Read: Romans 3:9-20; Romans 5:6-11
I was talking with a friend this week concerning the fact that neither of us enjoys fiction books that have endings we don't like. The kind where too many questions remain unanswered or where the readers are left with the responsibility of deciding what might happen to one or several of the characters. The reason I feel this way probably began with my reading fairy tales. For example, Cinderella. Remember her? She was the sweet one who was mistreated throughout her story. Yet, her beauty, both inside and out didn't diminish. No wonder it is so satisfying that in the end, her foot fit perfectly in the glass slipper, proving that she was the chosen princess. She was able to get away from both her nasty stepmother and her cruel stepsisters, exchanging all that unpleasantness for a life where she and the prince would live happily ever after. And the mean girls? They received nothing.
That's how we like to see a story end, don't we? Why wouldn't the prince choose the lovely, kind Cinderella? Even if her stepsisters Drizella and Anastasia could have somehow fit their feet into the glass slippers, why would the handsome royal prince sweep either of these wicked women off her feet and take either of them for his bride? Can you imagine if the story was called the story of Drizella? No! No one would believe that the prince would set his love on two such unlikely undeserving women.
Yet, in the most unbelievable and amazing nonfiction story ever told, we meet a King who chose to set His love on all of the Drizellas of the world, Romans 5:6-11, even me. It is in the Bible that we learn of the King Who chooses a bride comprised of people that aren't even interested in Him, Romans 10:20. It is humbling to remember that God did not reject us even though we had nothing to offer Him that would cause Him to desire to be with us, Deuteronomy 7:6; Romans 3:9-18. Instead of rejecting us, He chose to love us.
If we were in Cinderella's story, the prince would have decided to make us his bride, even though he was aware of our wicked deeds. He would have chosen us warts and all. Do you remember that in the fairy tale the stepsisters destroyed Cinderella's evening gown so she couldn't go to the ball? Even with that knowledge, the prince would have chosen us. No way would that ever happen in a fairy tale. Princes don't choose that kind of a woman for their brides. Yet, the Lord Who knows each wrong word, wrong motive and all of our thoughts holds out His love to us anyway.
No wonder Romans 5:6-11 describes us as helpless before God. The more that we understand that we each have a sin debt we can never pay, the more unfathomable the Love of God will be to us. In Luke 7:36-50, we meet a woman who clearly understood the vastness of Jesus' love, whereas Simon the host of the dinner did not. Simon thought Jesus really didn't understand how bad this sinful woman's deeds were. Or, perhaps Jesus was no prophet at all. Surely Simon reasoned, Jesus wouldn't permit such a woman like that to touch Him, if He were anyone special.
The truth was that both Jesus and the woman knew that her sin debt was massive. Simon also carried a sin debt he couldn't pay. The difference between the two of them was that she had acknowledged both her debt and the provision of Jesus' forgiveness. No wonder her tears and perfume were poured out freely on the One Who had done so much for her.
How different Simon was. He held fast to his own righteousness, not seeing either the depth of his need or Jesus' love. No wonder he didn't see to it that Jesus' feet were washed or His head was anointed with oil. He didn't offer even the normal acts of consideration that were to be afforded a guest. Simon surely looked to the world like the one who could stand before Jesus; yet, it was the one whose sins were so well known whom Jesus chose to honor. Because she knew her need, she was covered with a robe of righteousness, Isaiah 61:10. This was a gift she could have never earned but one she freely received. Isn't it amazing that the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords willingly makes sinners like us who have nothing to offer Him, His friends, Romans 5:10-11?
Lord, Thank You for amazing grace that saved a Drizella like me and made me Your child, 1 John 3:1. Thank You that we can offer that same grace to those You place in our paths, 2 Corinthians 5:20.