My previous post about The Gospel In the Middle made for a little diversion in sharing my ponderings on Simon the Pharisee and the immoral woman who wept over Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:36-50). So here are a few other thoughts about these people – they just might reveal more fullness.
If you read Bible stories, do you usually come to the ‘end’ of the story and think, ‘that’s it’? That is THE END.
But what if we were like Paul Harvey – “and now the rest of the story…”? Some of you might say, “Who’s Paul Harvey?” Or some will say, “Ah, good ‘ol Paul Harvey.” Well, in case you are interested, here is a four minute audio of one of Harvey’s “rest of the story”. It’s about someone who was not welcome in the house – you might just be surprised who it is. And it kind of fits with our Simon/his house/immoral woman/Jesus focus.
What might be ‘the rest of the story’ for Simon? We can have good feelings about the immoral woman’s ‘rest of the story’ because we know she obviously had a ‘God encounter’ with Jesus and was transformed – see my earlier posts on her – Part 1 and Part 2. But we probably would write Simon off and consider him a lost cause. Not so fast. With God all things are possible! (Mt 19:26)
Here’s something I recently looked up that gave me hope for Simon. Do you know the name ‘Simon’ in Greek/Hebrew means ‘he has heard’? Isn’t that something!? By the way, meanings of personal names are significant.
Given Simon is one who ‘hears’, what long term effect did Jesus’ words have on Simon? Why wouldn’t there be a ‘rest of the story’?
How did Simon mull over that eventful day? Did he see that transformed woman days later – with a skip in her step, laughing and interacting with others in life-giving ways, her face glowing with joy. Did he overhear her telling others about this One who loved and forgave her despite her many sins? Did that bring to mind this woman’s outpouring of love and gratitude, in his house, to the One? Did this memory then stir in him Jesus’ words, ‘he who is forgiven little, loves little’ – and then realize he loves little because he has done everything ‘right’, so he doesn’t need to be forgiven. And even though it seemed he was doing everything ‘right’ – he didn’t have the joy this woman had.
Did Simon realize Jesus’ words to the woman “Your sins have been forgiven.”, were not for her they were for him and his other guests. She already knew she was forgiven before she came into his house. It was like Jesus was saying to her, “I know that you know that your sins are forgiven, but I say this for the benefit of those around us. They need to hear how great is My love and forgiveness.”
Maybe God visited Simon in the night through a dream. I hope you know, God really uses dreams to speak to us.
Perhaps Simon heard Jesus, while hanging on the cross, say, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” What if Simon even witnessed the veil torn in two from top to bottom, exposing the Holy of Holies? Did that shake him to the core – now anyone could go into God’s presence!
Was there a culmination of various things in Simon’s life to draw him into God’s love and grace and free him from all his religious striving?
I think Simon heard. Fullness had visited His house and God knew what it would take to help ‘he-has-heard’ really hear and receive fullness. GREAT is His love. That is the rest of the story.
- Some may think they have done too many things wrong to receive God’s forgiveness. There are NEVER too many sins that God hasn’t already forgiven through His Son’s sacrifice.
- God has ways of helping us ‘hear’. Know that He wants us to hear and He wants our loved ones to hear of His fullness.
- Remember there is always the rest of the story in anyone’s life. God never says ‘The End’ to anyone. His love is never too late – even for a Simon. His love is never ending and His love never fails.