The pharisees were a nasty bunch, condemning and compassionless, yet somehow they viewed themselves as spiritual leaders. The pharisess didn't like Jesus much because His very nature stood in stark contrast to their own wicked ways, and so, they were always scheming of how to make Jesus look bad.
One day, one of these pharisees invited Jesus to his home. As Jesus reclined at the table, a sinful woman appeared to him. I'm not sure how, but this woman somehow recognized Jesus as her Savior. She wept at his feet, wetting them with tears and drying them with her hair as she applied fine oils to his weathered skin.
The pharisee was disgusted by this display, and demanded to know how Jesus, one so holy, could possibly allow a woman of such sin to even come near him.
And Jesus' response?
It rocked. He said...
“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Naturally, the pharisee responded that the man with the greatest debt forgiven would love the lender most. Jesus told him he was correct, then continued...
“Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much"
And here's the best part...
"... But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
That's the boom right there.
Sometimes we skew faith, overlooking the depth of love for Jesus that a new believer, or maybe a believer with a 'past,' may really have. We try to equivocate a squeeky clean life with closeness to God, when really it's our love and faith for God that draws us near to Him.
The greater the debt forgiven, the greater the love for the lender.
And aren't we all in such great debt?
But the pharisee's greatest faux pas, in my opinion, wasn't just how he dismissed the sinful woman, it was how he overlooked his own sinful nature. He failed to recognize and appreciate the forgiveness and mercy being offered to him. He foolishly thought he was too good to need that forgiveness.
Clearly, he needed transformed.
Just as I. And just as you.
And so I challenge myself today, and anyone who may come across this, to cast away our pride and be less like a pharisee, acting more like the woman in these verses, throwing ourselves at the feet of Jesus, knowing that this is exactly where we belong.
In gratitude and great love.