The Words Within

Jesus is Alive!

An Attitude of Gratitude

Have you noticed these past many years, that the newest generation, I call the "Me" generation, seems to be a "thankless generation." I am not painting all as thankless, but there does seem to be a prevalence of this kind of attitude. Just watch wherever you go for a few days and see if this is not so. Many from the bygone days are also thankless. It always annoys me when you do a good deed for someone, and they can't be bothered to say thank you.

Perhaps the reason for this attitude is because God has been taken out of the schools, courts etc It's a wonder than "In God We Trust." has not yet been removed from American money.

Well, I suppose that would explain why there are so many thankless people out there. After all, if God is no longer welcome in our countries, the natural tendency to have a good attitude also went out the door with God. We need not look too far to see that the morals that came with the first settlers to these shores , has by and large been abandoned. Crime in the streets has risen greatly since WW II. So I guess we can't expect the people of the land to be very thankful.

Jesus was one day invited to come and dine with a certain Pharisee named Simon. Little did he know that Jesus was going to teach him a lesson about being thankful, about having a good attitude towards others who are gracious to you, of having a loving, forgiving heart.

I would dare to say, that our attitude towards being thankful or not is an indicator also of of relationship and attitude to God. Is He not after all the author of good attitudes? And did Jesus Himself not set the example.

For example at what is commonly called the "Last Supper," when He shared the cup of wine and bread He gave thanks. John 6:11

Scripture commands us to give thanks, to be thankful. Ps. 50:14. And the Apostle Paul said we should likewise give thanks for all things. Phil. 4:6 It is good to give thanks to the Lord. Ps. 92:1 And we are to give thanks to and through Christ Jesus. 1 Tim. 1:12; Rom. 1:8; Col. 3:17.We are to give thanks always for all things. Eph. 5:20; 1 Thess. 5:18

Luke 7:36-50 tells the story of Simon, a Pharisee, who for whatever reason invites Jesus to dine with him. This was still early in the Lord's ministry on earth. The Pharisees had already begun to discredit Jesus for various reasons. The chief reason most likely that Jesus claimed to be deity, yet He did many things in the Pharisaical mind set which they deemed to be a fraud.

At some point during the meal a woman arrives, and she begins to pour a jar of alabaster oil upon the feet of Jesus and to wash His feet with the oil and her tears and then proceeds to dry His feet with her hair. This woman is inferred in this story to be a woman of the street, a prostitute. Simon looked upon this woman and was aghast that Jesus allowed this woman, a known street walker to wash His feet. His thinking was; "if this man was really a prophet, a man of God, then he would know what type of woman she was, and he would have told her to get away from him." After all, what has a sinner such as her got to do with a man of God?

You got to love the way Jesus handles this situation. If ever there was a greater diplomat, it was Jesus. Jesus turns to Simon, the Pharisee, and tells him a parable about two men who owed their master large sums of money. One owed 500 denarii and the other 50 denarii. To understand how much money this was, you need to know that a denarii was the equivalent of a man’s daily wage. So therefore the one man owned the equivalent of about 500 days wages, while the other owned about 50 days wages.

Both men were at the end of their ropes. In a sense both men were equal as to their financial status, as neither could pay their debt. Likewise we are all sinners and none of us are able to pay the debt owed for our sins. We are all at the same level of indebtedness as far as our sins are concerned. In this sense, one sin is no greater than another. A thief is no greater a sinner than a hooker.

Jesus by rights could have been thoroughly incensed at Simon's lack of etiquette in his hospitality towards Jesus. To understand what is meant here, it is best to go back in time to the Middle East at the time of Jesus and learn a little bit of their custom and culture. When a guest, especially an important guest enters your home, it would be proper etiquette to kiss your guest on the cheeks, and to wash his feet of the sand and dust off his sandalled feet. Luke 7:44-46 It would be like you or I entering into an others home after a long journey and to be not offered something to eat or drink, or a place to rest.

Simon's misbehavior was an insult to his guest. It may have been done on purpose, we do not know for sure.

Next we must understand why this woman and others were also there within the same walls. We can safely gleam this to be true as we read verse 49.

When we go to a party, we feel somewhat discomforted if others appear who had not been invited. However, again, going back in time, it was normal for the needy to come and stand aside of the guest table and then to come and take any leftovers when permitted. Other curious onlookers were also allowed to come and observe the goings on. That is why it was quite normal for this uninvited woman to be present.

However it seemed like Simon the host, of this little get together was somewhat surprised to see this woman there, or so it would appear. As far we know this may well have been a set up to entrap Jesus as the Pharisees have done before. John 8:2-11 where we read of the woman caught in adultery.

Simon's action towards the woman is what brought Jesus to tell the parable of the moneylender. Simon actually should have been put to rest immediately, as to the deity of Jesus. Why, because we read; "Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it,” (the woman present washing the feet of Jesus), he said to himself, “if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner." Luke 7:39 (King James Version)

Do you see the point? Simon thought this in his mind. He did not say it aloud. Jesus as we know is God, and He is capable of knowing our thoughts. “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee" Job 42:2 (King James Version) That is why Jesus told Simon this parable. Jesus wanted Simon to know that he to was no less a sinner than this woman. He also wanted Simon to know that God has the prerogative to love any and all sinners. He was also showing Simon that; to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47 b King James Version), and the converse is also true, that to whom much is forgiven, the same loveth much.

