15:25-32 In the latter part of this parable we have the character of the Pharisees, though not of them alone. It sets forth the kindness of the Lord, and the proud manner in which his gracious kindness is often received. The Jews, in general, showed the same spirit towards the converted Gentiles; and numbers in every age object to the gospel and its preachers, on the same ground. What must that temper be, which stirs up a man to despise and abhor those for whom the Saviour shed his precious blood, who are objects of the Father's choice, and temples of the Holy Ghost! This springs from pride, self-preference, and ignorance of a man's own heart. The mercy and grace of our God in Christ, shine almost as bright in his tender and gentle bearing with peevish saints, as his receiving prodigal sinners upon their repentance. It is the unspeakable happiness of all the children of God, who keep close to their Father's house, that they are, and shall be ever with him. Happy will it be for those who thankfully accept Christ's invitation.
29. these many years … neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment—The words are not to be pressed too far. He is merely contrasting his constancy of love and service with the conduct of his brother; just as Job, resenting the charge of hypocrisy by his friends, speaks as if nothing could be laid to his charge (Job 23:10-12), and David too (Ps 18:20-24). The father attests the truth of all he says.
never … a kid—I say not a calf, but not even a kid.
that I might make merry with my friends—Here lay his misapprehension. It was no entertainment for the gratification of the prodigal: it was a father's expression of the joy he felt at his recovery.
thy son … thy living—How unworthy a reflection on the common father of both, for the one not only to disown the other, but fling him over upon his father, as if he should say, Take him, and have joy of him!