November 20th, 2006
One of the lessons that gets drummed into school children from the earliest age is the importance of using money wisely and not wasting it. You learn to scrimp and save. Jesus tells us that we should give our money to the poor, so the natural assumption is that we should scrimp and save and guard and protect our money so that we can squeeze out every last dollar to give to the poor. Surprisingly, Jesus doesn’t take that view at all. In the Jesus economy, money has no value. It is just a tool, and something that we should always avoid caring about or becoming attached to. So every now and then we need to treat money with contempt.
Luke’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 7
7:1 He finished speaking to the people and went into Capernaum. 7:2 A centurion’s highly regarded servant was sick almost to the point of death. 7:3 The centurion had heard about Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the servant. 7:4 They reached Jesus and pleaded with him, “He deserves that you do this for him, 7:5 because he loves our nation and built our synagogue for us.” 7:6 Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, because I am not worthy for you to come under my roof. 7:7 I didn’t even think myself worthy to come to you. Please just say the word and my servant will be healed. 7:8 I am a man under the command of superior officers, and I myself have command of my soldiers. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes and tell another, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I tell my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
7:9 Jesus was amazed when he heard this, and turned to say to the crowd who followed, “I have never seen anyone in Israel with a faith so strong.” 7:10 Those who had been sent returned to the house and found that the sick servant had recovered.
7:11 Soon afterwards he went to a city called Nain, accompanied by many of his disciples and a large crowd. 7:12 As he approached the city gate, a dead man was carried out. He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. Many people of the city were with her. 7:13 The Lord was filled with compassion when he saw her and said, “Don’t cry.” 7:14 He approached and touched the coffin, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I tell you, get up!” 7:15 The dead man sat up and began to speak. Jesus gave him back to his mother.
7:16 Everyone was terrified and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and, “God has visited his people!” 7:17 News about him spread throughout Judea, and throughout the surrounding region.
7:18 John’s disciples told him about all these things. 7:19 John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for another?” 7:20 When the men arrived they asked, “John the Baptist has sent us to ask, ‘Are you he who comes, or should we look for another?'”
7:21 At that time he was healing many people suffering from diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and he was restoring the sight of many blind people. 7:22 Jesus answered, “Go and tell John the things which you have seen and heard: that blind people are seeing, lame people are walking, people suffering from leprosy are being cleansed, deaf people are hearing, dead people are coming back to life, and poor people are hearing the good news. 7:23 Blessed is anyone who is not offended by me.”
7:24 When John’s messengers had left, he spoke to the crowd about John, “What did you go into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 7:25 But what did you go out to see? A man in soft clothing? People who are dressed immaculately and live luxuriously are in kings’ palaces. 7:26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet. 7:27 He is the one who was predicted, ‘I send my messenger before you, who will prepare the way for you.’ 7:28 Let me tell you, there has never been a greater prophet born of woman than John the Baptist, but the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than him.”
7:29 All the people and the tax collectors who had been baptised with John’s baptism acknowledged the justice of God when they heard this, 7:30 but the Pharisees and lawyers who had not been baptised by him rejected the counsel of God.
7:31 Jesus continued, “To what can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 7:32 They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to each other, ‘We played music for you, but you didn’t dance. We mourned, and you didn’t weep.’ 7:33 John the Baptist didn’t feast or drink and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 7:34 The Son of Man feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘A glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 7:35 Wisdom is vindicated by its results.”
7:36 One of the Pharisees invited him to a meal. He went into the Pharisee’s house and sat at the table. 7:37 A woman from the town who was a sinner found out that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, and brought an alabaster jar of ointment. 7:38 She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, wetting his feet with her tears, and wiping them with her hair. She kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 7:39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man was a real prophet, he would realise what kind of woman this is who touches him, and know that she is a sinner.” 7:40 Jesus said, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” He said, “Teacher, go ahead.”
7:41 “A moneylender had two borrowers. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 7:42 When they couldn’t pay, he forgave them both. Which of them will love him more?” 7:43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.” Jesus said, “You have judged correctly.” 7:44 Turning to the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house, and you didn’t offer me any water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 7:45 You didn’t give me a greeting kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet since the moment I came in. 7:46 You didn’t anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 7:47 So her sins, which are many, are forgiven, because she has loved much. But someone who is forgiven only a little loves only a little.” 7:48 He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 7:49 People sitting at the table with him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 7:50 He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Entry Filed under: Generosity