The gospel will mean we’re compelled to love and reach out to the lost, both the good and the bad, no matter where people put themselves on that ladder we reach out to them. We seek the lost as Jesus did. We live our life out in front of them. There are times when we may have fewer non-believing friends as maybe some come to faith, as maybe others move away, as things change. But we’ll always be looking to build friendships, to live out the gospel, to share Jesus.
Luke again shows us Jesus passion for the lost and his expansive grasp and grip on the grace of God and the reach of the gospel. It’s worth noticing where Jesus is, in ch5 he’s eating with tax collectors and sinners, but now he’s eating with the religious, the good people. Why? Because everybody needs salvation and the gospel can reach anyone as Jesus makes clear to Simon.
Jesus has a reputation for welcoming sinners, this woman(37), notorious though she is, knows she can go to Jesus for forgiveness. It would be great wouldn’t it if that could be said of our churches?
We had a lady come to church, until her family were evicted and relocated. She had a bit of a reputation, when her neighbours heard she and her family came, and were accepted, welcomed and loved, their response was, ‘Well if she can come, so can we.’ That ought to be the norm. Church is where no perfect people are allowed, and no pretence at perfection is allowed either.
Jesus doesn’t turn this lady away. He knows the depth of her sin in a way Simon doesn’t, he also knew what it would cost him to forgive her in a way Simon didn’t and yet he knows the gospel is a call for all those who repent to come and find forgiveness.
(41-47)We see Jesus understanding of the gospel as he tells this story to Simon. What do you notice about the two men? They both owed money and neither could repay it – they are the facts. Both are debtors both incapable of paying the debt they owe. These aren’t insignificant sums of money a Denarii was about a days wage – so one man owes two months wages and another about a year and three quarters.
The shock in the story is in how the money lender reacts. You didn’t just write off debts, yet these two men are forgiven their un-payable debts. The story is a shock story, it’s unbelievable! But what’s Jesus point?
We live in a society that loves to compare don’t we. We compare exam results, we compare achievements, what you’ve read, who you know, there’s even a website where you can compare salaries with other people. But we also do it with morality.
It’s a bit like a ladder we put people like Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King near the top, then at the bottom are people like terrorists, murderers…
Where would you put yourself? When we think about that, we go through a process like this; I’m better than so and so, but not as good as them.
That’s exactly how Simon is operating here. He’d be up here and she’d be down there. But do you see what the biggest shock is? Jesus says wherever you are the debt is un-payable – “neither could pay him back.” Simon’s little sin, as he sees it, leaves him just as lost as the woman’s big sin, just as incapable of rebalancing the scales.
Jesus words were shocking then and they still shock now, it tells us we owe a debt we can’t repay, that being right with God isn’t comparative with one another. You and I were never nice. We didn’t just need a bit of tidying up round the edges, a quick make over.