God, With Great Demonstration Of Love, Forgives The Truly Repentant
A wealthy Italian lady of the 1920's was reading a French romance novel, into which the author wove the parable of the Prodigal Son. Quite apart from the novel, the parable struck the mind and heart of the reader such that she saw herself as the Prodigal. At the same time, God led an evangelist to her door who was able to show her the parable in Luke’s gospel, and to explain to her the implications of God’s love.
...Lisa was a true lady. She was born in comfortable circumstances, and received a high education; but wealth and learning do not in themselves make a woman a lady...
But Lisa was also a Christian lady, and the story of her conversion to Christ is deeply interesting and instructive. Her father had died a few years before, and now she was mourning the death of her mother. The world had lost all its attraction for her, and she was content to pass her days in the retirement of her villa in a picturesque town of southern Italy.
Late one evening she was still poring over the pages of a French novel. It was moral, but certainly not spiritual. The author, although an unbeliever, in order to depict his subject as graphically as possible introduced in toto the parable of the prodigal son. As Lisa read it she stopped. “This is divine,” thought she, and re-read that story of God’s love as told by His Son, our Lord and Saviour...Whom did he represent? A voice seemed to whisper, “me.” Of whom did that father speak? The same voice seemed again to say, “God.”
One day [an] evangelist arrived in Lisa’s town. He knew no one there, and found no building in which he might preach the Gospel. He therefore decided to visit the homes of the people, offer them the Bible and tell them its joyful message. Shortly he came to Lisa’s palazzo and used the heavy knocker. Immediately the massive door was opened and the evangelist was politely asked to enter. The stranger appeared respectable and serious, and Lisa having offered him a chair he introduced himself and his message:
“Signora, I am a servant of Jesus Christ. My mission is to tell the people what He has done to save them. I have with me several copies of the Holy Scriptures which contain the divinely inspired record of God’s plan of salvation. May I ask you, Signora, whether you have a copy?”
Lisa: “No, Signore, I have not.”
Lisa: “Excuse me, sir, I have been reading a book—not a religious book—and in it I have found a quotation made by the author, and it must be Divinely inspired.”
Evangelist: “Be careful, Signora, what you read, and do not receive as Divinely inspired truth what is not God’s Word. May I ask what book you refer to?”
Lisa: “Well, it is a French novel.”
Evangelist: “Let me say again, Signora: beware of these pernicious books.”
Lisa: “But it is not the book itself that I want your opinion about: in fact I feel no interest in it. There is in it, however, a quotation which I should like to read to you, for I perceive you are a serious and religious man, and perhaps you can tell me more about it. I understand it is a parable, and has doubtless a great moral lesson behind it. Now let me read it: ‘A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
As soon as she had read the first few words of the Divine parable, the interest of the evangelist became intensified and deepened, and grew into surprise, wonder and amazement as she proceeded.
Lisa: “Now, Signore, that is surely Divinely inspired.”
Evangelist: “Certainly, it is.”
Evangelist: “...That Divinely inspired parable of the prodigal son was spoken by Jesus Christ, in order to reveal God’s love to us. We are by sin like that prodigal, but if we repent and believe the Gospel, and come by Christ, Who is the only way, to the Father, He will welcome and forgive us, and we shall live with Him as His children.”
Lisa: “What a true explanation and application of the parable you have given me! But where did you find the parable?”
Evangelist: “In this Book which I offered you, Signora. This is the Bible, God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures, and here, in the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel according to Luke, is that very parable of the prodigal son.”
Lisa: “As soon as I read the parable I felt as if another voice, not human, was speaking to me. Well, sir, please tell me more about Him Who spoke these Divine words.”
The evangelist having faithfully and fully expounded to the lady the whole parable, read to her these two other verses of Scripture: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”
The light of the glorious Gospel dawned upon Lisa’s soul. Hitherto she had been endeavouring to attain to salvation by her love to God, but she found how vain and hopeless this effort was, imperfect, impossible. Now she had heard and believed the good news of God's love to her...