Friday, October 22, 2021
- Luke 7:40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.””Tell me, teacher,” he said.
“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. But treat a man as he can and should be, and he will become as he can and should be.”
There was a man named Simon. He was a man of God. He did everything according to the book. He was inquisitive, and always wanting to know how he could serve God better. One day, when a teacher of God’s word came to his small town, a teacher that was quite famous, he quickly invited this famous teacher to come to his home for a private dinner engagement. While they were around the dinner table, a known prostitute came into the room, falling at the teachers feet weeping. Simon, as the host was taken back, both because of who she was and what she did. She broke open a jar of expensive perfume and doused the teachers feet with it. Then she began using her hair to wipe up the overflow. It was quite a scene as the room was quickly filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Simon’s reaction quickly betrayed what he was thinking, for Simon had said to himself, “If this man were such a great teacher, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” The teacher, seizing upon the moment then said to Simon… “Simon, I have something to tell you!” He then shared a parable and quizzed Simon with an interpretation. Simon, being a righteous man got the right answer, but his thoughts and actions revealed his heart. This story is found in Luke 7:36-50.
The old saying, attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. But treat a man as he can and should be, and he will become as he can and should be.”
Sadly, if I were in Simon’s shoes on that day, I may have reacted very much as Simon did in having a prostitute crash my dinner party. Our world does that to us. Our culture treats people based on their failures and indiscretions and today, even cancels them for having different worldview.
Jesus didn’t react to her past, but saw this woman’s heart. He saw her as a child of God. Our culture writes people off, but Jesus re-writes people’s futures. He saw her story as a redemption story that he then prophesied would be remembered for all time…just like we are doing today almost 2000 years later. (See Matthew 26:13)
Our culture see’s the failures of people and quickly defines them as losers or sinners, unable to see the possibilities of repentance and restoration. Jesus saw this woman’s sacrifice with her humble repentant heart and he saw the new creation she was becoming, even at the moment of her repentance.
It is fairly clear that without God’s revelation of abundant grace, we never see the trophies of grace that the hurting and broken people around us might yet become.
If I am going to learn anything from this dinner party so many years ago, it is that I must act in a way opposite of our culture’s tendency to judge people without the heart and mind of Christ. I must remind myself that I am on thin ice before God if I put people into pre-defined boxes. His goodness and mercy has followed me all the days of my life, therefore I must also believe that his goodness and mercy is following others, even if they have not yet responded to him. Like Simon of old, I don’t want Jesus to have to look at me one day and say…”David, I have something to tell you!”
Don’t let the bad new surrounding us snuff out the good news entrusted to us!