Luke and The Lost
I am a boring sinner. I have never done illegal drugs. (Even to this day, I only take vitamins.) I don’t drink alcohol and never have, not even as a young adult. I didn’t go through my teen years insisting on doing things to my body to get attention as “one who is different”…like all the others around me. I didn’t join a gang of any kind. I just wanted to be friends with all people. That made me different. I didn’t regret not doing any of these things. I just didn’t need it in my life. I wasn’t noble. I just didn’t have a desire to do these things so I didn’t.
I loved being with my family and friends at church. I loved being with my boyfriend who became my husband. I loved church. Weird, I know for a teen and young adult. But I still had sins to repent of and run from the temptation. The church was where my sins of the past festered. We do a lot of dumb things as Christians who are lifers at church. As I look over my past life, I have repented of dumb things I have done.
As a church goer, I had to repent of thinking I had it all together because I went to church. Because I didn’t. I had to repent of thinking God didn’t know about my hidden feelings of self degradation and insecurities. He did. I had to repent of thinking more of the institution called church instead of being eternally grateful for the saving of my soul and the relationship with my Savior. I had to repent of going my own way many times as a church leader, instead of letting Christ be the leader. I had to repent of jumping ahead of God when I should have had the wisdom to wait. I had to repent of pride. I had to repent for leading only because no one else was there to do it. Wrong motivation.
I had to repent of snubbing others because of my own first impressions of who I thought they were. I had to repent of gossiping about others in the church who didn’t show up to help with an event. I had to repent of holding grudges against people who had hurt me deeply. I had to repent of doing it all myself, because I thought I had to, because I thought I was the only one who thought it needed to be done, because I didn’t think anyone else could handle it. Ouch. I had to repent of robbing others of the blessings they could have had if had turned over my self given responsibilities to them. I had to repent of not training others to do what I do better than the way I did it. I had to repent of not helping others who really needed my time because I was too busy “doing church”. I had to repent of missing the point. Often.
In our next passage another very lost person comes to Jesus in humility. The Pharisees who were caught up in “doing church”, boring sinners like myself, totally miss the point of the new relationship she is forming with Jesus. Jesus explains…grateful forgiveness.
Luke 7, The Message
Anointing His Feet
36-39 One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him.”
40 Jesus said to him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Oh? Tell me.”
41-42 “Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?”
43-47 Simon answered, “I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.”
“That’s right,” said Jesus. Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, “Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.”
48 Then he spoke to her: “I forgive your sins.”
49 That set the dinner guests talking behind his back: “Who does he think he is, forgiving sins!”
50 He ignored them and said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
–How grateful are we for the redemption of our own sins?
–Sin is sin. There is no ranking, in order of importance or severity. Gossip, stealing, snubbing, pride…all have sinned and fall short.
–Do we live in grateful forgiveness? What does that look life in real life?
–Do we forgive others like Jesus forgives us?
–Be still. Think it over. Take as much time as you need. This is transformation. This is real life.
–We have a lot of transforming to do still…
Dear Heavenly Father, You amaze me still and always! You are God and we are not. I fall to your feet with my own tears. You take a simple, familiar story to all of us who read Your Word and you pierce our hearts, minds and souls with going deeper still, to root out all evil. I do not want to miss the point of your loving forgiveness. Thank you for forgiving me. I am redeemed. Because I am loved by you, I can love. Thank you! Now, help me live humbly, gratefully redeemed. Don’t let me miss the point!
In Jesus Name, Amen
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:12-14