Luke 15:29

29 But he answered his father, "Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends.

Luke 15:29 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 15:29

And he answering, said to his father
Commending himself, and reflecting on his father:

lo, these many years do I serve thee;
for though he was called a son, yet differed little from a servant; he was of a servile disposition, and under a spirit of bondage; he served his father, not in the Gospel, but in the law, moral and ceremonial; in the letter of it, and not in the newness of the Spirit; externally, and not internally; from fear, and not from love; with mercenary views, and not freely; with trust in, and dependence on his service, seeking justification and eternal life by it, and not with a view to the glory of God; and this he had done "many years"; from his youth upwards, as the Pharisee in ( Matthew 19:20 ) whereas his younger brother had never served him, but his own lusts; and yet as soon as ever he was come home, before he could enter upon service, this entertainment was made for him, and which he therefore resented: moreover, he does not say I have served thee, but "I do"; denoting the continuance and constancy of his service; and intimating that his life had been, and was one continued series of obedience:

neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment;
which though true of the elect angels, can never be said of any of the sons of men; and which shows, that he had never been under a work of the Spirit of God, who convinces of sin; and had never seen himself in a true light, in the glass of that law, he pretended to serve God in; that he was a stranger to the plague of his own heart, and was a self-deceiver, and the truth of grace was not in him: he could not be a good man, for so to say, is contrary to the experience of all good men; to their groans, complaints, and confessions; to their prayers, for fresh application of pardoning grace; and to the observation of all wise and good men in all ages; and most fully proves him to be, a Pharisee:

and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with
my friends;
some by a "kid", or "goat", as Theophylact, understand a persecutor, as Saul was of David, and Ahab of Elijah; and so means that God had not delivered up such an one into his hands; or took him away by death, that he might have some peace and rest, amidst his labours and service; and others understand this of the Jews, desiring Barabbas, a goat, and not Jesus, the Lamb of God; but his meaning seems to be, that he had never received any favour in proportion to the services he had done; and so charges his father with ingratitude.

Luke 15:29 In-Context

27 He replied, "Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.'
28 Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him.
29 But he answered his father, "Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends.
30 But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!'
31 Then the father said to him, "Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.