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Wednesday, June 09, 2010



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[June 09, 2010]   --"Jesus said, 'A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them.  Now which of them will love him more?"  Simon answered, 'I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.'  And Jesus said to him,' you have judged rightly.'"-Luke 7: 41-43

Many of us understand forgiveness as one of Jesus' principle ministries.  Over and over again Jesus forgives others as he makes his journey to the cross and the empty tomb.  In this case, he is eating at the home of a Pharisee named Simon.  While he is at dinner a woman comes and anoints his feet with ointment and wept as she dried his feet with her hair.  The pharisee, offended by her presence there, thought she should leave, and this is when Jesus offers this brief parable.  Once again, forgiveness trumps judgment for Jesus.  But while we associate forgiveness with the work of Jesus, as we should, we often underestimate our role in forgiveness.

What set this woman apart was her gratitude and love offered Jesus for her forgiveness.  She really understood what was happening to her through Christ, and her selfless act is an act of penance.  All too often we follow the model of the pharisee rather than the woman, lounging in the comfort of our forgiveness rather than throwing ourselves at the feet of Christ as his servant.  We like the forgiveness but we don't embrace the passion that ought accompany it.  The truth is that none of us are the debtor who owes only fifty denarii.  All of us have a debt we could not repay.  All too often we live selfishly, ignoring the teachings of Christ and forsaking our roles as his disciples.  Despite our failures we will find forgiveness in Christ, but we should never respond to that forgiveness as if we deserve it or have it coming, but instead as the unbelievable gift it actually is.  God did not have to forgive us or send Christ for us, but it happened because of God's love for us.  Shouldn't we repay that love with a little more selfless passion?  Shouldn't we come before God with tears and humility? 

Prayer:  Holy God, thank you for forgiving me in Jesus Christ.  Help me to be your passionate servant this week.  Help me to really understand what you have done for me.  I pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.


[text from file received by Phillip Blackburn,

First Presbyterian Church]

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