Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Resting in the hope of eternal life, life which the ever truthful God Who cannot deceive promised before the world or the ages of time began. And now in His own appointed time, He has made manifest His Word and revealed it as His message.”
Titus 1: 2, 3
“The Shepherd does not ask of thee
Faith in thy faith, but only faith in Him;
And this He meant in saying, ‘Come to Me.’
In light or darkness seek to do His will,
And leave the word of faith to Jesus still.”
Today’s Study Text:
“One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then, she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself. ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him – that she is a sinner.’ Jesus spoke up and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ ‘Teacher,’ he replied, ‘ speak.’ ‘A certain creditor had two debtors, one owed five hundred denaril, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?’ Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have judged rightly.’ Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.’ Then he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ And he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’”
Luke 7: 36 – 50
“Behold The Man” – Part 24
“Feasting With a Pharisee and a Sinner”
“Guilt tells me I have done something wrong…Shame tells me I am something wrong.”
Has the feeling of shame ever held me back from coming into Jesus’ presence?
How do the words, “shame on you!” make you feel?
Have I ever felt “shamed” when I was around “church” people?
Would I ever have the courage to do what the lady at the banquet did and wash Jesus’ feet with my tears?
“God weeps over us when shame and self hatred immobilize us.”
God Our Love-Maker
“We are afraid of Your love, Your intimacy.
We are used to being judged,
but we are not used to being loved totally.
We would rather hold on to our self-hatred
than believe in Your total acceptance of us.
Give us the courage to let go and embrace You;
may we learn how to want You to touch
us, to know us, that we in our turn
may love generously those who cannot
believe they are loved. Amen.”
Talk about a story that specializes in contrasts – this one touches every base! Who could predict what you’d get when a Pharisee, a woman “sinner,” and Jesus came together for dinner. Just thinking about this “mixture” sounds as though things could get combustible very fast – and frankly, this is exactly what happened when a well-known Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to come to his home for dinner.
I really like the way The Message Bible tells this story (Luke 7: 36-39):
“One of the Pharisee’s asked (Jesus) over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at (Jesus) feet, weeping, raining tears on His feet. Letting down her hair, she dried His feet, kissed them, and anointed them with perfume.”
For just a moment, let’s join this unlikely group of individuals as the aroma of perfume spreads through the room. The high and mighty Pharisee had to be aghast at this unsavory demonstration of affection and Jesus, the kind-hearted Savior, had to have been touched to the core of His being by the tears of gratitude which poured down the cheeks of a woman with “a reputation” that was well-known in the community. I bet you could have heard a pin drop between the intermittent sobs of a girl whose life had been changed by the love of the Man she called Jesus, my Lord.
But as often happens in moments when the power of conviction is moving through needy hearts, someone has to be a kill-joy. In this case it was none other than the elite Pharisee whose bitter voice was heard muttering, “If this guy, Jesus, was really ‘the prophet’ some say He is, He wouldn’t be letting a woman like her touch Him. In fact, He wouldn’t be caught dead in a room with someone like that.” For the snobby Pharisee, calling Jesus out was just as important as putting “that kind of woman” down. You know the “kind” I’m talking about. Poet Karen Jobson’s poem describes her best in words entitled: “For the Woman Who Dared to Anoint Jesus”
“Good girls don’t drink,
good girls don’t swear,
good girls don’t think about themselves,
good girls aren’t pushy,
good girls don’t get angry,
good girls don’t have passion,
and they certainly don’t scream or shout.
This girl does.
A good enough girl.
Good enough to love Jesus,
good enough to be loved by Jesus.
Good enough to serve Jesus,
good enough to serve for Jesus.
Good enough to talk to Jesus,
good enough to talk for Jesus.
What do you say now?”
What did the Pharisee say? “Jesus actually let her touch Him?” And what did she have to say? That “her” who didn’t even have a name. Sometimes tears tell the whole story and in the case of this precious girl, her tears wrote a book. Here’s how Professor Jan Holton writes about the scene in her commentary on Luke 7: 36-50: “A woman silently moves forward. Quite invisible to those present, she kneels behind Jesus…this woman risks dire consequences as she creeps forward to touch Jesus. Then something happens to this unnamed woman. Instead of shaking with fear and trepidation she begins to weep. Bending low, she tends to Jesus’ dusty, dirty feet with her tears. She kisses them and then, clutching the costly oil, gently anoints them. The woman does not use a cloth or the hem of her skirt but, in an intimate gesture of deep love, unfolds her hair and dries the teacher’s feet.” The Son of God, the only begotten was sitting in the home of a pious religious leader who, as we find out later, hadn’t even extended to Jesus the common courtesy of providing a towel and water so the dust could be removed from Jesus’ feet. I like the way Professor Holton observes that Jesus, “With His usual flair for seizing the teachable moment, offers a parable of forgiven debts to help Simon (the Pharisee) understand the depth of gratitude experienced when one’s costly heavy burden is lifted. Jesus gently chastises Simon by pointing out that the woman Simon has judged so unworthy has offered the gifts of hospitality that Simon as host should have provided.” Expanding on these comments, Professor Steven J. Kraftchick points out that “Simon provided no water, no kiss, and no oil. The woman bathed Jesus with her tears, kissed His feet repeatedly, and used her costly ointment to anoint Jesus’ feet…by indicating the flask was alabaster, Luke implies extravagance on her part.” This vital point is critical in helping you and me understand the outpouring of generous love God has bestowed upon each of us. As Senior Pastor Verlee Copeland underscores, the woman, “demonstrates abundant love. Her love for Jesus becomes the sign of God’s extravagant love for us.” Pastor Copeland continues by sharing the fact that “At this mealtime event, Jesus lives out the grand pronouncement through embodied Good News for everybody. Jesus draws a circle around people previously standing at the margins of society, the new boundary lines are drawn by God in very pleasant places…God’s good news is made known once again through the witness of Jesus’ radical inclusivity of all. God changes the rules in Jesus which is Good News of great joy indeed.”
“For those with chronic shame, forgiveness can open the possibility that one is worth something. In fact, that one is worth quite a lot. This is freedom. Jesus reminds us that this freedom is the gift of a loving God. A heart that is bound by sin and shame withers and dies, but the love of a forgiving God lifts it to heights beyond our greatest dreams and causes it to sing in gratitude.”
M. Jan Holton
“Lord Jesus, make my heart ever more generous in responding to Your love of me.”
Prayer For Wholeness
giver of Life
Bearer of Pain
Maker of Love,
You are able to accept in us what we
cannot even acknowledge;
You are able to name in us what we
cannot bear to speak of;
You are able to hold in Your memory
what we have tried to forget;
You are able to hold out to us
the glory that we cannot conceive of
Reconcile us through Your cross
to all that we have rejected in ourselves,
that we may find no part of Your
creation to be alien or strange to us,
and that we ourselves may be made whole.
Through Jesus Christ our lover and our friend.”
“I came so (you) can have real life and eternal life, more and better life than (you) ever dreamed of.”
John 10: 10
The Message Bible
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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