Sunday, June 13, 2010
Living The Law Of Love
There is a gathering at Simon, a Pharisee's home. Jesus has been invited as one of the guests; you too are there. Upon Jesus' arrival, you are painfully aware that Simon has not performed any of the usual Jewish rituals of welcome when greeting a guest who has come to your home. He has not bathed this weary travelers feet, and he has not offered Him a kiss of peace. You wonder, "Was this an oversight or has Jesus been invited under somewhat false pretenses?" You get the feeling that Jesus is not fooled by any of His host's behavior or motives.
As the evening progresses, there is much talk about the laws of God and how to follow them. You notice that there seems to be some commotion in another part of the house; a servant is arguing with someone~ it sounds like a woman. Suddenly this woman bursts into the room where the men are gathered. All are surprised, but many recognize her; her reputation in the area is not a virtuous one.
Before anyone can say anything, she rushes to Jesus, takes a place behind Him and falls at His feet. She is weeping bitterly and allows her tears to bathe Jesus' feet. She dries His feet with her long hair and then anoints them with a costly perfumed ointment. All the while she has not stopped kissing Jesus' feet.
You watch in utter amazement and even some confusion. No woman in her right mind would ever dare disturb a gathering such as this, let alone a woman with her reputation. But there is something about this woman and her actions that move you to pity her rather than judge her. Unfortunately the same can not be said of our host and his friends. Before anything is said to the woman, they pass judgement on Jesus. You hear their murmurings and snide comments: "If he were any kind of a prophet, surely He would know what kind of woman this is!"
Jesus lets them have their say, but then He has His. He tells Simon that although He has been invited here as a guest, He has not been treated as such; Simon did not bathe his feet upon arrival or offer Him a kiss of peace and welcome. So Jesus did notice the host's "oversight"! Jesus also points out that while Simon has done none of this, this woman has done so and more.
What Jesus says and does next angers Simon an the others even more. Jesus tells the woman that her faith has saved her and that her sins are forgiven. Simon and his guests would like to know who this is that forgives sins? But their question doesn't seem to be one of humble curiosity but rather one of contempt.
Upon hearing Jesus' words, the woman's tears begin to subside and a smile is on her face. None of the guests' words and murmurings seem to bother her; all she has heard~ all her heart has heard are the words of Jesus. She leaves Simon's house converted and renewed.
Dear Lord Jesus,
May I always have the heart of this woman who loved much. Like her, I have committed many sins, and like her I come to you with an alabaster jar filled with all the love of my heart.
May my tears of repentance wash your feet, may my renewed faith be the ointment and kisses that cover and anoint you.
May I have a healthy respect and love for Your law, but more importantly may I, through faith and the grace of Your mercy, live Your Law of Love.
Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King
My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.