Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Much Forgiveness, Much Love

Luke 7:36-51

36 Then one of the Pharisees invited Him to eat with him. He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of fragrant oil 38 and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with her tears. She wiped His feet with the hair of her head, kissing them and anointing them with the fragrant oil.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching Him—she’s a sinner!”
40 Jesus replied to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
“Teacher,” he said, “say it.”
41 “A creditor had two debtors. One owed 500 denarii, and the other 50. 42 Since they could not pay it back, he graciously forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one he forgave more.”
“You have judged correctly,” He told him. 44 Turning to the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she, with her tears, has washed My feet and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing My feet since I came in. 46 You didn’t anoint My head with olive oil, but she has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 Those who were at the table with Him began to say among themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?”
50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

What I love about this passage is that at my best I am this woman.  If you’ve ever spent much time with me in person (like, more than 5 minutes) then you probably know that I’m a crier.  Tears sometimes start flowing at the most awkward times.  You see, for me, crying doesn’t always mean I’m sad.  It means my passion has been evoked.  It means I am speaking (or thinking) about something close to my heart.  At my best I am weeping at Jesus’ feet because I know how much I have been forgiven, and because I love him so much.  The woman is showing her humility by washing his feet—an act reserved for the lowliest of servants.  She is becoming intimate with her Savior by letting down her hair in front of him—something women of the time only did in front of their husbands.  She is worshiping him by pouring out her perfume to anoint him—it may have been the most expensive and precious thing she owned.

What disturbs me about this passage is that at my worst I am this Pharisee.  I question God’s goodness and remind him that this person or that person is a great sinner.  At times, I am too dignified to wipe Jesus’ feet.  I am too greedy to give him my prized anointing oil.  I am too embarrassed to vulnerably praise him. Sometimes when I read this I think, “Well pttsh, I am the one who has been forgiven little which is really too bad because it means I don’t have as much of an opportunity to love God.”  I don’t have one of those crazy stories about being an alcoholic-turned-saint.  My past sins look pretty squeaky clean.  As a kid, I did what my parents asked.  I got good grades.  I said nope to dope.  But what if that’s not really what Jesus is saying here?  The bible says that ALL have fallen short of the glory of God.  I think if we’re honest, we all owe really big debts.  I think the difference between the one who loves little and the one who loves much is not that one HAS a bigger debt, but that one REALIZES the weight of that debt.  The first simply perceives their debt as small, while the second knows how much they have been forgiven of.  I pray that Jesus would continue restoring my heart and that every day I would be more like the woman and less like the Pharisee.  I pray that we would all recognize the weight of our forgiven debt.  I pray that my love, and your love, for God would grow.  

1 comment:

Courtney said...

You are so wise and mature for your age Chelsea. God has amazing plans for your life and ability to share his truth.

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