Luke 7:39-43 – When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is — that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two men 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 canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. NIV
The occasion for this conversation between Jesus and a Pharisee named Simon was an incident that happened while Jesus was eating dinner at Simon’s house recorded in Luke 7:36-50. Jesus and his disciples went to Simon’s house and reclined at his table … meaning that they were eating in the customary position of lying (probably on pillows) on their sides with their feet behind them. A woman who had lived a sinful life in that town came up to Jesus’ feet and washed them with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed them with expensive perfume. It was a great display of gratitude, however considered very risqué by Simon when he considered who it was that Jesus let touch Him. Simon thought that Jesus must not be a prophet or a man of God or He would know the sinfulness and reputation of this woman.
Jesus proceeds to tell Simon a story and asks Simon to draw a conclusion from the story to better clarify God’ position on the situation. As one reads the rest of the story, Jesus chides Simon for his poor hospitality, and then proceeds to forgive the woman of her sins. Jesus sends her on her way with these words: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50 NIV) Undoubtedly, Simon is even more upset about the actions of this country Rabbi named Jesus. Hopefully, he eventually begins to think about what Jesus was saying to him.
Many of us think that we live pretty good lives compared to some other people we know. When we consider these people, we may tend to feel pretty smug about how godly we are and how God is pretty lucky to have us on His side! Why those people really need to get their act together, change their ways, and seek God’s forgiveness. While all of that may be true, we have ignored looking at our own lives, our own faults, and our own sins. Even though we have sinned against a holy God, we have mistakenly figured that God grades on a curve, and / or that everyone gets into heaven at the end. We have not taken the time to read God’s written word in the Bible, considered our own sinfulness, and sought and received God’s forgiveness; therefore we are not grateful for what we have not received.
Everyone has sinned (missed the mark of perfection) and is in need of God’s forgiveness. It may be true that some people have a longer list of sins than others have, however, we all have a list. It is true that Jesus came and died as the perfect sacrifice for our sins; but we have to ask forgiveness, accept Him as our Lord (the One we follow) and His sacrifice personally (individually). It is a choice that we each need to make.
Some questions to consider: Have I considered the sins in my life? Or have I spent more time focusing on the sins of other people? Have I asked God for forgiveness? Do I believe that Jesus died to pay the price for the sins those who follow Him, and rose from the dead to share eternal life with those followers? Have I decided to follow Him? How do I express my gratitude to Him?