Gospel in Life, the site for all sermons, books, study guides and resources from Timothy Keller and Redeemer Presbyterian Church. If you’ve enjoyed listening to this podcast and would like to support the ongoing efforts of this ministry, you can do so by visiting and making a one-time or recurring donation.