87. Potential

Luke 7:40-43a

Then Jesus answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.”

“Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied.

Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?”

Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.”

“That’s right,” Jesus said.

Reflect

Jesus was at dinner with a Pharisee (a religious law expert) called Simon. A woman came and sat at Jesus’ feet, cried tears on them, wiped them with her hair and anointed them with perfume. Simon was not best pleased and thought that if Jesus really was a prophet, then he’d know who was touching him. Jesus knew what Simon was thinking, and then replied with a story about two people who had their debts cancelled. Jesus asked Simon which person would love the money-lender the most?

Jesus’ question of Simon wasn’t a trick question, and Simon guessed right, that the one with the bigger debt cancelled would love more. And of course, Jesus was talking about the woman kneeling at his feet. The woman’s response to Jesus – to weep and anoint his feet with perfume – was an emotional sign of love and gratitude for Jesus because she ‘owed’ more. We don’t know what she’d done in her life. Simon described her as a sinner, but whatever it was, she was overwhelmed with emotion at the presence of Jesus.

Simon, the Pharisee, would’ve separated and distanced himself from sinners like this woman. However, Jesus embraced and welcomed sinners. Jesus didn’t judge her for what she’d been, but saw the potential in her for what she could become. Forgiveness transforms lives. And it’s the same for us. Do we judge people by what they’ve done, their online persona, and so on, or do we see people for who they might become in Jesus?

Do

Today, think of someone who needs the transforming forgiveness of Jesus – perhaps someone who has a hard exterior, has been in trouble or lacks self-worth. Pray that God would meet them through the love and forgiveness of Jesus.

Pray

Holy God
May I never underestimate the power
of your transforming love.
Help me not to be elitist,
or think myself better than others.
Melt my own heart and fill me with compassion,
that I might see people as you see them.
This day and forever.
Amen.

Think

How do we embrace sinners without endorsing their lifestyle or being tempted to fall into sin ourselves?