Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Simon, Jesus and a Woman

Simon, Jesus and a Woman
Luke 7.36 – 50

Millions of Americans owe millions of dollars. Some of us owe this money because of student loans, medical bills, mortgages, back taxes, credit card debt, car loans etc. Some of us owe more than others but most of us owe someone some money. The only way to pay this debt is to budget wisely and make your payments on time. If you are not indebted because of money you may be indebted because of actions someone has taken on your behalf. Someone gives you a ride to work when your car is dead. Someone lends you his lawn mower when yours stops working. Your neighbor lends you some tools so you can finish repairing your toilet. If you can pay this debt back by returning the favor, you don’t owe anyone money or a favor in return. Then there is our sin debt. All of us have sin in our lives and there is no way we can pay that debt. Nothing you or I can do will take away our sins.
If you were called to stand before whom ever you were indebted to and it was discovered there was no way you could pay, it is highly unlikely that the creditor would simply say you are forgiven of your debt. Our appreciation for such an act of grace and mercy would be huge. It would be kind of like the appreciation of a woman Jesus met at a Pharisee named Simon’s house.
Simon invited Jesus to eat at his house. While Jesus was eating, a woman who had heard He was in town went to Him. She stood behind Jesus, crying as he ate. Her tears wet His feet and she then dried them with her hair. After that she poured perfume on His feet too.
Simon, reclining nearby, watched this and said to himself, “If this man were a prophet he would know what kind of woman she is.” Everyone in that town knew she was a sinful woman.
Jesus knowing what Simon said to himself answers him. (Now if you read carefully Simon hasn’t asked a question or spoken to anyone but himself but Jesus knows what is in Simon’s heart.) Jesus is not going to let her act of worship be put down and defends her actions. So he answers Simon’s judgment with a story about two men.
Both of these men owe the same moneylender money. The first man owes 500 days wages while the second only owes 50 days wages. Neither of them can pay so the moneylender forgives them of their debts. Jesus then asks Simon “Which of them will love the moneylender more?” Simon answers that the one who was forgiven more will. Jesus tells him he answered correctly.
Then he applies the story to what is going on. Basically, He tells Simon that this woman has a lot of sin and because she has been forgiven of these many sins she is showing her appreciation to the forgiver. He also points out that Simon didn’t even show the kind of appreciation or hospitality a guest should expect. She loved much because she has been forgiven of much but Simon only loved a little because he had been forgiven a little.
Simon and the woman owed a debt of sin. Her life was sinful so she had more sin to be forgiven. Simon on the other hand lived a good life and didn’t have as much sin to forgive.
I am a Simon. I grew up in the church. I live a good life. I don’t sin much. One of my temptations is take my forgiveness for granted because I am a pretty good person. Just like the woman humiliated herself to show her appreciation and worship to the LORD because of the forgiveness she received from him, I am also to give all my life, my worship and appreciation to the LORD because he forgave me of a debt that could never pay.
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