Luke 15:25 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentBy the murmuring of the elder son at the prodigal's returning to, and reception with, his father, some think the Jews in general are to be understood, whose peevishness to the Gentiles, and the repining at the offer of salvation made unto them by the gospel, is very evident from many places of scripture: others understand it of the scribes and Pharisees in particular, who presuming on their own righteousness, as if they had never transgressed God's commandments at any time, murmured at our Saviour for conversing with sinners, though it were in order to the bringing of them to repentance; which instead of being frowardly discontented at, they ought to have rejoiced at.
Learn hence, there is such an envious spirit in men, yea, even in the best of men, as inclined them to repine at such dispensations of divine grace and favor, as others receive, and they want.
Learn, 2. That to indulge such a spirit and temper in ourselves, argues great sin, and great folly: great sin in being dissatisfied with God's dispensations, and affronting his wisdom and justice; and great folly, in making another's good our grief; as if we had less, because another has more: The eldest son was angry, and would not go in: it follows, therefore came his father out and intreated him. This shows the meekness of God in dealing with us under, our frowardness; and the high satisfaction he takes in a sinner's conversion and returning to his duty.
Lastly, this points out unto us our duty to imitate God, and be followers of him as dear children. Does he rejoice at a sinner's return to this duty? So should we. It is the devil's temper to regret and envy the good and happiness of others: he gnashes his teeth, when the prey he thought himself sure of, is snatched out of his jaws. But to God, and all his holy angels, nothing is so agreeable as their repentance and conversion of a sinner from the error of his ways, and the saving of a soul from death; this is looked upon as a resurrection from the dead, and a ground of the greatest joy and rejoicing: It was meet that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.
Whence note, that regeneration is the term from which all true pleasure commences. We never live a merry day until we begin to live unto God; when the prodigal son returned to his father, then, and not until then, they began to be merry.
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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
William Burkitt (1650 - 1703) was a Church of England clergyman, bible expositor, and devotional writer.
Volume 1: Matthew - John, was published in 1700.
Volume 2: Acts - Revelation was published 1703.