Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” Luke 7:44-50
The woman went to Simon’s house because she wanted to see Jesus
She didn’t care what Simon and his friends might think. She didn’t want to miss her chance to be with Jesus. Simon had missed the opportunity of a lifetime. He had so much but he gave so little
She knew that she might never have the chance again so even though she had so little yet she gave so much!
She wasn’t embarrassed or in a hurry. There was nothing more important on her schedule that day. While Simon probably couldn’t wait for her worship to end, she lavished the final drops of perfume on Jesus’ feet. Inwardly Simon criticized both her and Jesus because he never saw his own need. But this very special lady knew that forgiveness and grace weren’t just ideas to understand but gifts she desperately needed to receive!
Yet worship is more than despair at our condition, it is the expression of faith that no matter how big our sin: God’s mercy is bigger! May her story be ours – Sinned much- Repented much-Forgiven much- Loved much!
And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.” Luke 7:37-39
When Simon invited Jesus to his house that day he thought that Jesus would be delighted to come. Though Simon wasn’t one of those plotting to kill Jesus, he was uncomfortable with His teaching and wanted to have a chance to question Jesus personally. Jesus accepted the invitation because He wanted to answer Simon’s questions, just not in the way that Simon had expected! Simon thought that he the situation under control, till that sinful woman entered and began washing Jesus’ feet. Simon couldn’t understand. A humble repentant faith was foreign to him. His faith meant obeying all the rules and regulations then feeling good about himself. But faith is more than just giving Jesus a seat at our table. Faith is seeing ourselves for who we are because we have seen Him for who He truly is! Think of what Simon missed. He had given no water, no oil, no kiss, in all the time that Jesus sat at his table. What chances will you and I miss today if we find only what we are looking for and not what He has planned?
John 21:15-18 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Three things Jesus tells us about His love
Feed my lambs and let me worry about feeding you
Take care of My sheep and I’ll take care of you
Keep leading My sheep to the green pastures and I’ll lead you all the way home!
For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God Exodus 34:14
Look under a thousand roofs in any city and you may find 1000 gods (or more that people choose to worship. They may call him (or her these days) Allah, Krishna, Buddha, Kali, or any of a host of other names. There is really nothing new in any of this at all. Back in the “Good Old Days” we might imagine that things were different; however the real world that has always been is just a lot more overt than it used to be Where we need to pay careful and close attention is in our own attitudes towards worship and to what God thinks about it. Yes God loves the whole world and sent Jesus to die for all of our sins; but when we worship our God is very insistent even demanding that all our heart belong exclusively to Him.
Begin any discussion about worship today in the church and you will hear words like “anointed, awesome, powerful” and you may listen to conversations about the “presence of God” or the “move of God”. All that may be well and good, however from God’s perspective he is far more interested in what and who we worship than about the specific form or feeling that we attribute to our “worship time.”
In this 21st century of relaxed informal worship a newcomer to the church may come away with the impression that God is not too fussy or opinionated about things. He loves all kinds of people and understands if they are a bit off in what name they call him. Maybe some people just call God by another name or they use images to assist them in thinking about what the invisible God is truly like. They may sense that the God we praise in church is okay with just about anything as long as it is “intimate” and that the worshipers are accepted if they just come with open hearts.
But in fact the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is quite particular about worship. He is far more than picky. God almighty expects that everything we do, everything we say and every thing we imagine be done in the name of Jesus Christ. God is not only jealous but He willing takes on Jealous as His name. He will never accept any worship, no matter how sweet, to be directed to anyone else but Him. He is not just a “Higher Power” He can not be called by any other name. There is no other way to the Father than worship that springs to life in our hearts because of the cross of Jesus Christ.
I love our very formal older people. They never just slide into the pews and begin to talk, but they bow and pray for a moment. A latecomer don’t simply cheerfully join in the singing rather they kneel for a moment and dedicate the moments to God and then join in. As Paul once told the Corinthians about taking communion. “But let a man first examine himself…” 1 Corinthians 11:28. Maybe it would be a great idea for each of us to begin to re-examine our worship and how we talk about it to those living under those thousands of roofs in our city. Oh yes our God is a God of love! But our God of love is a very jealous lover!
Holy, Holy Holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity! Reginald Heber
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8
I am a daydreamer a bit like the Walter Mitty of the recent movie with Ben Stiller. I often imagine the worst when I am nervous or dream of greatness when I achieve some small success. My ideas seem to run in every direction like scurrying chickens in a barnyard. But when I turn to God’s word I find that I am called on to actively direct my wayward thoughts. God didn’t create us to be slaves to our thoughts but He designed our mind to be the servant of our spirit. Rather than simply drifting like a gull that follows every draft of wind God expects me to grab hold of the reigns of my creative thoughts and use them for good. His assurance today is that no matter the circumstance, no matter the difficulty we face, no matter the complications that lie ahead, there is also an ocean of good around us. God tells us to live our life for His praise.
Not the meanspirited way but the noble
Not the deceptive strategy but the just one
Not the tainted desires but the pure
Not the ugliness of life but the lovely
Not the juicy gossip but the good report
Not the biting critical remark but the gracious praise of others
Today – which is the only day we are promised can be a day for God’s praise if we choose to think like Him!
Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. Acts 14:27
A door is something that keeps things out. A door is something that keeps things in. A door is meant to be locked. A door is meant to be opened. Every home has a doorway. When our doors are locked it gives us a safe place to live. Our home is also our base of operations from which we can choose to go out into life.
So often when we say things like, “God opened the door” or “God closed the door” we are speaking of personal opportunities granted or denied. But in Acts, Paul reports back to his home church that God had opened a door of faith for others, through his ministry. Paul’s calling was to help people find their way through the door. It wasn’t about Paul’s opportunity or about Paul’s success, it was about God opening opportunity for others to find eternal life.
A door is the difference between a home and a monument. Paul saw that God wanted to use him to build a heavenly home for others, not a monument to his own success. Today there is still a door of faith that God is giving. We get to choose whether we will lock the door and stay inside or walk through to what we can believe by faith is on the other side!