This woman however knew that she was a sinner and therefore she came to Jesus to wash His feet as and act of repentance, whereas Simon thought himself to be too good a person and not at all in need of repentance, nor in need of a Savior, nor of forgiveness, as he was in his own mind but a little sinner as compared to the woman.

The woman in Simon's eyes was a great sinner, a member of the dregs of society, unclean, unrighteous. What made it even worse in Simon's eyes was that according to Jewish Laws (Talmud) a woman can be divorced for simply unbinding her hair (letting it down) in the presence of other men. And here she is wiping the feet of Jesus with her own hair. Unbelievable, he would have thought.
Simon was shocked by the fact that Jesus did not try to discourage this woman from washing His feet. This woman is a sinner after all. How could He allow this gross sinner to do this, if indeed He is a prophet, a man of God?

Not only did Simon have contempt for this woman, he also had contempt for Jesus. How dare he, Jesus touch such a sinner, even to let her come near Him. Simon again, being so self righteous looked down at this woman thinking himself much better than her. Surely, he thought to himself, my sins, if I even have any, are not nearly as bad as this untouchable woman.

Of course he knew who, and what kind of woman she was, and He also knew Simon and what kind of man he was. Nothing is hidden from God.
This story exposes the attitudes of both the woman and of Simon. One loved God, the other did not. One was forgiven much and therefore loved much, while the other was forgiven little and loved little and saw no need of forgiveness.
Jesus tells us that the moneylender forgave both the men of their debts, with no strings attached.

Jesus says; "he frankly forgave them both." (Luke 7:42 King James Version). Jesus here uses the Greek word "Chariszoma", which means to give freely, to give cheerfully. He, the money lender actually took upon himself both their debts. This was a great act of grace. Likewise when Jesus died on the cross for us, He freely forgave us all our debts sins. He paid and took upon Himself the penalty of our sins. Rom. 6:23

Jesus ends the parable by asking Simon; “which of them will love him most?" (Luke 7:42 King James Version) Simon responds correctly when he says that the one he owed the most would love the money lender the most.

What we need to learn and know about forgiving grace is that, forgiveness comes before love. In other words until an act of forgiveness is carried out, there is no recipient to love because of being forgiven. Love is the result of forgiveness. If I have done you a wrong, and you have forgiven me of that wrong, I would be most grateful and I would emotionally feel indebted to you. How else can we explain the grace extended by the likes of Corrie ten Boom, or the people who forgave the shooter at the Mennonite school. Who will love him more?

This woman showed her love and gratitude to Jesus because He freely forgave her of her sins. To love someone and to act with an attitude of gratitude shows that this person has the love of the Father in them.

This woman showed her gratitude to Jesus by going all out, pouring her love for him with her tears, with the oil, and then by drying His feet with her hair. Simon on the contrary showed his disrespectful, unforgiving heart by not kissing Jesus, by not washing His feet, by not having a forgiving heart for this woman.

Simon's lack of proper etiquette was not the important thing here. However, it was Simon's spiritual condition which was the most important thing. Simon had an unforgiving, ungracious attitude to people in general and to God. It was well demonstrated towards this woman.

This woman's thankful attitude prompted Jesus to say to this woman; "Thy sins are forgiven" (Luke 7:48 King James Version) because she loved much. Simon loved little. Her love proved her genuine acceptance of being forgiven.

I am reminded of the story in Luke 17:12-19 of the 10 lepers. Jesus showed compassion upon these men and graciously healed all ten of them.Yet, later on we read that only one returned and expressed how thankful he was by shouting and giving glory to God. Again here is a mirror of our own world today. So few are thankful for even the basic necessities of life which God's provides freely. Only a handful of people by comparison show and express how grateful they are to all that the Lord has provided. Few seem to be grateful even to their fellow man for any and all things. The world is full of evil these days. “And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love." Ps. 109:5 (King James Version) It is said that; "he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death." Prov. 8:36 (King James Version) Jesus describes the condition of the world in the last days when He said, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." Matt 24:12 (King James Version) In others words, many shall there be in these last days who will be unrighteous, be uncaring, unloving, unforgiving of their love for God and of their fellow man.
 
This verse helps to support the theory that those who are sinful, think of themselves to be above their fellow man, they care not for the love of others or of the things of God, for they love not, therefore, they are unforgiving. The love of God is not in them. Forgiveness has its birth from the Lord.

Each one of us has to look at oneself in the mirror and do a self examination, to see if we have a forgiving heart, a thankful heart and the love of God in us. A lack of gratitude shows a lack of love and thus a lack of forgiveness and therefore a lack of love for their fellow man and for God. Simon did not love God because he did not know God. Therefore Simon also had an unforgiving, unloving, thankless heart. And you!

