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The Two Debts – Part 1

The Two Debts – Part 1

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we now come to an event that many have preached about. However, few people know the whole story, because it requires a lot of digging to get to.

This is found in Luke 7:36-50. I encourage you to take the time and read through this section of Scripture to see the truth of what I’m describing.

A Pharisee had invited Jesus over to his home for a dinner in the Lord’s honor. When Jesus arrived at the house, the Pharisee neglected a few simple courtesies that were a way of life in that region of the world. He didn’t offer Jesus a kiss, water for His feet, or oil for His hair. This was a slight against the Lord.

During Jesus’ visit, a woman came in and did something unique. She knelt before Him and wept, allowing her tears to fall on His feet. Then she wiped them with her hair. Once His feet were cleaned, she opened an alabaster bottle of expensive perfume and began to anoint His feet.

As this was going on, the Pharisee was thinking that if Jesus were really a prophet, He would know how sinful this woman was. According to the Pharisee’s thinking, Jesus shouldn’t let her touch Him.

Jesus, knowing his thoughts, turned to the Pharisee and told him a parable about two men who had their debts forgiven. One had a large debt, and the other a small one.

Here’s the rest of the story that never gets told. This party was also recorded in Mark 14:1-10 and Matthew 26:6-13.

Luke calls the host of the party, a Pharisee named Simon. Mark, however, calls him Simon the Leper. That’s important because in the entire book of Mark, he only records one leper being healed by the Lord. That’s in Mark 1:40-44. Listen to what Jesus said to the man after he was healed.

Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

Mark 1:43-44

I believe this is the same Pharisee who gave Jesus the party in Luke’s Gospel. There are two important reasons. First, Jesus assumes that this man knows what sacrifices were required for the cleansing of leprosy. The normal outcast would probably not know this.

The second is the most obvious to me. The Lord told this man to go to the priests to be a testimony to them. A Pharisee who was diagnosed with leprosy would be well known to them. He would be going to the very priests who banned him from the temple worship.

His healing would definitely testify as to the power of the Lord. Some unknown leper would never have the influence to be a credible testimony to the company of priests in Jerusalem.

You may remember from reading this blog, that Luke also records the healing of this leper in Luke 5:12-14. Look at what happened just a few days later.

One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.

Luke 5:17-18

I believe that there’s only one reason Pharisees from all over Judea and Jerusalem would come all the way to Galilee, to hear Jesus. That was because one of their own number was miraculously healed of leprosy. That man’s testimony drew quite a crowd of religious leaders.

This gives us new insight. In the account of the Pharisee and the “sinful” woman, both of them owed Jesus a debt of gratitude. This is what the Lord was calling attention to in His parable.

Because of the power of the Messiah, the Pharisee had his leprosy removed while the woman had her sins removed. Now the only question is; who would thank the Lord for what He had done for them?

In my next post, we’ll see the lesson that Jesus tries to get across to the Pharisee.

Question: How do you show your thankfulness to Christ for what He’s done for you?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2022 in Healing, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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Help Given and Received

For the past couple of years, I have been posting systematically through the New Testament.  I’ve been going book by book in the order that they were revealed to the church through the Holy Spirit.

Recently, I put that on pause because I felt led to do a series on spiritual warfare.  I’m now going back to where I left off in the original series.  I had just finished 1 Corinthians at that time, so I’ll now begin with 2 Corinthians.

Paul wrote his first letter, and sent it off with Titus to Corinth during the two years he spent at Ephesus (Acts chapter 19).  He then had to leave because of the rioting.  He went to Macedonia and waited for Titus to return with a report of his visit.

It turned out that many in Corinth received the epistle favorably.  However, there were still some who rejected Paul’s authority and teaching.  So Paul sends off another letter to respond to what he’s heard.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:1-4

The word trouble in this passage is actually the Greek word for pressure.  I don’t know about you, but personally, I dislike pressure.  I try my best to avoid it.

In actuality, we’ll never be exempt from the challenges and pressures of life.  But there is a positive outcome that it can bring us.

Pressure qualifies us for ministry. When we learn to endure pressure, we can help others who are undergoing the same things.

Most of us like to be helped.  When facing a difficult challenge, even a word of encouragement can go a long way.

If you’re like most people, then you’ve relied upon help at one time or another.  Scripture teaches us that part of showing gratefulness is taking the blessing you received and passing it on to someone else.

It can be anything – a kind word, food, a ride, or a helping hand carrying things.  If it’s done in obedience to God’s Word, it’s powerful and life-changing.

What we need to start realizing is that even though all these good things came through the people around us, God originated them.  All the blessings that we receive come from the Lord’s hand.  It’s in thankfulness to Him that we’re willing to pass a blessing on to someone else.

So when we help someone else in their pressure, it’s the Lord who’s actually helping them through us.  We become a channel of God’s love reaching out to those around us.

Look for an opportunity, today, to be a blessing to someone.  Do something unexpected.  Take the good things you’ve received from God and pass them on to someone around you.  The Lord will see to it that someday, in some way, you’ll be rewarded for your act of gratefulness to Him.

