Daily Reflection – 9/19/19
A Pharisee invited him to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”( Luke 7:36-50)
There is so much personality insight in this Gospel. We start with the woman.
We don’t know how she knew Jesus. Maybe she had only seen him from a distance and listened to his teaching. However, it happened, the power of his grace had reached through the layers of self-protection that she had erected around her heart and touched her soul. She had finally found someone who truly knew her, who truly valued her the way she had yearned to be valued, and who wanted nothing from her except trust and friendship.
Jesus also reveals himself in this encounter. He shows his full identity in response to this woman’s humble love and faith. No longer could people simply call him a great teacher, or a mighty prophet, or a wonderworker. No, he had publicly forgiven this woman’s sins, something that God alone can do.
How much confidence and peace this conviction would give to our souls if we would simply let it sink in! Jesus is the Lord. He is Lord of history, of life, of good, of circumstances, hopes, and obstacles. And he is my Lord. His Lordship is exercised on my behalf, for the sake of my salvation, to free me from my sins and set me on the path of true love and joy – a path so fulfilling that this fashionable and pleasure-loving woman wept for happiness when she found herself upon it.
Jesus also teaches us how he wants to forgive our sins. But Jesus wants to give us that chance. He wants to make it possible for us to confess our sins and our repentance in a physical, tangible way And he also wants us to be able to receive his forgiveness in a physical, tangible way. Christ’s final words, “Your sins are forgiven… Your faith has saved you, go in peace” are some of the most powerful words ever spoken.
There is another dimension to this story and again it deals with another look at Jesus, our Friend and our God. How gently Jesus rebukes and teaches Simon the Pharisee! He doesn’t yell or humiliate him; instead, he simply asks a couple of questions that quietly light up his conscience. This is how he deals with us. Just recall how he has acted in your life up to now – steadily, surely, but very gently and respectfully. And if he does so with us, showing himself to be a true friend, shouldn’t we do the same with the Simons we run across?
Prayer of The Day
Lord, you know I believe in you, but you also know how shaky my faith can be. Jesus, convince me of your wisdom, your nearness, your greatness. Help me to see your hand at work in all things. Pour your Holy Spirit upon me again, with his gifts of understanding and knowledge. My mind is so caked with the mud of this fallen world! Lord Jesus, be my light
Jesus, you told me to learn from you because you are meek and humble of heart. I want to be a faithful ambassador of your Kingdom. And that means reaching out to those around me with the same gentleness and humility that you always showed. But I need your grace to to help me see how I may be an instrument of your love and forgiveness.