It is sad that Simon could not find it within his heart to forgive and have compassion for this woman. Jesus however declared to her; "Thy sins are forgiven." (Luke 7:48 King James Version) This is a once and for all action by Jesus that cannot be undone by Him The Son of God is our great forgiver. He alone can forgive absolutely.

Why is it that Jesus can forgive sins? It is because He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. It is His blood which atones, forgives us of our sins. Jesus took upon Himself our sins debts, for “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins." Eph. 1:7 (King Jams Version) The cost of His forgiveness was great. It cost Him His blood, His life, crucifixion and the separation from His Father for a time. Review for yourself the Passion either in the movie or in scripture and see for yourself what He endured to be able to forgive you of your sins. Matt. 26:45-27:50; Mark 14:43-16:37; Luke 22:47-23:46; John 18:1-19:37

This woman and our sins our forgiven freely, for us based upon the work of Christ on the cross, by way of our faith, by believing and accepting the free gift of salvation. It is a free gift. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." (Eph 2:8 King James Version) By faith, Jesus told the woman and us that we are saved. Luke 7:50

To the Pharisee and the unforgiving this is outrageous. "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men." 1 Cor. 1:25 (King James Version)

" But the natural man [Parisees, UN-thankful, unforgiving], receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2:14 (King James Version) "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ." 1 Cor. 2:16 "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." 1 Cor. 3:19 (Both King James Version)

There are no conditions, no strings attached for us to be saved. Only trust in what He did on the cross brings salvation. When one buys you a gift, it is usually a free gift to you. You need not do anything at all to receive it, other than to reach out with an open hand and accept it. If there is a price of any sort, any strings attached, the gift is not free at all. It reminds me of TV infomercials that say if you send so much money for shipping and handling, you get the offer for free. How can it be for free if you had to spend money on it to get it?

Jesus is not like these infomercials. There is no fee for shipping and handling. He brings salvation to you for free. He brings it to you Himself and lays it in your outstretched hands, if you will but accept it. This woman at Jesus' feet did just that, she opened up herself and accepted the free gift of salvation. Thus Jesus was able to say to her; "Thy sins are forgiven." Luke 7:48 (King James Version) When you receive a gift, it is only polite to say "thank you." When God has forgiven us our sins, it would only be proper to say "Thank you!"

Upon forgiving this lady Jesus added one more loving gracious phrase. He said; "go in peace." Luke 7:50 (King James Version) What was this peace? It was peace with God and peace within herself. What else but such a soul lifting free gift from God could ever bring such peace to one heart? Thank you Lord !

This parable should cause us all to do a self examination and see if we have a heart of gratitude and love for Jesus and for our fellow man, the evidence of forgiveness in our hearts.

To love not is to not forgive. If you are unable to forgive, check the source. Perhaps you love not. Perhaps you do not know the Lord. Therefore you are unable to forgive, unable to receive the free gift, unable to be thankful.

If this is the case for you, read again the Book of John and the Passion passages in the Bible. Look and see what Jesus has done for you. Stand at the bottom of the cross and see what it cost Him to forgive you of your sins.(His stripes, the scourging, his beard pulled, his back whipped to the bone)

Then when that is done, accept His free gift, be thankful that He has forgiven you. Show your love for Him by pouring the alabaster jar of oil upon His feet. Allow your tears to flow in love for Him. Dry his feet with an attitude of gratitude.

Stop being a Pharisee.

Forgive yourself.

Forgive your enemy.

Love your neighbor.

And lastly say; "Thank you!"

Here is a song of the Love one has for Christ when one has been forgiven.

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength my song.
This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are still, when strikings cease.
My comforter, my All in All, here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone who took on flesh, fullness of God in helpless babe.
The gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.
For every sin on Him was laid, here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground, His body lay. Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth, in glorious day, up from the grave He arose again.
And as He stands in victory, since curse has lost it's grip on me.
For I am His, and He is mine. Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No gift of love, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry, to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand.
Till He returns, or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I stand.
One cannot help but have an attitude of gratitude
When we see what He has done for us,
When we look and see how far to the cross He has come,
From heaven above to shed His blood on Calvary,
To pay sins debt for you and me,
Oh for the love of such a Savior as He,
To offer freely a love so divine,
So rich, so free,
If I but trust in His love for me,
To reach out and grasp His forgiving Love
That I may shout from now till eternity,
Thank you Lord !
THANK YOU LORD FOR SAVING MY SOUL.
THANK YOU LORD FOR HE MAKING WHOLE
THANK YOU LORD FOR GIVING TO ME
THY GREAT SALVATION SO RICH AND FREE
THANK YOU LORD.

Lyrics copyright 2001 Kingsway/Thankyou Music

For song story click here: http://www.crosswalk.com/church/worship/song-story-in-christ-alone-1275127.html

 


If we can but................... remember that it is .............. because of Him.................that....... it is all about Him, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer, Our King...
what depths of joy,.... what depths of gracious love... what depths of thankfulness... what depths of worship.............

I bow my knee in Humble Adoration .................before my King.. My God..My Lord...My Savior...I Give All...To Him. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I Adore you...Son Of God.....

My Lord...My God...My Savior.........Jesus Christ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

andré