Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A meal and a feet washing

Luke 7:36-50 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. 37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

A meal
“In Luke’s Gospel Jesus is either going to a meal, at a meal, or coming from a meal,” says Robert Karris, author of Eating Your Way Through Luke's Gospel. At least nine such accounts are recorded*. An oft-repeated complaint of the Pharisees was that Jesus ate with publicans and sinners (Cf. Luke 5:30 7:34; 15:2). "The Son of Man is come eating and drinking, and ye say, Behold, a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners." This story reminds us that Jesus not only ate with publicans and sinners, but also with Pharisees and lawyers (Cf. Luke 14:1-6). Often we only see what we want to see, only what pride and prejudices allow. The truth is that Jesus is no respecter of persons, but if any man will hear His voice and open the door, He will come in sup with him. 

A feet washing
A this meal with the Pharisee appeared an uninvited guest -- a sinful woman with a dark reputation. Surprisingly the woman weeps profusely and begins to take those tears as water to wash Jesus' feet. Her hair supplies the rag to wipe them, and with her lips she vigorously kisses those sacred feet. An ointment that cost her greatly is then applied to Jesus' feet. Simon, the host and a Pharisee, is flabbergasted, privately thinking ill of Jesus -- if he really were a prophet, he would know the sinful reputation of this woman and not let her near him, much less wash and kiss his feet. But Jesus did know this woman and her sins (Cf. verses 47-38).  Knowing Simon's thoughts, Jesus puts forward a parable illustrating the source of the woman's actions -- she loves much because she has been forgiven much! The woman, the forgiven, worships Jesus without words. Jesus, the forgiver, justifies her actions by His words. She stood forgiven. She could go in peace. "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God."

May we feast with Jesus, may we worship at His feet.

Jesus! What a friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.**

*Luke 5:27-32 (Matthew Levi, a publican)
Luke 6:1-5              (In the corn fields)
Luke 7:36-50          (Simon, a Pharisee)
Luke 9:12-17          (5000 fed)
Luke 11:37-54 (A certain Pharisee)
Luke 14:1-24          (A chief of the Pharisees)
Luke 19:1-10          (Zaccheus, a publican)
Luke 22:7-20           (With the twelve)
Luke 24:13-32 (Cleophas and other disciples)
Luke 24:41-42 (With the eleven)
(And many many other lessons involving eating)

** Hymn by J. Wilbur Chapman

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