Thursday, January 21, 2010

Loving Jesus Passionately

Contrasts tend to help us truly appreciate what is good. Stumbling around in the dark can help us appreciate light. Biting into a rotten apple helps us appreciate a tasty apple. Having a car that breaks down often helps us appreciate dependable transportation. When a part of our body quits working, we become more grateful for when it does work. One last one is weather related. When it rains hard and often, like this week, we gain a renewed appreciate for the sun, its warmth and blue sky. As for me, having grown up in Portland where this week’s weather is common place, I actually did not need it to appreciate the sun, blue sky and warmth.

The principle that contrast tends to help us appreciate what is good is seen in the text for this week’s sermon. In this story, recorded in Luke 7:36-50, we see two people in opposite places in life, with radically different perspectives, experiences, past choices and current view of Jesus. One was full of appreciation for Jesus and one was not. One was full of love for Jesus and one was not. I invite you to read the text and ask yourself, which one of these two people best describes me in relationship with Jesus.

  • The Pharisee: Simon. His relationship to Jesus could be described as formal, distant and cool.
  • The Prostitute: Unnamed. Her relationship to Jesus could be described as a fervent, demonstrative love for the Lord who had done so much for her.
    • Which of these two characters most describes your relationship with Jesus?
  • The Prophet: Jesus.
    • Who is this man? The One Who has the right and ability to forgive sins
  • To love Jesus passionately, you need to realize your great debt. (v. 39) Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10
  • To love Jesus passionately, you need to realize your utter inability to repay your debt. (v. 42) Isaiah 64:6; Mark 7:20-23
  • To love Jesus passionately, you need to trust in His grace to forgive your un-payable debt of sin. (v. 42) Titus 3:4-5; 1 John 1:9

Questions to ponder
  1. Is your relationship with Jesus more like the Pharisee or like the prostitute in the story? What in your life demonstrates this?
  2. To what extent should our love for the Lord be emotional? Are feelings important? How do they relate to faith?
  3. How can we help people to see their great need before God?

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