Luke 7 tells us about an evening Jesus spends having dinner with the Pharisees. In this particular instance, a woman who is broken and an outcast in society hears He is in town and rushes to pay Him a visit. She comes in uninvited and slowly approaches Jesus as He sits at the table with the religious elite. Her humility and brokenness is so great that she feels unworthy to even seek His attention; she approaches from behind and washes His feet with her tears, wipes them with her hair, and anoints them with a jar of incredibly expensive perfume.
A Pharisee named Simon is disgusted by this sight and thinks critically of Jesus for allowing such a sinful woman to come near Him. Jesus gently reprimands Simon by telling a parable:
“ ‘41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
He goes on to say that the woman offered so much of herself because of her great love for Him, yet they had yet to offer any kind affection or serve him in any meaningful way.
“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Now here’s the catch: Did you know that Jesus loved Simon and the rest of the Pharisees too? He was spending time with them! Jesus does not base his love for us on a label or on how we act; He loves because He is love. However, this does not mean that we always choose to receive His love and forgiveness.
As our church moves forward with our IMPACT initiative, take some time to reflect on our Savior’s love. How long and wide and deep it is! Approach Him in humility and thankfulness for all He has done in your life, and most of all, for who He is. Even if at this point you can relate more to Simon than to the woman, know that God still loves you and wants you to be loved and love others generously. It is only as you choose to receive His love and forgiveness that you will find yourself able to give sacrificially in any kind of way.
Prayer: God, thank you for your unconditional love. Please allow me to recognize it more fully so that I can come closer to loving you and others in the way that you love me. Help me to give of myself to others more freely and meaningfully.