Sometimes I forget who Jesus is…His shoes are hard to walk in. His perspective on life was so different, with such a different focus. This chapter is a faith-sandwich: incredible faith surrounding Jesus’ ministry of signs and wonders. It opens with a Centurion, a devout Gentile, asking Jesus to heal a servant. Sure…Jesus starts walking. But then the guy stops Jesus in His tracks. He sent more people to say, no, don’t come all the way. Just say the word.
What kind of crazy Roman is this? But then again, it is kind of funny that we put the same limitations on Jesus as we do on ourselves, when He obviously works a little differently. And Jesus was shocked. A little flabbergasted, I think. Where did this guy get this kind of faith? And He said the word and the servant was healed.
Next, Jesus, His disciples, and His entourage of curious onlookers came across a funeral. And Jesus did not look at death the same way. He saw a problem, had compassion, and told the mom not to cry before walking over and ordering the boy out of the funeral pyre like he had overslept that morning. What kind of guy is this Jesus anyway?
Well, John the Baptist wondered that, too. Yes, Jesus’ cousin…so Jesus performed a flurry of miracles and told the messengers to take that back as response. Signs and wonders to prove His point.
But then there’s the story of Jesus at a Pharisees house. Now that’s awkward. This is one of those stuffy teachers of the law who is already starting to plot a way to get rid of Jesus (see 6:11). Maybe he wanted the media attention of having Jesus over for a meal. Maybe he wanted to see if he could trip the Teacher up a bit. In any case, he committed some serious social snubs. He offered no water to get the layers of dirt off Jesus’ feet, no kiss of welcome, and no refreshing oil to cool His head. Yet this woman presumed to come to this house of this important leader. She, such a whisper of gossip ran through the crowd, of whom they all heard those stories to keep the little ears covered. And yet she is not only coming up to the table, but touching Jesus, weeping loudly, embarrassing everyone with that show of hair and touching and that bottle of perfume. It’s more than anyone like her should be able to afford.
Yet Jesus saw the heart.
Simon? Yes, Teacher? I have a special lesson just for you. Two debtors. One owes a hundred bucks, the other $50,000. Neither could pay. Both are forgiven. And the one who owes little, loves little.
It’s not that Simon the Pharisee owed less. He saw less to be forgiven. And yes, Jesus who does all these fancy miracles can forgive sins.
Jesus works on a different level, seeing different meaning in the physical that corresponds to spiritual truths. He calls us to stop looking at the world through American values or moral values, but God’s values. They’ve always been a bit scandalous.