Posted by: Jo | July 6, 2012

Total Forgiveness

Face to Face with Jesus (Part 3 of 10)

“They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:4)

imageThis is the third week of looking deeply into the stories that involve people coming face to face with Jesus and today the encounter is between two persons from very different backgrounds and who have vastly different expectations of what this meeting will bring about. On the one hand we have Simon. Simon is very sure of himself, a member of the Pharisees who prides himself on keeping the law, an expert at pointing out to others where they fall short. On the other hand we have a woman who is described as having lived, “a sinful life” (probably a prostitute), a woman with no delusions about herself and who exhibits a clear understanding of her need for forgiveness.

Their story is found in Luke 7: 36 – 50

We are intrigued why this arrogant Pharisee would invite Jesus to dinner in the first place. Is it just curiosity? Perhaps to once for all prove Jesus to be a false prophet? Does he invite his friends so they can witness how he can belittle this upstart? Or does he in some way want to justify himself to Jesus and show what a good keeper of the law he is? Probably we have seen all these approaches still being evident in how Jesus is sought out today. We come across the curious, who sometimes just leave it at that, not bothering to spend time to discover his great love for them. We have come across the scoffers, who cannot believe who Jesus really is and want to tell others howimage deluded believers are, and we frequently come across the self-righteous who can quickly justify to everybody what a virtuous life they lead, so have no need for a Saviour.

The dinner party is suddenly interrupted by an uninvited guest and we marvel at the audacity of this woman, who in a time where women were not asked at all to eat with men and whose dubious life style would exclude her from any self-respecting company, suddenly appears on the scene. By her very actions we know she is not classified by the above approaches to Jesus. Here is a woman (who we probably think has already listened to Jesus’ and been aware of his loving compassion for all) breaking all cultural laws, flinging herself at Jesus feet and by her very actions, begging for forgiveness. Everything about this beautiful picture is saturated with love. The woman’s tears reveal how her heart has been touched by Jesus’ love. Her gratitude is bound up in her gift of the perfume, a loving extravagant gift, perhaps one she was saving for herself. Even her action of wiping Jesus’ feet with her hair, is a humble declaration of love. We cannot read this story and be untouched. We have a sudden urge to kneel down with her at our Master’s feet.

Simon and his guests are horrified and immediately jump to the conclusion that imageJesus cannot be the one every one is saying he is. Surely he should be condemning this sinner. His parable about the money lender brings a grudging reply from Simon, but his loving words,”…Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48) angers those present who would rather see the woman punished than forgiven. Imagine the effect those words had on the woman. Perhaps words she had heard long ago drifted back to her,

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.”

Psalm 145:18 – 19….Jesus’ last gift to the woman is to grant her peace,

“..Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50

Total forgiveness means just that. Peace that passes all understanding.

Personal Reflection

What messages of love, forgiveness and tolerance can we take away from this story for our own lives?

Do you get a pang of pity for Simon who came so close to seeing Jesus face to face and did not recognise him as his Saviour?

What was clouding his vision?

Next week we mingle with the crowd around Jesus and witness a dramatic healing of a woman and then go with the disciples and be amazed as Jesus raises a little girl from the dead.

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Responses

  1. Thanks Jo. You always seem to come up with a new way of looking at things. God bless, Mary.

    Like


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