Monday, March 2, 2009

A Reflection of the Alabaster Jar...part 2

40Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."
"Tell me, teacher," he said.

Even though the Pharisee “said to himself,” or whispered under his breathe (vs 39), Jesus calls him on it. This is an amazing example of Jesus not allowing someone to stay in their sin and wrong beliefs, but also of Jesus protecting the dignity of the woman.

41"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[d] and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"
43Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.

Jesus disarms the Pharisee with a story and relies on a Pharisee’s “religious” ability to JUDGE things rightly according to the law. IF this Simon is Simon the Leper, Jesus must have healed him. There would be no other cure for leprosy then, other than Jesus, and there would be no one in Simon’s house with him if he still had leprosy. IF this is the same Simon… he has totally forgotten what Jesus did for him in his own healing (canceling his debts) and either feels entitled or indifferent to his own miraculous transformation from unclean to clean. IF it’s NOT the same Simon, then this parable simply serves as a good exercise for a Pharisee to try to see his own lack of grace/mercy in the face of his “good legal judgment.”

44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon,

One of my favorite parts. Jesus both puts Simon in his place and the woman in her place. Jesus defies cultural standards and makes eye contact, gives time, and worth to the woman by turning toward her. At the same time, he puts Simon in his place by speaking to him, but with his back to him. Not only would this be considered odd to be done, it is particularly telling because Jesus is turning toward a woman instead of Simon, not just a woman, but a sinful, poor, “unreligious” woman. Jesus attends to us when we worship no matter who we are and what we have done. At the same time, he “turns away” from the “religious” in their worship which is not spirit and truth.
"Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."

Back to the worship…. Jesus noticed every move that the woman had made. Nothing was lost on him… not one tear, not one hair, not one drop of perfume, not one ounce of her vulnerability or focus on Jesus was missed. How beautiful that this woman took a mundane task (cleaning someone’s feet after they had been traveling) and turned into one of the most beautiful worship events we know of. This is because of the heart behind the worship. Jesus notices our worship and the condition of our heart as he did with the woman… every detail. Likewise, he notices when we abandon our worship of him, when we are too concerned with ourselves to notice and adore him (as Simon was). Jesus knows when our worship is because we love much (vs 47) He sees our smallest and largest offerings and they matter to him. Jesus is explaining to the Pharisees that you can tell if someone is “saved” or truly forgiven by how they act, by the fruits of their worship. There is no fruit for Simon, only continued legalism, smallness of heart, and judgment. Worst of all, he continues to ignore Jesus as one to be worshiped and adored. But the coolest part here in these verses is that Jesus notices everything we do in his name, motivated by love.

48Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
49The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
50Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

There is a transformational process when we engage in true worship. We come into the worship time with our hearts and bodies “bent” in respect and awe at who Jesus is, at who we are. This cannot help but push us down to our knees and draw tears and love from our hearts. We then give everything we have from all the parts of our spirit. Jesus notices! Jesus responds! This is a very important part of the worship experience… Jesus notices. He also notices when we forget who we are, who he is, and what he’s done for us. But, the posture changes from the beginning to the end… the woman comes in bent over with love and humility, BEHIND Jesus… At the end, Jesus responds to her and she is no longer on the floor, behind Christ… He receives her worship and she is moved… she is now standing eye to eye with the one who was there when the world was created… eye to eye with the King of Glory. That’s some serious fruit to our worship. Not only can we know that are forgiven and our love has been received and noticed, we can also know that it matters and that it changes us.

She is a great writer...hope it helps you mediate on a wonderful model of worship.

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