Skip to main content

Two Brothers

Debts are never truly forgiven, they are always paid. A person with a debt is expected to repay that debt to the lender. If that lender “forgives” the debt, the debtor is only free because the lender has paid a price. Forgiveness always comes with a price tag. Join us for part two of Prodigals where we will explore the cost of forgiveness. 


Luke 15:11-32


______________________ eliminates the possibility of __________ 

Embracing our poverty ushers in the wealth of God’s __________ 

Two manifestations of Sin: Sins of ______________ and Sins of ______________________. 

“Everyone is __________, everyone is __________, and everyone is called to recognize this and ____________.” Tim Keller 


Identify which brother best represents you and ____________.

Daily Readings

This week, as you read passages about different brothers mentioned in the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about each relationship. Who was the oldest and therefore the rightful heir, and who became the brother used of God?  

  • Day 1: Genesis 4 
  • Day 2: Genesis 21 
  • Day 3: Genesis 25 & 27 
  • Day 4: Genesis 37 
  • Day 5: Genesis 49 & 50 
  • Day 6: Exodus 2 
  • Day 7: Exodus 3 & 4 

Suggested Resources

Prodigal God by Timothy Keller

The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey

What’s So Amazing About Grace By Philip Yancey

Check out these and other suggested books at

Think Deeper

Have you ever been lost and not know it? 

How have you knowingly rebelled against God? How did that work out for you? 

Have you ever been the elder brother?  

Small Group Questions

Use this outline for personal reflection, as a couples or family devotion, or with a small group.

HANGOUT (warming up to the topic)

How many siblings do you have? Were any of your siblings prodigals? If so, which of the two brothers described in Luke 15 was he/she?  Which were you growing up? 

HEAR (listening to God through Scripture)

Throughout the Bible, God consistently uses the younger brother rather than the firstborn as His chosen instrument.  Today we will look at a few examples of this and try to understand why God has revealed this pattern to us in His Word. 

Read Genesis 4:1-11     

  • Who was firstborn? What were Cain and Abel’s professions? 
  • Why was God more pleased with Abel’s offering than with Cain’s? 
  • What can you take away from this story as you consider your relationship with God and others?

Read Genesis 21:1-14     

  • Who was Abraham’s firstborn son?  Why was Sarah excuse for wanting to send Ishmael away? What might Sarah have been afraid of? 
  • How did Abraham respond to Sarah’s request? What was God’s encouragement to Abraham?  
  • How do you reconcile how Hagar and Ishmael were treated compared to the blessings that fell to Isaac because of Ishmael’s departure? Was this fair? Why or why not? 

Read Genesis 25:19-34 & 37:1-4     

  • What generational patterns do see in these and other passages we’ve read today? 
  • Is God responsible for the unfair treatment of the older brothers in these stories? Why or why not? 
  • What parallels do you see in these passages and the story of the Prodigal sons from Luke 15? 
  • What lesson might God be revealing to you through this biblical pattern? What are some practical applications of this lesson? 

HUDDLE (making it personal and praying together – in huddles)

Considering your own family origin, can you see any patterns of favoritism? In what ways has that favoritism benefited you? In what ways has it hurt you? Are there ways you are perpetuating that pattern in your life today? Talk about it, invite accountability, and take time to pray.