Growing Our Love
November 18, 2014
“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” –Luke 7:36-38
In Luke 7:36-50 we are told a story about a dinner party Jesus attended at the home of Simon the Pharisee. During the party, a woman enters. She is known to be a sexually immoral woman and she is crashing this all-male luncheon. Can you imagine the silence that came over that room when she entered and Simon and all his friends saw her? Can you see Simon and his friends looking around nervously trying to figure out who in this room would even know such a woman?
The woman walks over to Jesus and kneels down. She is weeping and her tears fall on Jesus’ dirty feet (Simon did not even offer the common courtesy of foot washing to Jesus). She unbraids her hair and begins to wipe them clean. Can you feel the awkward tension in the room as this encounter unfolds? And then, to make things even more uncomfortable, the woman breaks a vial of expensive perfume and pours it on Jesus’ feet and begins to massage it into his feet.
As Simon watches this, we are told he is thinking, “If Jesus were truly who he says he is, or even a godly person, he would know what this woman is and stop her.” Jesus knew Simon’s thoughts and tells him this parable:
“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 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?”
“Simon replied, ‘I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.'”
“‘You have judged correctly,’ Jesus said.”
Jesus then goes on and says, “Her sins, which are many, have been forgiven and so she loved much. But a person forgiven only a little loves little.” This woman understood the magnitude of what Jesus did for her and she responded appropriately. Simon did not.
We are in a time of the year when we are encouraged to reflect on the blessings we have received and to give thanks. Sometimes it is easy for us to become like Simon and let our love for God grow cold. This happens when we lose sight of how much we truly have to be thankful for. Yet, can any of us truly say that we have been forgiven only a little and have only a little reason to be grateful to God? Let’s let God use this season of Thanksgiving to grow our love for him. When we begin to grasp who God truly is and what he has done for us there is no amount of praise, thanks and gratitude that is too much for him. Let’s be like this woman and love God extravagantly.
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for loving us deeply and giving us an abundance to be thankful for. Remind us of all the things we have to be thankful for and may we give you the praise that is due. Amen.
(Amy & Dave)
Reverend Dave Stene
First Baptist Church of Gillette