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Volume 33 - Page 113 of 253 Index | Zoom | |
"No more worthy" (Luke 15: 17-19).
When the prodigal son started on his journey with his wallet well lined with money,
the world seemed a splendid place and he himself felt a fine fellow. But when, after the
grim experience in independence, he "came to himself", a reversal in his estimate of
values had taken place. The far country no longer seemed so enchanting, and even the
servants in the father's house were now seen in an enviable light.
"When he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have
bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger. I will arise and go to my father, and
will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more
worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants" (Luke 15: 17-19).
"I perish."--The prodigal had reached the point where he would agree with the
Scriptures concerning the fate of the man outside Christ. John 3: 16 makes it clear that
whosoever does not believe in the Lord shall "perish". This word has already occurred in
the two preceding parables of this chapter, the "lost" sheep of verse 6 and the "lost" piece
of money of verse 9, and it recurs in verses 24 and 32, where the father speaks of his son
who was "lost, and is found".
"I have sinned."--It is one thing to agree that "all have sinned"; it is another to
"come to oneself" and be led to confess as an individual "I have sinned". Moreover, the
prodigal began to realize the "sinfulness of sin"; that he had "sinned against heaven" as
well as in the sight of his father.
"I am no more worthy."--These words were bitter in the utterance, but sweet in the
ears of the angels of heaven who have joy over one sinner that repenteth more than over
many elder brothers who remain in their unruffled, unexplored, self-righteousness.
"I will arise and go to my Father."--Here is repentance (matanoia) "A change of
mind", both regarding self and regarding "the Father". Of his own will he had left the
Father, of his own will he returned. The word "arise" is anistemi, which in its next
occurrence (Luke 16: 31) is used of the rising from the dead. Although still in the far
country, still sad and sore and disillusioned, the beginning of the new life that will be
spent in the presence of the Father--with robe, ring, and joy--has already begun. We are
nearer to immortality when we say, "I perish", than when we say (as the rich fool in the
same Gospel), "Take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry" (Luke 12: 19).