Monday 03 June 2013

Bible Book:

“When they could not pay, he cancelled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him (the moneylender) more?” (v. 42)

Luke 7:40-43 Monday 3 June 2013


This little parable comes right in the middle of the account ofthe anointing of Christ while he was at table with the Pharisees bya women with a pot of myrrh (Luke7:36-50). In Luke's Gospel the woman is described as having animmoral life (in other Gospel accountsthe women is identified asMary Magdalene), so the context is one of making value judgementswithout self-examination first. The woman was not appreciated andher actions were seen as unnecessary extravagance by the gatheredcompany. Jesus, overhearing the trivial comments, challenges thePharisee, Simon, with this story of two labourers in debt to amoneylender. Posing the question "who will love him more?", Christmoves the whole scenario out of the present moment on to a muchlarger canvass about the nature of love.

The woman anointed Christ as a gesture, asking for forgiveness.Her overwhelming love for Christ, her knowledge of him from and allthat she had heard about him, had moved her so deeply that she hadto break into a room full of men and fill it with the scent of hercostly perfume. Her action was a huge demonstration of love whichwiped away all her former activities, and gave her a chance torebuild her life with the love that Christ offered back to her.

The story in Luke ends with Christ pointing out to Simon a listof things that he had failed to do when Jesus came to his house andthen challenging Simon about his ability to love (verses44-47).

It may be surprising to read that Christ agrees with Simon thatthe one who will love the moneylender the most is the one who islet off the larger amount. But Jesus concludes his conversation bysaying that the one who forgives little shows little love, thusilluminating for Simon how his small talk demonstrates his ownnarrowness. For Simon had offered Christ none of the cultural normsof hospitality when Christ entered his house, but Mary had pouredout her heart to him.

To Ponder

  • Have you ever stood back and observed yourself in socialsituations, noticing how easy it is to get sucked into smallmindedness, to go with the flow of the conversation and not keepyour own integrity? Can you think of something which could remindyou of the bigger picture, the larger map of human relationshipsthat demands love first? What might that be?
  • What do you know about debt collectors or moneylenders in yourlocal area? What happens to people who have their possessions takenor who are made homeless? What might your church do to supportthese people?
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