Devotional Readings

Jesus Loves Pharisees, Too!

Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high! Psalms 113:5.

Jesus came one day to the town of Bethany. There He met the man who had led Mary of Magdala into sin. Simon–wretched Simon–now a victim of leprosy. We would have let him suffer by the side of the road. Simon didn’t deserve healing! Yet the same power that cast the devils out of Mary and raised Lazarus from the dead cleansed Simon from leprosy. And Jesus healed Simon before he had even accepted Him as Messiah, as his Lord and Saviour, or as anything!

This miracle created a real problem for Simon, because a Pharisee, a legalist, who has been used to earning what he gets all his life, is going to be driven up the wall when someone gives him something free. You see Simon lying awake at night, you see him making a path across his plush carpets during the day, trying to figure out what to do. He can’t stand it–he’s been given something.

Finally, he has a bright idea. He’ll pay Jesus back! He didn’t have a chance to earn it, but he’ll pay Him back. So he plans a huge banquet in honor of Jesus. There, the reaction of Jesus to Mary’s anointing His feet gave Simon reason to justify his rejection of the Christ.

At that moment Jesus turned to Simon and said, “Simon, I have something to say.” And Simon got tight stomach muscles. He’d heard about this Man–this Man who could read people’s thoughts. Simon stiffened. He expected to be humiliated in his own house, at his own feast, in front of everybody. He was already beginning to feel the pain and embarrassment when Jesus, in a kind, tender manner, simply told him a little story–a story that only Simon could understand, but did he ever understand it! It went deep down into his heart, and for the first time, Simon saw himself as he really was. And he saw himself in the presence of Someone who knew what he was really like but who still loved him, who showed kindness and tenderness in not publicly tearing the mask from his face. His heart was broken, and he was converted right there at his own banquet. Jesus got Simon, too!


from Faith that Works
Morris Venden | Review & Herald (2000)
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