Sunday, June 8, 2014

Which loves more? (Luke 7:41-42)

"A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?" (Luke 7:41, 42 NASB)

Simon, a respected Pharisee and religious leader in his village, watched the "woman who was a sinner" and her extravagant outpouring of love and generosity. He knew who she was and what she had done, and he silently condemned her. It was his house and she was not invited. He would never invite "her kind" into his home! If Jesus really were a prophet sent by God, he would know what kind of person she was, he thought, and surely he would not allow this scandalous display! Simon's thoughts were full of venom towards the woman and her Lord. 

Jesus knew his spiteful thoughts and answered them with a little story. "Simon," He said, "two people owed a debt. One owed a little, and the other owed a lot.  In fact, the second person owed ten times as much as the first one, but neither could repay their debt. In an unbelievable act of generosity, the moneylender forgave them both.  Which person will be more grateful? Which will love him more?"

Poor Simon. He was a really smart man, and he could see that there was no way he was getting out of this with his prejudice and arrogance intact. That was exactly what Jesus had in mind. 

When Jesus looked at Simon and the woman with her alabaster vial, He saw two sinners. One had piled up sin with her body, but one was continuing to pile up sin with his mind and heart. They were both sinners in need of mercy, just like us. 

To God, Simon's sin was just as scandalous as the woman's. To God, our sin and that of our loved ones is equally scandalous, equally heinous. We all have a debt we cannot repay, and we are all dependent upon the mercy of God. Remember that sin always requires a sacrificial payment to bring forgiveness. Only Jesus could pay that once and for all. It is mercy, not giving us the punishment that we deserve for our debt, that erases the balance and removes our guilt. Mercy. What a beautiful word! 

Today, as we pray for our loved ones, remember that the same mercy, the same terrible and severe mercy, was required to remove our sin as well as the most heinous sinner's. We all desperately need mercy. It is the one who both receives the most mercy and recognizes it who loves the most. 

Pray today that we and our loved ones would recognize our sinfulness and the great mercy we require.  Pray, too, that we would love our Lord in like measure, extravagantly and without limit. 

Link to last might's post:
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