In the parable of the prodigal son, the story ends with the older brother standing outside the house seething as the people have their party. He’s mad at the people, his little brother, and his father.
This is the end of a series of parables that Jesus used to address Pharisees and teachers who resented his going to parties with the tax collectors and prostitutes. Usually, when I read about that older brother, I find myself contemptuous of him. But Jesus was not trying to lead us to contempt. Look at the story again, and you see the father begging his son to come in, to be a part of the celebration.
Likewise, Jesus was not condemning the onlookers. He was asking them to join the party. This is an interesting concept. He’s not angry with the self righteous. He’s not telling them to shut up and go away. He wants them come be a part of the joy.
It was hard for them. They wanted to shut the party down which was not going to happen. However, they could join if they wanted.
Question: Do I want to make my world a highly controlled (and joyless) place or can I lay aside my selfish desires and join the party that’s already in progress?