Pretty much every Wednesday night I get the privilege to share with our BASICS (middle school) group. And this Wednesday in particular I shared out of Luke 7 and I wanted to take this time to share it with you as well.
The lesson this week was called “The Other Story” and it was all about getting to know someone’s story. I think it’s safe say that all of us, at one time or another, have looked at someone and thought that we have him or her pegged exactly. From one glance we think we know that person inside and out. But if we dig deeper we can discover a whole different side to the story.
In Luke 7 a Pharisee invites Jesus over to eat. While reclining at the table v.37 says “a woman of the city, who was a sinner…brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.” Needless to say this would be awkward. Immediately what the Pharisee focuses on how terrible this woman is, and that if Jesus was indeed who he claims to be then he would know what kind of person was touching his feet. But Jesus answers him with this parable, “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which one of them will love him more? Simon answered, ‘The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.’ And he said to him, ‘You have judged rightly.”
With out going on forever what we can see in this tidbit of a story is a lack of understanding. The Pharisee was seeing only on surface level, but Jesus could see much deeper. He could see the hurt, and the guilt, and the humility of the woman. He looks deeper than all of her actions and he sees her faith, to which he says to her in v.50, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
So there are a few things that we should take out of this story:
1. We shouldn’t be quick to try and label and pass judgment on others without getting to know their story. We should be excited to learn from others. Are you getting to know others? Are you in a community group where you can learn from someone else? Or are you trying to live solo-Christianity thinking you know enough about others, their input isn’t helpful and I’ve got it covered? You’d be surprised what we can learn from others.
2. The gospel doesn’t cover some sins and not others. Both debts in the story were forgiven, not only the big one and not only the little one. Both. Do you struggle with thinking your not good enough for God? Here’s the good news, none of us are good enough, but it’s our faith in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection that we can be and are made righteous. The woman wasn’t “good enough” but she put her faith in Christ, and Jesus says to here “Your faith has saved you…” Are you resting in the gospel?
3. Salvation is by grace, through faith. The woman’s sins were not forgiven because she washed Jesus’ feet. The woman was saved because she put her faith in Jesus. Salvation is never based on our good works, but rather where we put our faith and trust. Are you rejoicing in what Christ has done for you? Or Are you trying to save yourself?
Keep the gospel central in your life. View others through the gospel, rest in the gospel and rejoice in the gospel.