Thursday, October 27, 2016

A sinner like me, conclusion

Yesterday we watched; we were spectators as Simon disrespected Jesus by not being a good host: he didn't wash Jesus' feet, nor did he anoint His head with oil, nor did he kiss Jesus' cheek.

We saw an uninvited a woman as she was overwhelmed by the nearness of Jesus and the sinfulness of her own life, and she wept. Her tears fell on His feet, so she wiped His feet with her hair, anointed them with her perfume, and kissed them.

Simon was taking all of this in, and thought he had a "Gotcha!" on Jesus. All he had to do was expose the fact that this woman was a prostitute, and the teacher's influence would be destroyed. Simon and the rest of the Pharisees would be bothered by Him no longer.

At least, that is what Simon thought.
In his self-righteousness, he underestimated his foe. Because his eyes were blinded by foolish pride, he had no clue Who Jesus was, nor what He was all about.
Oh, self-righteousness is a very ugly thing. It's like having a log in one's eye, so that the speck in someone else's eye is hard to see. Or you could say it's like having goggles on that prevent you from seeing clearly. These goggles make it impossible for the self-righteous person to see the value in other people.  These are the people who will scorn tears, and laugh at people who show repentance. They are like bullies in the schoolyard; they think they are better than everyone else, and they will take every opportunity to remind all of the kids around.
I bet that as he watched the woman kneel at Jesus' feet, Simon was thinking up some mean, spiteful comment that would embarrass her, and embarrass Jesus, too.

Well, Jesus is not worried about insults against Himself. But He isn't going to put up with Simon's arrogant attack against this woman, sorrowing over her sins.
The Great Physician used His surgical skills, and He proceeded to cut Simon precisely as needed to expose the hypocrisy within him.
He tells him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."
That should have given Simon pause, but remember, he has those goggles on. (Grin)
"What is it you want to tell me, teacher?"
Jesus tells a parable.
 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. (Luke 7:41-43)
Then Jesus turned His back on Simon and faced the woman. Symbolic of His turning away from the self-righteous, judgmental man, and turning to face the simple repentance of the prostitute.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:44-50)
Looking down at the woman, he delivers his message to Simon with surgical precision: he who has been forgiven little, loves little.
Simon was someone who probably had never felt the need for forgiveness. He thought himself miles and miles removed from people who needed forgiveness, and so he felt little compassion for anyone who did. Jesus said "her many sins have been forgiven, for she loved much."
We know that she loved "much" because she was perfectly willing to kneel before Him; she kissed His feet; she repented. The woman knew she was sinful, and He was righteous. She loved Him. She was a sinner like me.
Well, Simon didn't want to humble himself. He didn't want to kiss Jesus' cheek. We can see that Jesus wasn't important to Him. Of course, there are some folks today who are willing to kiss Him, but it's more as if they are equals. Not that He is their God -- more like He is an acquaintance, and they can listen to Him if they feel like it, but they can also ignore Him if they like.

But those of us who realize that we've sinned and fallen short, are ready to kiss Him in the way the sinful woman did. We know in our hearts that the only way to approach Christ is to kneel before Him and give Him the love He deserves, because He has forgiven so much in us.

Simon just loved himself, I think. He didn't think he needed a Savior. He didn't have any love or compassion for others; he didn't understand the God of his people. Those goggles kept him from loving and knowing God, and that made it so he couldn't love people:
 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (I John 4:7-8)
When he looked at the woman, Simon saw a prostitute. Nothing more.
When Jesus looked on the woman, He saw her as she could be. To Jesus, sin is just something that hides the true beauty underneath. It is something that needs to be stripped away to reveal the image of God that has been muddied and soiled. When we humble ourselves at his feet, we are acknowledging our sinfulness and the emptiness of our souls. It is then that He can remake us as God intended.

I don't know about you, but I read this story with a mixture of joy and tears. I'm confronted with the fact that I'm a sinner, like this woman, but then I'm rescued from that, by a forgiving and loving Savior! Praise Him!


Cathy said...

Praise is the only possible response after being forgiven. Praise and thanksgiving the our Lord died to save a sinner like me. So faithless, so fickle, so unthinking and yes, sometimes so self righteous, and yet, HE died for those very sins, and forgave them. Praise and thanks to His name and glory!!!!!!

Ramblingon said...

Here is your sentence that leapt out to I think this each day.

It is something that needs to be stripped away to reveal the image of God that has been muddied and soiled. When we humble ourselves at his feet, we are acknowledging our sinfulness and the emptiness of our souls. It is then that He can remake us as God intended.

The last sentence there just makes me gloriously happy.