Lessons from Luke

If you have ever been around a “fired up” Christ-follower, there is a high chance that that they had lived a very sinful life

Much Forgiven, Much Praise!

Key Verse: Luke 7:50

And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Additional Reading: Luke 7:36-50

Does it amaze you that the “spiritual leaders” of the Jewish faith (the Pharisees), couldn’t see the new thing that God was doing through Jesus? A new covenant was being delivered to them in plain view, yet they couldn’t or wouldn’t accept it.

Our Additional Reading section for today’s devotion tells of a perfect example of Jesus revealing the New Covenant to His people. But, once again, they missed it.

Jesus was invited to spend some time with the Pharisees. The Bible doesn’t tell us their motives, but we might presume they were looking for ways to trick Jesus.

During the meal, a woman showed up to the dinner, fell at Jesus’s feet and started weeping. She had brought some expensive rare perfume. Since she was a known prostitute, the Pharisees were offended by her. In their minds, they questioned Jesus’s authority as a Prophet. They thought to themselves, if Jesus were a prophet, he would know what an immoral person she was! They also assumed that if Jesus knew she was an immoral person that He would have nothing to do with her.

Of course, Jesus did know who she was and what their thoughts were!

Jesus decided to tell them a short parable about a man who had loaned two men money. One received an amount that added up to 500 days wages! The other man received only an amount that added up to 50 day’s wages. It turns out that neither could repay their debt. So, according to Jesus’s parable, the lender was kind and forgive both debts. Then Jesus turned to the Pharisees and ask them: “Who do you suppose loved him more after that?”. One of the Pharisees, Simon, finally spoke up and said: “I suppose the one whom he canceled the larger debt”.

Would you agree with me that these Pharisees probably didn’t like having to give the answer? For they knew the meaning of the parable and how it related to this woman they were having such negative thoughts about. It makes so much sense, doesn’t it? A person who has been forgiven of a huge mountain of sins is going to be much more grateful than a person who has just a few sins to be forgiven.

If you have ever been around a “fired up” Christ-follower, there is a high chance that that person had lived a very sinful life before they came to Jesus and found forgiveness!

No matter how many sins we have been forgiven of, we should be “fired up” Christ-followers as well.

Jesus is not telling this story to say how things ought to be, but rather how “it is” in us human beings. He wanted the Pharisees to see how God’s grace reaches everyone. He wanted them to understand that they ought to be praising God that this woman could be redeemed to a clean life in Jesus. He wanted them to see that in God’s New Covenant, no one was to be rejected but all could receive salvation by faith in Jesus.

Before we are too hard on the Pharisees, let’s be honest enough to say that most of us tend to criticize and judge harshly people who are living a very sinful life. Though we ought to immediately feel compassion for their lost souls, we too often avoid them. Maybe Jesus’s parable will help us all have more of a heart for lost people and pray more earnestly for them rather than criticize them.

Years ago, Billy Graham’s was being interviewed by a reporter trying to get Billy to be negative about the sin that Bill Clinton had been caught up in. Billy Graham’s response was short and simple: “I forgive him”. Let’s be more forgiving!

Father, grant me a gracious and forgiving spirit to the worst of sinners! In Jesus’s Name, amen.

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