Love and Devotion

Thursday, February 12, 2015, 9:44 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Trust Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Luke 7:31-50 (ESV).

Of This Generation

“To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,

“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

There will always be people in this life who will think that we, who follow Jesus Christ with our lives, should think and behave just like them, and who will continually find some way to criticize or persecute us just because they don’t like something about us – what we stand for, what we do, and/or what we believe and practice. These are people who judge us by human standards, by traditions of men, and by worldly culture, philosophy and practice, and even by religious norms and customs which exist within the church.

They will mock us because we are different, and for the reason that we are unlike the world, and because we do stand out in a crowd, since we no longer conform to the ways of this sinful world. They will think us strange or crazy or disconnected from reality because we don’t do what “normal” people do. Even fellow Christians will be among those who may be our fiercest critics and opponents because we have not compromised our faith and we have not blended in with the society around us just so we can be accepted.

Yet, those who act wisely by God’s standards will one day be vindicated, if they are not already validated in the eyes of other humans for their love and devotion to Jesus Christ. What these wise servants do out of love for Christ and for their fellow humans, if not correctly understood now by everyone, will one day be confirmed that it had its purpose when the evidence is revealed by God concerning the lives that were changed for the good because of these servants’ love and devotion to Christ, and due to their commitment to following him in obedience to his will for their lives, despite all opposition.

For She Loved Much

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”

I love this story! It is one of my favorites in the Bible. This woman was rejected because she had lived a sinful lifestyle, and probably because she was a woman, and because she did something that seemed weird, different, impractical and just plain senseless in the eyes of at least the host, Simon, the Pharisee. Yet, she did not come into the home of the Pharisee to cause trouble or to seduce anyone into sinning with her. She came with a repentant heart and out of love for Jesus – the one she had obviously heard about, or whom she had heard teach, or whom she had watched heal the blind, the sick and the lame. I believe she came because she wanted to be healed, too, and because she wanted to express her love for the Savior of the world, because he first loved her.

This woman was not concerned in the least what everyone might think of her, or else if she was at all, she rejected that fear and stepped out in faith and did what she knew she must do anyway, even knowing the kind of reception she might receive from some of the people there at that meal. Yet, she had a divine appointment with her Lord, and so she went, not knowing what might face her there. She did what she felt prompted to do, even knowing that her actions might be met with ridicule and with rebuke. Yet, her love for her Lord and her desire to express her love to him in this way overcame any fears she may have been feeling at the time.

Jesus’ host, Simon the Pharisee, responded to the woman and her actions with disdain. He looked down on her because of the sinful lifestyle she had lived. He obviously didn’t understand that Jesus came into the world to save sinners, not to reject them and not to turn them away in disgust.

Jesus didn’t think like the Pharisee. Although Jesus was fully God and fully man when he walked the face of this earth, and he did not have to come to the earth to save us, he loved us so much that he left his throne in heaven, took on human flesh and eventually died on the cross for our sins so that we could be free of the curse of sin. He certainly did not pacify anyone’s sin, and he did not shy away from confronting sin and calling for repentance, nor did he avoid the subjects of obedience and judgment. Yet, he was merciful to the lost, and had compassion on them, and thus called them to faith in Him.

Jesus Honored Her

And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he 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 wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss 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 are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at 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.”

Jesus told a parable to Simon in which he taught him that those who have sinned much and thus have been forgiven much will also love much, because they have a greater understanding of their true sinful condition (their debt) and thus a greater appreciation for the true grace and mercy of God in forgiving them and in saving them.

I love this next part in particular. It says that Jesus turned toward the woman but he spoke to Simon. He was giving honor to the woman for her act of faith and for her unadulterated love for her Lord. Basically, all the things that Simon should have done for the Lord, but did not do, the woman did.

Sometimes those who think they are so religious look down upon those who are true servants of the Lord and thus are critical of them and even reject and discard them as worthless, because they don’t get it. Their religion is just a bunch of rules and regulations (human-based), and forms and rituals and going through the motions of religious thought and practice, but they lack child-like faith as this woman obviously demonstrated. And, this goes back to the thought expressed early on in this writing concerning people who think we should be like them and who criticize us for being different, and it is because they don’t get it. Simon didn’t get it, either.

So, in conclusion, we should be encouraged by both of these stories to be the people of God whom our Lord created us to be, even in the face of great opposition, and even if the resistance we face comes from those within the church who don’t get it, either. We should have the courage and determination of this woman to do for our Lord what he has called us to do no matter what kind of response we get in return. Now, we should make certain it is the Lord we are hearing, and that our actions are consistent with the teachings of scripture and with the godly examples of Christ, the prophets, the apostles and other servants of the Lord talked about in scripture. Yet, we should not be afraid to be different and to do what may seem out of the ordinary by human standards of what they think is “normal.” We should be bold and courageous in our service to our Lord, but also humble and merciful to those who are in need of the Savior and of his saving grace.

Trust Him / An Original Work / August 15, 2012

Based off Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord; be of courage;
Be strong and take heart today.
Do not fear when foes attack you.
Trust in God always.
He will rescue you in times
Of trouble and distress,
He’ll comfort you in all ways
As you trust Him with your life today.
Trust in Him always.

God is with you; He’ll not leave you.
You can always count on Him.
He will fulfill all He promised
Before you began.
His word teaches you
All that you need for this life.
Let Him lead you. Open your heart;
Let his truth envelope you today.
Listen and obey.

Love your Lord God; follow Jesus.
Repent of your sins today.
Make Him your Lord and your master;
Trust Him and obey.
Follow Him where’er He leads you
In His service; be His witness,
Telling others about Jesus’
Price that He did pay
For your sins always.