Thursday, February 14, 2013
Risking it All
A big, deep, pure love came to Jesus.
And it came from the lowest of the low—a despised prostitute.
Today, Valentine's Day, I will attempt to talk about that love (Luke 7:36-50) from my limited, layman's view.
Many sermons have been delivered and many books have been written about it, and yet we are still trying to fathom if we, too, are capable of loving the way she did.
The prostitute went to the house of Simon, the Pharisee. It is the most unlikely place to find a woman of her kind. In fact, it was impossible for a Pharisee and a prostitute to be in one place together. They belonged to opposite poles—they were antonymous.
But this one time, they were in one place together for the same reason: Jesus.
Simon, impeccably proper, was the dinner host of Jesus. And the prostitute, improperly obstinate, was the gate crasher.
She came carrying a beautiful alabaster jar filled with pricey perfume. Then, in a most expansive gesture of no-holds-barred love, she knelt at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on them, and she wiped them off with her hair. She kept kissing his feet and poured on them perfume, the cost of which was a whole year's wages.
How would you describe her act?
She bared it all, risked it all—to receive forgiveness. Total trust, fearless faith.
Naturally, if you were Simon, staid, conservative and middle-of-the-road, you would be appalled.
Jesus said to Simon, “Look at this woman . . .”
But Simon couldn't see a woman; he saw an occupation—a dirty, ugly reputation. He couldn't even see himself.
To the woman, Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you.” She had been set free.
Was Simon any better than the woman he despised? Did Simon do more for God than she did?
I don't know. What I know is, nobody has the right to calibrate what he does for or against the Lord. Only God can calibrate anything and everything about us. And only He can forgive our sins by his grace.
It has been said that love is a risky business. On this day of love, may we be able to answer this question: When we love, do we, like Simon, play it safe? Or do we, like the prostitute, risk it all?
Lord, make us understand how it is to risk it all for Love. For you. Amen.