Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What does God have to say to those who are not just a little bad, but REALLY bad??

“We can understand why Jesus loved Mary. Look at how she worshipped. We can understand why Jesus loved Martha. Look at how she served…

-Joanna Weaver

I love that quote. What about people like us though? What does God do with people who are self-absorbed on occasion, loving things we know they shouldn’t, trying hard at times, but always falling short, and getting further in the “hole”? Can God love a prostitute, a gold digger, a porn addict, a drug addict, a politician who got roped into a scheme that left many people hurt, upset or without jobs? What does God do with these people???

Luke 7:36-50 tells us about a sinful woman, a prostitute to be more exact, who comes weeping to Jesus over her sins, in front of the Pharisees. Jesus anoints her in the midst of all of her critics. Her critics on this particular day were men. These men knew of her reputation. These men carried a high status, according to the society in that time. Their opinion mattered to most people. They were important men, who were thought to be older and wiser than the prostitute, who was considered to be the lowest of lows. The men mocked those who did not carry their status, knowledge and wisdom, on a regular basis. They were mocking her in their heads, and then questioned Jesus out loud for allowing her to touch him. All the while, she continued to offer her sacrifice to Jesus, weeping. She expressed her love to Jesus as best she knew how. Jesus corrected the men’s thinking by giving them a lesson right in front of her (for her benefit as much as theirs, I am sure) and then he turned to her, saying, “Your sins are forgiven.” He shoots straight to the heart of the issue, and manages to answer the very question I am sure she was begging to ask but did not have the courage to ask, “Is this sacrifice good enough to heal my brokenness?” Then he offered a blessing over here, again, right in front of the very men who were clearly not appreciating his lack of discernment. Boldly he says to her, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Choosing to build her up, he suggests, again, that what she did was not just acknowledged and accepted, but praiseworthy. He busts through all of the distractions in that moment, and again manages to answer another question that undoubtedly was on her mind, “Is it okay that I am doing what I am doing?” In two sentences he manages to put all of her fears to rest, blesses her, builds her up among her critics, and then sends her out with permission to live a life of peace from now on. This is how Jesus sees you when you come to Him, asking for forgiveness. Your sins are forgiven. You are made clean. You are a new person. After years and years of anguish, He says to you, “Go in peace.” Peace was a feeling you could not possess on your own, and He offers it to you because He loves you. He offers you freedom, love, acceptance, and peace. He looks at you with unconditional love that no person on earth can offer and says to you, “Your faith has saved you.”

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