Loving Christ More

In Luke 7, Jesus is a guest for dinner at the home of Simon, a Pharisee. While reclining at the table, a sinful woman, stood behind Jesus at his feet weeping, wetting his feet with tears, wiping them with her hair, and anointing them with expensive ointment she brought with her. Simon, knowing the woman’s reputation, thought to himself that if Jesus was truly a prophet he would have known what kind of woman this was at his feet touching him. He does not believe Jesus is truly a prophet, let alone the Son of God.

However, Jesus quickly shows Simon otherwise. Knowing his thoughts, Jesus tells Simon that he has something to say to him and proceeds to tell him this parable:

“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?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” (Luke 7:41-43)

The debtor who owed the five hundred denarii in this parable represents the woman. Simon knew her reputation. So did Jesus. While Simon looked at her with contempt, Jesus looked at her with compassion and embraced her act of love. He forgives her of her many sins. The woman, knowing her many sins, was able to love Jesus most dearly.

Conversely, Simon thought well of himself. He did not see his own great need for God’s saving grace because he thought he was pretty good, especially compared to the sinful woman at Jesus’ feet. Like Simon, I often think to myself that I am doing pretty good…I’m not so bad. I can easily be self-deceived into thinking that I am a pretty good person.

I do not love Jesus as much as I ought. I fall short in my love for Christ. From this parable, I understand the reason that I fall short is I do not fully know all that I have been forgiven, the depths of my own depravity. There is much room for me to grow in my own understanding of how far short I fall of God’s standard…perfect holiness. We are to be holy as God is holy.

Both men in the parable are debtors and both men’s debts are forgiven, cancelled. Likewise, Jesus cancelled the debt I owe for my sin through his death on the cross. In the parable, the man who was forgiven more was the man who loved more. Correspondingly, the Christian who knows more fully the depth of her own sin and how much she has been saved from is both able and compelled to love Christ more.

In my days as an intern with a certain campus ministry, I remember my trainer once stating that the further along in our walk we get as Christians, the more aware we become of the immensity of our own sinfulness. I would go further and say that the more aware we become of our own sinfulness, the more fully and completely we are able love Jesus who has forgiven us of all our sin. As we spend more time reading the Bible, God’s Word, we will be confronted by how much we fall short of God’s glory and His perfect standard.  My prayer is that the Lord would lead you and me into a greater understanding and knowledge of our own sin and depravity, and that we would respond by clinging to Jesus and loving him more.

Reading this Bible passage, I am reminded of a poem by Robert Murray M’Cheyne titled “I Am Debtor.” (It is also a great hymn: “When This Passing World is Done.”) Though we will not know fully how much we owe until we are with Christ in glory, my desire echoes the end of the fifth verse, “Even on earth, Lord, make me know something of how much I owe.” Enjoy the full poem below.

When this passing world is done,
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ in glory,
Looking o’er life’s finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know –
Not till then – how much I owe.

When I hear the wicked call
On the rocks and hills to fall,
When I see them start and shrink
On the fiery deluge brink –
Then, Lord, shall I fully know –
Not till then – how much I owe.

When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see thee as thou art,
Love thee with unsinning heart,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know –
Not till then – how much I owe.

When the praise of heav’n I hear,
Loud as thunder to the ear,
Loud as many water’s noise,
Sweet as harp’s melodious voice,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know –
Not till then – how much I owe.

Even on earth, as through a glass
Darkly, let Thy glory pass.
Make forgiveness feel so sweet,
Make Thy Spirit’s help so meet,
Even on earth, Lord, make me know
Something of how much I owe.

Chosen not for good in me,
Wakened up from wrath to flee,
Hidden in the Saviour’s side,
By the Spirit sanctified,
Teach me, Lord, on earth to show
By my love, how much I owe.

Oft I walk beneath the cloud,
Dark, as midnight’s gloomy shroud;
But, when fear is at the height,
Jesus comes, and all is light;
Blessed Jesus! Bid me show
Doubting saints how much I owe.

When in flowery paths I tread,
Oft by sin I’m captive led;
Oft I fall – but still arise –
The Spirit comes – the tempter flies;
Blessed Spirit! Bid me show
Weary sinners all I owe.

Oft the nights of sorrow reign –
Weeping, sickness, sighing, pain;
But a night Thine anger burns –
Morning comes and joy returns;
God of comforts! Bid me show
To Thy poor, how much I owe.

Thank you, Lord, for cancelling my sin on the cross. Lead me deeper into an understanding and knowledge of all my sin and a more abundant love of you, Jesus.

1 Comment

Filed under Christian Life, Gospel

One response to “Loving Christ More

  1. Pingback: Love’s Motivation | By the Brook Cherith

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