Question: What are some pressures that God has given you the victory over?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2020 in Encouragement, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Grace of Undetached Missions Giving

As Paul writes to the Corinthian church, he encourages them to give to the starving saints in Jerusalem.  Israel was experiencing famine at this time.  Paul was calling on the Greek churches to help them.

His words to the church should inspire us to adopt a whole new mindset concerning our missions giving.

Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do.  On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.  Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.  If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.
1 Corinthians 16:1-4

The first thing that I see is that Paul’s exhortation was not something special for the Corinthian church.  He had prescribed this manner of giving for all the churches under his ministry.  In his command, I see four major truths associated with missions giving.

Missions giving is for everyone.  At least with these gentile churches, they met the first day of every week.  It was during this meeting that EVERYONE was to seek God and give according to how they were prospering.

Please note that this collection was not the tithe that went to the upkeep of the local church.  This was a special collection to be stored up for when it would be released to the specified missions project.

This is not just an exhortation for the well to do.  It’s for everyone, rich and poor alike.  God doesn’t look at the size of the gift, but the condition of the heart.  We give because we want to be a blessing to someone else.

How much you give is based upon how thankful you are.  This goes right along with what I have been saying.  It’s not about the quantity of the gift.

I have to look at my life and take inventory.  How has the Lord been blessing me?  Am I thankful for His blessing?  Do I want to be a blessing to others?

The fact is that when you pass on a blessing to others, you’re making room for a blessing in your life.  There are those who say that it’s wrong for me to teach this.  “We should give with no thought of receiving a blessing.”  If that’s the case, then Jesus is wrong, because He was the first one to tell us this truth (Luke 6:38).

Don’t simply send your missions giving, take it personally.  This is one of those areas where I think that the modern church has missed it.  We collect money for missions and then send out a check every month.  It’s neat, clean, and detached.

According to Paul, there should be a missions team in each church that goes to visit the missionaries.  They are the representatives of the church on the mission field.  American Christians would gain a whole new perspective if they could see what was required to serve God in other parts of the world.

Missions giving is an act of grace.  When we give to missions, we’re an extension of the arms of Christ.  We’re giving more than just money, especially if we bring it personally.

We’re giving love, encouragement, and fellowship to those who are in need of it the most.  In many cases, those in the field are away from family and friends for years at a time.  You may be that taste of home that gives them the strength to continue victoriously.

Please take Paul’s message to heart.  Be an active part of missions.  Give what you can.  Then, don’t let it end there, but trust God to bring you an opportunity to travel and visit a missionary.  It will be one of the best experiences of your life.

Question: How have you involved yourself in missions?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2019 in Encouragement, Missions, The Church

 

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Getting Help

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

Most of us like to be helped.  When facing a difficult challenge, even a word of encouragement can go a long way.

If you are like most people, then you have relied upon help at one time or another.  Scripture teaches us that part of showing gratefulness is taking the blessing you received and passing it on to someone else.  It can be anything – a kind word, food, a ride, or a helping hand carrying things.  If it is done in obedience to God’s Word, it’s powerful and life changing.

What we need to start realizing is that even though all these good things came through the people around us, God originated them.  All the blessings that we receive come from the Lord’s hand.  It’s in thankfulness to Him that we are willing to pass a blessing on to someone else.

Look for an opportunity, today, to be a blessing to someone.  Do something unexpected.  Take the good things you have received from God and pass them on to someone around you.  The Lord will see to it that some day, in some way, you will be rewarded for your act of gratefulness to Him.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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All Good Things

2 Samuel 22:31-37
“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless.  He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.  For who is God besides the LORD?  And who is the Rock except our God?  It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.  He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.  He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  You give me your shield of victory; you stoop down to make me great.  You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.”

It is God who blesses us with all good things.  It’s always the right day to give thanks for the beautiful sunrise, for that parking spot close to the door, and for the the large tax refund.  A prayer of thanksgiving is always appropriate when you see the night sky that seems to stretch on and on forever before you, taking your breath away.

Most people are so ungrateful to God.  Something big has got to happen to them in order for them to praise the Lord.  We need to learn to praise Him for all things, big and small.  We need to acknowledge that He is our victory in every problem and situation that arises.  It is the Lord who guides us forward down the clear, broad path at our feet.

All these things and more come from our heavenly Father.  Take the time today to thank Him for some things you don’t usually think of throughout the day.  It will make the day ahead that much more awesome.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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Standing on the Heights

Psalm 18:31-33
For who is God besides the LORD?  And who is the Rock except our God?  It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.  He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.

There is nothing like the feeling you get when you stand on a high summit overlooking all of creation.  It is like you are king (or queen) over all you survey.

It is God’s desire for us to be victorious in life.  He wants us to stand on the mountaintop events of our lives and know the thrill of the moment.  Realize that the Lord rejoices over our accomplishments.

But during those “peak” experiences – whether an actual mountain or some other achievement – we need to acknowledge the Lord as our source of strength.  We must follow the example of the Psalmist.  It is obvious that he knows the joys of victory.  But he also knows where that victory came from.  He gives credit and honor to God as the One who enables him to do these exploits.

Today – look back on your journey and praise God for His hand at work in you.  It is He who gives you the strength and guidance that you need to make it to the tops of your personal “mountains.”  Show Him your gratefulness for all He has done in your life.  In that way you will be prepared for the victories yet to come.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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