Thursday, June 12, 2014

Forgiven much and loving much (Luke 7:47)

For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." (Luke 7:47 NASB)

Jesus was having dinner with Simon, a Pharisee who was well versed in Scripture but perhaps not so well versed in hospitality. It may have been, however, more a matter of not caring than of not knowing. Jesus had arrived for the dinner as requested. Simon had not greeted him with a kiss, offered him water to wash his feet, or used oil to annointed his head, all of which were expected behavior for a host toward his honored guest. They were in the midst of the meal when a. "woman with a past" barged in, went straight to Jesus, and knelt at His feet. Weeping, she washed his feet with her tears, kissed them, and poured perfume over them. 

Jesus had not missed anything happening in the room. While the woman was worshipping at His feet, Simon was fuming across the table and thinking about all the mistakes in her past. Jesus confronted Simon with a little story about two debtors who were forgiven. Simon, a little grudgingly, agreed that the one forgiven more would love more. 

Jesus then asked a surprising question. "Simon, do you see this woman?" He then began to describe to Simon how He saw her and her actions, and contrasted that with how He saw Simon's actions. Simon looked terrible in comparison to the woman! 

Coming to today's passage, we see that Jesus rebuked Simon in no uncertain terms. "Her sins, Simon, were many but they are forgiven because she loved so much, BUT the one who is forgiven little, loves little." There was no doubt that the "one who is forgiven little" meant Simon. In his own eyes, he felt that his sin was considerably less than the woman's. As a result, he felt less in need of forgiveness. 

Simon had the terrible problem of not recognizing his own sin. Since he did not "see" his sin, he felt less in need of the forgiveness of God, as well as less love toward God. How tragic! Simon had spent a lifetime as a religious expert (Pharisee). He knew so much about religion, and so little about God! 

In a way, we all have the same problem Simon had. It is much easier to accumulate a storehouse of religious facts and opinions rather than cultivate an active relationship with Almighty God. It is our human tendency to know about God rather than to actually know Him. The danger comes when we substitute that knowledge for relationship and are satisfied with the substitution.  

Are you, like Simon, satisfied with knowing about God or have you, like the woman, found your longing satisfied at the feet of Jesus?  

Pray today that we and our loved ones would hunger for an authentic, vibrant relationship with Christ, see our failings and need for flegiveness, and find fulfillment at the feet of Jesus. 
Link for last night's post is here: