Summary: Jesus invites us to be involved with God to offer and practice the joy of forgiveness...it is what we pray in the Lord's Prayer. Robert Hoyer in his book writes "I do not pretend to do it well nor does anyone else I know...."
In Jesus Holy Name June 13, 2010
Text: Luke 7:36-50 Redeemer
“A Harlot Crashes the Party”
Dallas Willard a brilliant Christian thinker, theologian and professor at USC School of Philosophy in his book “Divine Conspiracy” writes:
“Jesus offers himself as God’s doorway into a life that is truly life.” He has invited us “to be His apprentices in eternal living” by imitating him. (Dallas Willard... Divine Conspiracy p. 15-17)
He slipped into our world through the back roads and outlying districts of one of the least important places on earth and has allowed his program for human history to unfold ever so slowly though the centuries.#
We know that the Almighty creator of the universe “established a beachhead in an ordinary human existence in the person of Jesus. It is through the Gospels, the eye witness accounts of his life, death and resurrection that we watch Jesus step into the public arena to expose his life in various public settings to make God’s love and forgiveness available to the world.
The Gospel of Mark begins: “Jesus came to Galilee announcing the good news from God.” In Matthew’s account of Jesus we find this well known phrase: Jesus came preaching: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (4:17) This is simply a call to each of us to reconsider how we have been approaching life. Jesus invites us to be involved with God and His eternal purposes to bring those who are spiritually hungry, the message of forgiveness. We are to be the human factor in the lives of those in whom the Holy Spirit is already at work but they need a human voice and hand to bring them to the knowledge of God’s love.
Jesus began his ministry at the north end of the Sea of Galilee, the city of Capernaum. Where ever there were synagogues his status as a Rabbi opened doors for him to teach. His speaking in synagogues allowed him to penetrate the social fabric of his people because the synagogue was the central focus of life in the Jewish community.
That’s why Matthew writes: “Jesus traveled all through Galilee teaching in the Jewish synagogues everywhere preaching the Good news about the Kingdom of God… He healed every kind of sickness and disease. The report of his miracles spread far beyond the borders of Galilee so that sick people came to him from Syria. Enormous crowds followed him wherever he went, people from Galilee, the Ten Cities, Jerusalem, Jericho and all over Judea, even from across the Jordan.” (Matt 4:24)
“All of which brings us to the home of a very “nice” man named Simon, a Pharisee who had invited Jesus to dinner in his home in Capernaum. According to custom, Simon’s honored guests would have reclined around a great serving table, while uninvited guests would be allowed to stand silently around the perimeter of the room.
In a day when streets were dusty and dirty and people scuffed around in sandals, it was expected that a good host would instruct a slave to wash the feet of his guests. If the host wanted to show his honored visitor special esteem, he would do the job himself. Neither Simon, nor the Pharisee’s lowest servant, greeted Jesus with this customary gesture of hospitality.
Simon’s slights might never have made it into Scripture if his dinner and his discussion hadn’t been interrupted. The cause of the commotion was the arrival of a woman from the community; a woman who had what used to be called a “sullied reputation.” Having heard Jesus was dining at Simon’s house, she decided to go and see if she could get close to the Rabbi who spoke seriously of sin and sincerely about forgiveness and salvation.
Suddenly there she was, down on the floor by Jesus, tears of gratitude pouring down on his feet.
The Holy Spirit had been at work convicting her conscience. In John 16 Jesus said: “I will send the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, and when He comes He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” So, undeserving, she dared not greet Jesus with a kiss upon his cheek, or His hand. Unworthy she could not bring herself to anoint His head with oil. She did what she felt appropriate… she knelt down and wiped away the tears with her hair, and then anointed the feet of Jesus.
What a shocking scene for Simon and his fellow Pharisees. He really could not force her out of the house… it was too late for that… so in his mind he battled a surge of doubt about Jesus. “If this man were a prophet” he mused in his mind… “then he would know what kind of woman this is, for she is a sinner.”