COMMUNITY CONGREGATIONAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH
CITRUS SPRINGS, FL
DEVOTIONAL June 9, 2021
Sunday service is posted on the website (https://www.citrusspringscongregational.org )
Sign-up sheets for the Fellowship Meal after church on June 27 are in the Narthex. Please, sign up so we know how many hotdogs and hamburgers we need to purchase. If need be, you can respond to this email and I will sign you up.
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.
37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.
38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "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."
40 Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."
"Tell me, teacher," he said.
41 "Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"
43 Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven."
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "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.
45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.
47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little."
48 Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
50 Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Have you ever wondered what kind of invitatiation God receives from you? I mean, if you are a believer, how do you receive God into your life each day? I know you say, what do you mean receive? God is everywhere, all the time. You cannot keep God out of your life because God is always present. That is true, God is always present, but you can keep God out of your life by ignoring God. You can also restrict God by only letting God into certain parts of your life. Before going further, let me take just a minute and clarify a few points. The presence of God is a tricky matter that literally can cause a lot of harm in peoples' lives. Some see God as a Heavenly Accountant / Judge who watches your every move or thought waiting to dole out judgement at the first sign of an infraction of the laws. There are three times God claims a name, maybe four. Once with Moses when God gives him the name YHWH, I AM (Exodus 3:14), which in some ways, calls Moses, and us, into relationship with God because that is the only way we will ever come to know who God is. The second time is when God tells Mary to name her Child who is the Immanuel (God with us -Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23), Jesus, which means YHWH Saves or is a Savior. A third time is when God's name is given along with a listing of God's attributes in Exodus 33:6-7. Granted in the Exodus passage, God does say that God will be just in how God deals with people, but God leads with grace. In fact in Exodus 33:19, God even makes a point that God will be gracious upon who God wants to be gracious even if the situation deserves otherwise as it did in Exodus. The fourth time, I will interject, comes in the description of the attributes of one living in the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26). For to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit means you will emulate the attributes of God. All of that to say, God's presence in your life is not to judge, but to save ( John 3:17). When you get into trouble or a bad situation, please do not run from God thinking you are being punished, run to God for help.
Back to the question, how do you receive God into your life? Above we have two main characters who receive Jesus into their life. The Pharisee has invited Jesus over to his house. Remember, Pharisees believe in the after-life and seek to live the purest life possible in accordance with the Law. Remember, hospitality was a big deal in the culture during Jesus' time. Apparently, the Pharisee in question has overlooked this point in favor of showing Jesus He was nothing special in his house. Help yourself to what you want and sit over there Jesus, I will get to you when I get to you. No doubt, the Pharisee wanted to talk with Jesus, hear what He had to say, let others question Him, but, at least initially, that was not high on his list. Jesus entered and found His way to the table and sat down without any official greeting. What happens next is the Pharisee's worst nightmare. Into his world of pristine purity, his house, his gathering of the righteous, comes a woman, an unclean sinner, a wretch. He would have to spend the rest of the day cleaning things to restore the dwelling to an acceptable state. She goes to Jesus, with most likely one of her most prized possessions, her alabaster jar of anointing oil, and she anoints Jesus' feet and head. She kisses him and in silent lament only revealed in her tears she washes His feet and dries them with her hair.
One can assume this was not a common occurance at the Pharisee's house. As he stood there, appalled and pointing out her condition, which was transferred to Jesus since He is allowing her to anoint Him, Jesus gets a moment to speak. Jesus called out to the Pharisee using his name, his first name, no need for accolades at this point. He says, Simon. Simon could well have been his name, but interestingly in Hebrew Simon means listen or hearing. Jesus may have been calling for him to live up to his name. Look at the verb He uses when addressing him and his actions. Jesus uses the word, judging. Look at what verb Jesus uses to describe the actions of the woman. With her, He uses love. Simon did not only judge the woman as a sinner, but also Jesus. The woman loved Jesus, recognized Him as being the Messiah, treated Him so, and sought His forgiveness, even though she was never invited to be there in the first place. She loved God and offered up her prized possession to God being her oil and her heart. Jesus assures her her sins ARE forgiven and her faith HAS saved her. Now the other guests get involved and say what the host is thinking. Jesus can't forgive sins, only God can forgive sins and, as far as that goes, He can't even see a sinner when one is literally standing right there in front of Him! So, they too judge Jesus as being a sinner. But, they are wrong, Jesus can clearly see sin. What neither they or Simon hear is that Jesus points out that they are sinners, just like the women who came in their midst. The difference being, the woman was forgiven.
We are not perfect, no matter how hard we try. Even so, I do believe God calls us to continue to strive, to learn and to grow in the life God has called us to and to always be bringing forth a better version of ourselves. And as we do so, let us not hear words of judgement and condemnation calling out to us as we proceed, no hear the encouragement of our Christian brothers and sisters (Hebrews 12:1-2) and God saying I love you and I am here for you and when you get lost, seek Me, I will help you. Be at peace...
Let us pray... Holy God there are times in this life we want to stop. We are tired. We realize we are not going to live up to all You want from us and we are not sure why we are still trying, especially when we even get confused about who You are. It gets to be too much, so we confess that sometimes we go through the motions and hope for the best. Remind us You are not against us. You are not judging our every move. You are for us, You will help us and forgive us. We can go on in confidence knowing You will be with us and even when we are not sure about ourselves, the situation, or even You, we can still trust in You to get us through. So, we keep going, one step, one day, at a time. In Jesus Name, Amen