Luke 7 is chock full of examples of gifts given by Christ.
- He healed the Roman officer’s servant with a word from afar (verses 1-10).
- “He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death” (Psalm 107:20 NLT).
- He raised a widow’s only son from death (verses 11-15).
- “Jesus told her [Mary], ‘I am the resurrection and the life'” (John 11:25).
- He cured many people of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits (verse 21).
- “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed” (Isaiah 61:1).
- He restored sight to many who where blind (verse 21).
- “And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!” (Isaiah 35:5-6).
He held all power and authority but He never used it for selfish purposes, or even for mean-spirited retribution. All that He did while He walked this earth was done from a place of love.
The most powerful gift of love I see in this chapter is that of a clean slate (verses 36-50).
Many of us can identify with this “immoral woman.” There are a multitude of things in our past (even our yesterday!) that fall short of godliness or even goodness. But through our faith in Christ’s sacrifice we can be forgiven of all, and start fresh with our own clean slate. Our response to this powerful gift will correlate to our awareness of just how many things were scribbled on the slate before it got wiped clean!
If we think that we are really not all that bad, and are relatively “good people,” our gratefulness will match. We’ll politely smile and carry on, not giving this gift much more thought as we go about our day. It’s like the excitement we feel over getting a pair of socks for Christmas–there’s no jumping up and down over that present! That’s the lack of appreciation exemplified by Simon.
But if we truly examine ourselves, we’ll see what a dirty, rotten stink lurks deep in our hearts. That stink causes all kinds of selfish, self-seeking attitudes–pride, anger, malice, deceit, greed, and hypocrisy just to name a few.
These attitudes don’t have to be acted out in order to get added to our slate. “People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). While we can try to hide the disease inside from others, we can’t hide anything from God.
But we don’t have to stay in the filth, hanging our heads in shame!
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9).
“Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:23).
Understanding what an awful mess we’re in and the undeserved, expansive grace that washes our slate clean leads us into a state of immense gratefulness. In turn, we love much! That’s a powerful gift that just might cause us to dance a jig of joy, even if we do get socks Christmas morning . . .