If you’ve ever been concerned about money, and many in Jesus’ day were, then there is a moment in this movie which could resonate powerfully. I couldn’t find the actual clip that I want to write about, but this is the scene which sets it up. (It’s long been on DVD though so you could track it down.)
Good cop Charlie Lang has no money to tip waitress Yvonne Biazi. So he promises to return the next day and either give her a double tip or split half his winnings on the lottery – if he wins. On returning the next day he finds out that she has recently gone bankrupt and everything seems against her. So he tells her that they won on the lottery and he is going to split the winnings with her. $4 million worth of winnings! She cannot believe it and runs around madly telling everyone and giving out free ice cream. Her joy is tangible and infectious as she celebrates the burden of her debt being lifted. It’s a great moment of rescue and I wish I could show it to you.
Jesus told a story about a man who owed a colossal amount of money and couldn’t pay it back. Remarkably the man he owed let him off, forgave the debt and lifted his burden. I thought of that moment when I watched Yvonne Biazi’s moment of freedom. The unbridled relief, the sense of a weight lifted, the joy of freedom – these things came across so powerfully. And I realized why Jesus used money as an analogy. Many aspects of life can inhibit us. Many things weigh us down like a bad debt. And here comes Jesus, saying imagine what it’s like when people are offered a new start, forgiven and set free from the burdens that can weigh them down. Cut free from the power of the past. After celebrating Yvonne stops to think and she tells Charlie she can’t take the money, she doesn’t deserve it, she’s done nothing to earn it. But Charlie tells her to just take it. He’s already made up his mind, this is a free gift to set her free.