Summary: In Luke chapter 7:36-50 Luke tells the secret of a loving heart.
The Secret of a Loving Heart
# A man walks into a small antique shop in San Francisco. It’s mostly cluttered with knickknacks and junk. The man notices on the floor what looks like an ancient Chinese vase. On closer inspection it turns out to be a priceless relic from the Ming dynasty whose value is beyond calculating. It is worth everything else in the store put together. The owner clearly has no idea bout the value of this possession, because it’s filled with milk and the cat’s drinking out of it.
The man sees the opportunity for the deal of a lifetime. He cleverly strategizes a method to obtain the vase for a fraction of its worth. “That’s an extraordinary cat you have, how much would your sell her for?”
“Oh, the cat’s not really for sale,” said the owner. “She keeps the store free of mice.” “I really must have her,” the man countered. “Tell you what – I’ll give you a hundred dollars for her.”
“She’s not really worth it,” laughed the owner, “but if you want her that badly, she’s yours.” “I need something to feed her from as well,” continued the man. “Let me throw in another ten dollars for the saucer she’s drinking out of.”
“Oh, I could never do that. The saucer is actually an ancient Chinese vase from the Ming dynasty. It is my prized possession, whose worth is beyond calculation. Funny thing, though; since we’ve had it, I’ve sold seventeen cats.”
A material object may have great material value, but what value can you put on a person. Jesus placed great value on everyone regardless of their socio economic standing in the community.
In Luke chapter 7:36-50 Luke tells the secret of a loving heart. Jesus was invited to dinner at the home of a Pharisee. While Jesus was reclining at the table a sinful woman living in the town heart that Jesus was at the Pharisee’s home and crashed the party and brought a bottle of perfume and stood at the feet of Jesus weeping. She used her tears to wet the feet of Jesus and dried his feet with her hair and then poured the perfume on the feet of Jesus.
When the Pharisee saw who Jesus was allowing to wash his feet he said to his company: “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is – that she is a sinner.”
In understanding this story it’s helpful to understand the etiquette and culture of that day, just as it is important for us to know the etiquette of today.
Today would you know what to do in these situations?
1. At a formal dinner, when should one start eating the main course?
a. After the hostess is served?
b. After the hostess lifts her fork?
c. After three or four people have their food?
d. ASAP, with urgency and passion?
2. What does one do at a formal dinner if one is still hungry after the main course?
a. Request a second helping.
b. Ask in a plaintive voice, “Is that all there is?”
c. Yell, “Look out the window!” and take food form your neighbor’s plate while he’s distracted.
d. Secretly call Domino’s Pizza.
3. What is the correct response if one’s cell phone goes off in church?
a. Quickly slide it forward and point disgustedly at the person in front of you.
b. Shout “hallelujah” until it stops ringing
c. Give a larger than usual offering
d. Answer the phone, yell, “My baby!” and run out of the room.
Hospitality and Culture in New Testament times
Kenneth Bailey writes about the hospitality and culture in Jesus’ day in his book, Through Peasant Eyes, a commentary on the gospel of Luke.
When the Pharisee invited Jesus to his house he knew that Jesus a rabbi should be recognized as a guest of honor. The customary greeting was a kiss not as an expression of affection, simply a polite acknowledgement of the guest’s arrival. If the guest was a person of equal social rank, the host would kiss him on the cheek. If child were greeting a parent or a student of a rabbi, a kiss on the hand was in order. (When Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss on the cheek, as a disciple of Jesus he should have kissed him on the hand.)
The Pharisee did not greet Jesus with a kiss. In effect to not give this greeting was to ignore Jesus. It would be like being invited to someone’s home for dinner. The door is open, so you assume they intend for you to come in, but the family members are busy watching television and never rise from the La-Z-boy, to acknowledge you or say “hello.”