“. . .And they began to be merry.”
Joy in the Holy Ghost begins at Redemption and should be a part of our daily lives.
“And they began to be merry.”
Six small words. But, what great implications they have in the Pilgrimage of Faith.
How difficult do you think it was for the prodigal son to engage in this merriment after his return home? Try putting yourself in his place and allow your spiritual speculation to engage for a few minutes:
You’ve played the fool. The young, defiant, discourteous, rebellious fool. You demanded your portion of the inheritance (v.12), even though the father by law didn’t have to give it until after his death.
But, in love he gave it.
And, with tearful eyes he watched you head off to “a far country” (v.13) with a twinkle in your eye, a smile on your face and a spring in your step. But, not even the tears streaming down his face deterred you from your “appointment with destiny.”
Such is always the case when hearts are set on sinning.
But, soon things began to fall apart (vv.13-14). The once-bulging wallet was empty and there were no more hearty pats on the back or singing of “For he’s a jolly-good fellow.”
You’re simply alone. Penniless. Hungry. Lonely. Homesick. Soon you’ve gone to work for a despised Gentile and some stinkin’, smelling-like-slop, unclean pigs. And, you’re even envious of their food—so great are those gnawing hunger pains in your belly.
But, “you come to yourself” (v.17). And, you “arise and go to the father” (v.18a) with a contrite heart and rehearsed confession (vv.18b-19). To your amazement, “the father sees you a great way off, has compassion on you, runs to meet you, hugs and kisses you” (v.20). . .even though you still look and smell like a stinkin’ pig.
Such is always the way of God’s Goodness and Reconciling Grace.
He’s more ready to receive than we are to repent. But, when we do, He runs to meet us and welcomes us Home. He throws a Party and kills the fatted calf. He treats us like we never left, even though we tore His Heart out by its roots.
Again, such is the nature of Grace. Amazing Grace.
The question is “Have you begun to be merry?” Are you enjoying the delicious fatted calf He prepared just for this occasion? Are you rejoicing with the Father and the angels (vv.7, 10) or still musing over how far you’d strayed and how much you’d wasted?
True rejoicing comes when we “joy (Grk. ‘kauchaomai’—‘to boast of, vaunt forward, rejoice, glory in, etc.’) in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have NOW received the atonement” (Rom. 5:11). Are you saved, Pilgrim? Have your sins been forgiven? If so, come join the Party and “begin to be merry.” The Best is still yet to be.