Imagine what it would be like to have all your debts cancelled. In our Gospel reading this week Jesus asks one of the Pharisees to imagine exactly that. Jesus is a Guest at the home of a Pharisee named Simon. His fellow guests are shocked when Jesus allows a woman of dubious reputation to lavish extravagant attention on him as she washes his feet with her tears and her hair and then proceeds to massage them with fragrant ointment.
The muttering behind Jesus’ back is hard to miss. ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.’ Luke 7:39 Jesus is quick to counter their jibes with a question. ‘A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?’ Simon answers him, ‘I suppose the one for whom he cancelled the greater debt.’ ‘You have judged rightly.’ Jesus says to him. With that he turns to the woman and declares to her that her many sins are forgiven.
Once again Jesus has turned the world upside down. In contrast to the religious pride and pomposity of his host Jesus applauds the honesty and humility of he woman. A woman who understands that only Jesus in his infinite love and mercy can set her free from all that is wrong in her life. This the exact opposite of the pride of their host who is so impressed with his own piety that he even dares to look down his nose at Jesus. The contrast between his rudeness and the woman’s gratitude couldn't be greater.
Like the woman, we too have been forgiven much. How will you respond?
Till next time. Andrew
This week's readings; 1 Kings 21:1-10, 15-21a, Psalm 5:1-7, Galatians 2:15-21, Luke 7:36-8:3
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Rev. Andrew Smith
Vicar of Light in the Hills