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One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to come to his home for a meal, so Jesus accepted the invitation and sat down to eat. A certain immoral woman heard he was there and brought a beautiful jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who was the host saw what was happening and who the woman was, he said to himself,
"This proves that Jesus is no prophet. If God had really sent him, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She's a sinner!"
Then Jesus spoke up and answered his thoughts. "Simon," he said to the Pharisee,
"I have something to say to you."
"All right, Teacher," Simon replied, "go ahead."
Then Jesus told him this story: "A man loaned money to two people--five hundred pieces of silver to one and fifty 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. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn't offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn't give me a kiss of greeting, but she has kissed my feet again and again from the time I first came in. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. I tell you, her sins--and they are many--have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love." Then Jesus said to the woman, "Your sins are forgiven." (Luke 7:36-48)
O.K., pop quiz time: to which character in this story do you most relate?
Perhaps there is a little of all three of these characters in us. We can obviously sympathize with Jesus, who masterfully put a self-righteous Pharisee in his place and restored the dignity of a downtrodden woman in one fell swoop. We can also relate to Simon, because we all have our opinions and draw our social lines somewhere as far as "who God loves, and who God loves not".
Most importantly, we all had better be able to relate on some level to the woman, because her immorality is no different than the depths of sin in which we all wallowed before we came to Christ. If you don't think so, then you've just shown yourself as prideful as Simon, so perhaps you should re-read the passage.
Brother Lawrence wrote: "That when we enter upon the spiritual life, we should consider and examine to the bottom what we are. And then we should find ourselves worthy of all contempt, and not deserving indeed the name of Christians..." (Brother Lawrence, Practice of the Presence of God).
Were you thinking that you deserve the name of "Christian"? Those who follow Christ the most intensely are the ones who know they are the least worthy. When we realize our own extreme sinfulness and His mind-blowing forgiveness, we are faced with these decisions: "Is it worth giving everything I have to follow Him? Is it worth surrendering all I am to His control, for Him to use as He sees fit? Is it worth casting myself aside to serve the King?" If it is not, then perhaps you have forgotten how deep was the pit from which you have been rescued.
Dare 2 Share is a church assisting ministry that provides resources for youth leaders and equips teens to relationally and relentlessly reach their generation for Christ. Over 1,400 of these resources are provided completely FREE! D2S also conducts nationwide youth evangelism training conferences. The events are structured for students in junior high and high school, ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Regardless of gender or denomination, D2S teaches from a Christian perspective. D2S is based in Denver, Colorado and has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 teens since 1991.
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