on Luke 15 :31
All that I have is thine - See on Luke 15:28 (note).
on Luke 15 :31
All I have is thine - The property was divided. What remained was in reality the older son's. He was heir to it all, and had a right, if he chose, to use it. He had, therefore, no right to complain.
This instructive and beautiful parable was designed to vindicate the conduct of Jesus to show that it was right to receive sinners, and that the conduct of the Pharisees was unreasonable. The older son represents the Pharisees; the younger, the returning sinner, whether Jew or Gentile; and the father, God, who is willing to receive them. The parable had the designed effect. It silenced the adversaries of Jesus and vindicated his own conduct. There is not, perhaps, anywhere to be found a more beautiful and touching narrative than this. Every circumstance is tender and happily chosen; every word has a meaning; every image is beautiful; and the narrative closes just where it is fitted to make the deepest impression. In addition to what has been suggested, we may learn from this parable the following lessons:
1. That the disposition of a sinner is selfish. He desires to get all that he can, and is impatient of delay, Luke 15:12.
2. Sinners waste their blessings, and reduce themselves to a state of want and wretchedness, Luke 15:13. A life of sin brings on spiritual want and misery. It destroys the faculties, benumbs the mind, hardens the heart, abuses the beneficence of God, and makes us careless of him who gave us all that we have, and indifferent to the consequences of our own conduct.
3. Sinners disregard the future woes that will come upon them. The young man cared not for any calamities that might be the result of his conduct. He went on heedlessly - like every sinner to enjoy himself, and to squander what the toils of his father had procured for him.
4. Afflictions are often the means of bringing sinners to reflection, Luke 15:14. While his property lasted the prodigal cared little about his father. When that was gone, and he was in the midst of a famine, he thought of his ways. When sinners are in prosperity they think little about God. When he takes away their mercies, and they are called to pass through afflictions, then they think of their ways, and remember that God can give them comfort.
5. We have here an impressive exhibition of the wants and woes of a sinner.
(1) he had spent all. He had nothing. So the sinner. He has no righteousness, no comfort.
(2) he was far from God, away from his father, and in a land of strangers. The sinner has wandered, and has no friend. His miseries came upon him "because" he was so far away from God.
(3) his condition was wretched. He was needy, in famine, and without a friend. So the sinner. His condition is aptly denoted by that of the prodigal, who would gladly have partaken of the food of the swine. The sinner has taken the world for his portion, and it neither supplies the wants of his soul, nor gives him comfort when he is far away from his Father's home and from God.
6. The sinner in this situation often applies to the wrong source for comfort, Luke 15:15. The prodigal should at once have returned to his father, but he rather chose to become a servant of a citizen of that region. The sinner, when sensible of his sins, should return at once to God; but he often continues still to wander. He tries new objects. He seeks new pleasures and new friends, and finds them equally unsatisfactory. He engages in new pursuits, but all in vain. He is still comfortless, and in a strange, a famished land,
7. The repentance required in the gospel is a return to a right mind, Luke 15:17. Before his conversion the sinner was alienated from God. He was spiritually deranged. He saw not things as they are. Now he looks on the world as vain and unsatisfactory, and comes to himself. He thinks "aright" of God, of heaven, of eternity, and resolves to seek his happiness there. No man regards things as they are but he who sees the world to be vain, and eternity to be near and awful; and none acts with a "sane mind" but he who acts on the belief that he must soon die; that there is a God and a Saviour - a heaven and a hell.
8. When the sinner returns he becomes sensible of the following things:
(1) That he is in danger of perishing, and must soon die but for relief - "I perish with hunger."
on Luke 15 :31