Luke 15:28: “[The elder brother’s] father came out and entreated him. . . .”
[Jesus] is addressing the religious leaders who are going to hand him over to the Roman authorities to be executed. Yet in the story the elder brother gets not a harsh condemnation but a loving plea to turn from his anger and self-righteousness. Jesus is pleading in love with his deadliest enemies.
He is not a Pharisee about Pharisees; he is not self-righteous about self-righteousness. Nor should we be. He not only loves the wild-living, free-spirited people, but also hardened religious people.
The Prodigal God, pp. 75-75.