5 - Money and Mercy

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Luke 7
38. Going in, she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping, with her tears falling down upon his feet; and she wiped them off with her hair and kissed them and poured the perfume on them.
39. When Jesus' host, a Pharisee, saw what was happening and who the woman was, he said to himself, "This proves that Jesus is no prophet, for if God had really sent him, he would know what kind of woman this one is!"
40. Then Jesus spoke up and answered his thoughts. "Simon," he said to the Pharisee, "I have something to say to you." "All right, Teacher," Simon replied, "go ahead."
41. Then Jesus told him this story: "A man loaned money to two people - $5,000 to one and $500 to the other.
42. But neither of them could pay him back, so he kindly forgave them both, letting them keep the money! Which do you suppose loved him most after that?"
43. "I suppose the one who had owed him the most," Simon answered. "Correct," Jesus agreed.    (Living Bible)

The atmosphere in Simon's home that day was laden with conflict.

On the one hand there was the lingering sound of the woman's weeping and the wonderful fragrance of the perfume she poured on Jesus' feet.

But on the other hand there were the strong disapproval and judgemental attitude of Simon himself, Jesus' host.
Jesus evidently didn't condemn the woman for her actions, but neither did He condemn Simon for his attitude.

Instead He sought to open Simon's heart and mind to God's view of the situation. In order to speak the language Simon - himself a wealthy man - would best understand, Jesus told him a story involving money.

The situation in the story may have been one Simon had encountered in his own life. Simon himself, may have had to forgive the debts of those who could not afford to pay back the loans he had given them.

Jesus was calling up in Simon, his memory of the mercy he himself may have shown to fellow human beings. So although the subject of money must have peaked Simon's interest at the start, the real heart of the story was that of mercy.

Jesus was challenging Simon to look at the actions of this woman from God's view point. He was saying to Simon,
"If even you, a Pharisee accustomed to judging offenders, can have mercy on a fellow human being, how much more God."
Simon's righteous indignation was deflated. This was a new concept which he would have to turn over in his heart and mind.

The woman was already sure in her own heart and mind about who Jesus was. Now Simon would have to make this decision also.

Father, give me the wisdom to know when to be indignant for righteousness sake, and how also to show mercy to my fellow human being,
in Jesus' name I pray,    Amen.