“Dad, why are you throwing a party for him?” Dan asked. “I’m the one that’s always here for you. I’m the one who does what you ask. I deserve to make merry with my friends. Why did you kill the fatted calf for him?”
“I just came in from working in your fields,” Dan continued, “and I heard all this music and dancing. Then, your employee tells me that you killed the fatted calf and you’re having a party for Ben. BEN, who had enough brass to ask for his part of the inheritance before you’re even dead. Who does that? Then he wastes all the money on partying with drunks and prostitutes.”
Dan crossed his arms over his chest and exhaled. “I look into the house, and there he is, with your best robe on him, showing off the ring you gave him–the ring with the family crest. And your new sandals on his feet. And Ben’s making merry with his friends.”
His father answered, “Come in the house, Dan. Your brother is home. Please come in with me.”
“I’m not going in there. You never even gave me a young goat so that I could make merry with my friends. But you killed the fatted calf for him.”
“Danny Boy, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.”
–Luke 15:12-32, author’s paraphrase.
In the original text of Luke 15:12-32 KJV, the killing of the fatted calf is mentioned three times. Here are some possible reasons for this:
1. Killing an animal was done as a sign of a covenant [the father was celebrating his new relationship with his son]
2. A calf was fattened up in preparation of a feast or holiday [like a turkey for thanksgiving]
3. Killing an animal was also done as a sacrifice [without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin]
“Be merry” is said twice, and “make merry” is mentioned twice.
I believe also that one son represents the Jews and on son represents the Gentiles. God the Father welcomes both the Jews and the Gentiles (any non-Jews) to come to Him through the sacrifice of Jesus, who made a blood covenant with God and mankind.
So be merry and make merry,