Thursday, December 18, 2008

Luke, Chapter 7 part 2

Why is forgiveness one of the hardest parts of the human construct? Think about those who have wrong you. How easy is it to forgive them? What are the struggles you go through as someone causes you pain, then seeks your forgiveness? It is difficult, isn't it? Forgiveness is a directive that is easy to talk about, but it is much harder to put into practice. I think it is because when we forgive, we have to admit that we were somehow wrong in a way. We were wrong in harboring our anger.

The second half of Luke chapter 7 deals with the concept of forgiveness and how difficult it is. John the Baptist specifically taught a gospel of salvation through the forgiveness of sins. He didn't have the power to forgive sins, but he was a messenger preparing the way for the one who would have that power. He was a powerful influence, and was one who set everything up for Jesus' ministry to be so successful.

29(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus' words, acknowledged that God's way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.) – Luke 7:29-30

This is where we begin to see a divergence between Jesus and the Pharisees. Their fear of change gave way to their jealousy of Jesus. It is funny, but it was the so called outcasts of society: the prostitutes, tax-collectors, and the like, that understood the message, yet the Pharisees did not. This would eventually cost both John and Jesus their lives.

44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." – Luke 7:44-47

Ultimately, love is the greatest message that Jesus gave us. We are told by him to love one another. It was His love for mankind that led to His sacrifice on the cross. Jesus is the purest example of love, and this passage is a great indication of that. Love is what allows him to forgive sins, but as we see, the Pharisees did not see that. Their view of love was tainted, like so many other views of love these days. I admit that is one of the hardest things in life. Love in its purest form, as illustrated by Jesus' life, is awesome. Unfortunately, humanity has tainted it so much that it has become the root of much bitterness for me. We must value and cherish something so beautiful, but instead, mankind has made a mockery of it.

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