Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tears and Perfume

Luke 7:36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 37 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, 38 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. 39 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." 40And Jesus answering said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he answered, "Say it, Teacher."

41"A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?" 43Simon answered, "The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt." And he said to him, "You have judged rightly." 44 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. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little." 48And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?" 50 And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

What is Jesus trying to say here? Is it about tears and expensive perfume? Is it about if we should eat with non Christians? Is it about washing feet? Or is it about canceling debts?

It's about forgiveness and thankfulness. The Pharisee is thinking, to himself, that he is righteous and really doesn't need Jesus that much. When Jesus comes into his house, he might have been thinking that this was good for Jesus, to get to be with such an important person as himself. He offered no greeting or foot washing, because he may have been thinking that it was Jesus who should have been SOOO thankful to get to eat with him, not the other way around.

When we see our sin for what it truly is, then we know for sure how poor and needy we are, and we see our absolute need of a Savior. Because of our tremendous need, our thanks and praise to Our Great Sacrificial Lamb should be all the more fervent.

I think this is harder for those of us who have grown up in the Church. We have been spared by God the pain and heartache of doing "all those bad things" and this can tend to make us think that we're not that bad. That is exactly what the Pharisees were always thinking. "I thank God that I am not as this tax gather" will get you a ticket straight to hell.

We are ALL tax "collector" and "prostitutes" in some way or another. Maybe not in a literal way, but certainly our hearts are enslaved to sin and until Christ willingly took my place on the cross, there was no way out for me. Oh Great Propitiation.

This is where brokenness over sin has to come into place for salvation to be genuine. If I just am inviting Jesus into my "house" because of the benefits that He will get from it, I am not saved. If I know that I have nothing to bring to the table but need of His forgiven, then I am going the right direction toward true repentance and forgiveness. Forgiveness of sins is a glorious truth that should be met with glorious praise to our Savior. The tears show brokenness over sin, the perfume is thankfulness of coming forgiveness.

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