Pastor Mike's thoughts

Thoughts on today's Christian world and how it fits into secular society.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Jesus 101

There’s a story Jesus told about two who loved much, and
one who loved little. It’s a story that I’m particularly interested
in because I want to learn how to truly love God and love others
more. But how? Where do I start in my desire to be more loving? I
believe Jesus tells us in this story.

He told it while at a dinner party at the home of a religious
leader. A woman who had lived a sinful life came into the house to
find Jesus. She fell at His feet, weeping and wetting His feet with
her tears, then pouring some perfume on His feet and wiping them with
her hair.

The man who had invited Jesus to dinner was outraged, not so much at
the woman, but at Jesus, who would allow such a sinful woman to touch
Him. So Jesus said to the man:

“Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me teacher,” he said.

“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five
hundred denarii, [a danarius was a coin worth about a day’s wages]
and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back,
so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this
woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my
feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her
hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I
entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my
head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you,
her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has
been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:40-47).

Here’s what I get from this story: how much love we have for God and
for others is directly related to how much we have been forgiven. If
we have been forgiven much, we will love much, but if we have been
forgiven little, we will love little.

So how can I begin to grow in my love for God and for others? Sin
more, so I can love more? I don’t think so! I think the place to
begin is to realize how very much we have already been forgiven.

How much is that? Enough for God to send Jesus to earth to die in
our place for the sins we’ve committed.

This is where the book of Matthew starts. After giving us a detailed
genealogy of where Jesus came from, Matthew tells us what Jesus came
for. The angel who spoke to Joseph said it best:

“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your
wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She
will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20b-21).

Jesus came to save us from our sins. God loved us so much that He
didn’t want us to die because of all that we had done wrong. If our
sins were serious enough for Jesus to have to die for them, they must
be terribly grievous to God. And if that’s true, then each of us
have already been forgiven much.

We don’t have to sin more, to be forgiven of more, in order to love
more. We just need to realize how much we’ve already sinned, how
much we’ve already been forgiven, and how much we’ve already been
loved by God. Once we realize that, I believe that love will
naturally flow out from within us, like tears mixed with perfume and
poured out at Jesus’ feet.


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