"Which of them will love him more?" Luke 7:36-50

Is your love extravagant?  No one who met Jesus could do so with indifference.  They were either attracted to him or repelled by him.  Why did a rabbi invite him to a nice dinner and then treat him rudely by neglecting to give him the customary signs of respect and honour?  He patronized Jesus because of his popularity with the crowds.  Why did he criticize Jesus’ compassionate treatment of a “bad woman” most likely a prostitute?  The Pharisees shunned the company of “public sinners” and in so doing they neglected to give them the help they needed to find healing and wholeness.  Why did Mary approach Jesus and anoint him at the risk of ridicule and abuse by others?  Mary’s action was motivated by one thing, and one thing only, namely, her love for Jesus and her gratitude for forgiveness.  She did something that a Jewish woman would never do in public.  She loosed her hair and anointed Jesus with her tears.  It was customary for a woman on her wedding day to bind her hair.  For a married woman to loosen her hair in public was a sign of grave immodesty..  Mary was oblivious to all around her, except for Jesus.  She also did something which only love an do.  She took the most precious thing she had and spent it all on Jesus.  Her love was not calculated but extravagant.  In a spirit of humility and heart-felt repentance, she lavishly served the one who showed her the mercy and kindness of God.  Jesus, in his customary fashion, never lost the opportunity to draw a lesson from such an incident.  Why did he put the parable of the two debtors before his “learned host”, a rabbi and teacher of the people?  This parable is similar to the parable of the unforgiving official in which the man who was forgiven much showed himself merciless and unforgiving.  This man was completely heartless because he could not believe in love, accept it or give it.  Who is to be pitied most? Those who cannot receive love or those who cannot give love.  Jesus makes clear that great love springs from a heart forgiven and cleansed.  “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8), “for love is of God” (1 John 4:7).  The woman’s abundant expression of love was proof that she had found favor with God.  Simon, who regarded himself as an upright Pharisee, felt no need for love or mercy.  His self-sufficiency kept him from acknowledging his need for God’s grace.  Are you grateful for God’s mercy and grace?

Posted on June 18, 2016 .