Suggested further reading: Acts 11:19-26
The conversion of any soul ought to be an occasion of joy to all
who see it. Our Lord shows this by the words he puts into the mouth
of the prodigal's father (v. 32).
The lesson of these words was primarily meant for the
scribes and Pharisees. If their hearts had been in a right state they
would never have murmured at our Lord for receiving sinners. They
would have remembered that the worst of publicans and sinners were
their own brethren, and that if they were different it was grace that
made them so. They would have been glad to see such helpless
wanderers returning to the fold. They would have been thankful to see them
as brands plucked from the burning, and not cast away for ever. Of
all these feelings, unhappily, they knew nothing. Wrapped in their
own self-righteousness, they murmured and found fault when in
reality they ought to have thanked God and rejoiced.
This lesson is one that we shall all do well to lay to heart.
Nothing ought to give us such true pleasure as the conversion of souls.
It makes angels rejoice in heaven. It ought to make Christians
rejoice on earth. What if those converted were lately the vilest of the
vile? What if they served sin and Satan for many years and wasted
their substance in riotous living? It matters nothing. Has grace come
into their hearts? Are they truly penitent? Have they come back to
their Father's house? Are they new creatures in Christ Jesus? Are
the dead made alive and the lost found? If these questions can be
answered satisfactorily we ought to rejoice and be glad. Let the worldly,
if they please, mock and sneer at such conversions. Let the
self-righteous, if they will, murmur and find fault and deny the reality of
all great and sudden changes. But let the Christian who reads the
words of Christ in this chapter remember them and act upon them.
Let them thank God and be merry. Let them praise God that one
more soul is saved. The man who can take a deep interest in politics,
field sports, money-making or farming, but none in conversion of
souls, is not a true Christian.
For meditation: Are you a sceptic about conversions? Is it so
long since you led anyone to Christ that you doubt that it can be done?