It’s Time to Celebrate
“He heard music and dancing.”
This line introduces the first main action of the “older brother” in Jesus’s parable of the Prodigal Son. The rest of the story culminates with what he doesn’t do.
Once There Was a Party
On his way home from the field, the older brother heard the commotion. “Music and dancing,” we’re told. And we’d expect, if there’s music and dancing, there’s laughter and cheers. This is a party. The father had ordered a celebration: “Let us eat and celebrate” (Luke 15:23). Which is what happened: “And they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:24).
It doesn’t take us readers long to see that this is a big deal. The word for “celebration” is used four times in this parable, and it means merriment! It was the kind of rejoicing that if found in other contexts for different motives it would be wrong, which is the case when…