Thursday, August 17: Which of the two would be more grateful?


ParablesThe brilliance of Jesus' parables is that while their truths are timeless and deep, most could be still understood by the ordinary people of his day. He used these arresting stories about everyday life to shock his listeners into seeing God, reality, and life in new ways. This summer we're reading through the parables in The Message, a version of the Bible that attempts to strike our ears the same way Jesus' words struck his listeners.

Read Luke 7:41-43

"Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?"

Simon answered, "I suppose the one who was forgiven the most."

"That's right," said Jesus. Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, "Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn't quit kissing my feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. Impressive, isn't it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal."


Simon's gaffe revealed more than his bad manners. Jesus addressed instead the pinched, self-righteous condition of Simon's dusty spirit. In contrast, the woman, thought to be a prostitute, knew her depravity, but was so overwhelmingly grateful for Jesus' forgiveness that love couldn't help but overflow from her tears, her hands, her humble reverence.


We all need reminders of our original sorry state and the rescue we've been given. Make this verse from the hymn "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" your prayer today: O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above. Amen.


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