UPDATEDToday’s Spiritual Food for Thought was first posted on August 26, 2013.kk
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“That’s Way Too Much”
One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
I would like to address the matter of what you consider excessive (“too much”).
Many people in Jesus’ days, as well as ours, may deem what the woman did in this passage as being overly emotional or exaggerated. We don’t mind if we get emotional about things that can bring us happiness, or if it’s about what we love to do. In fact, some people are willing to pay an incredible amount of money just to experience something for a few hours. But when it comes to expressing our love and devotion to God in worship, anything longer than one hour is seen by many churchgoers as unnecessarily long.
Now, this event (a sinful woman wiping the feet of Jesus with her hair and ointment) is not to be confused with similar stories in the Gospels. Here, the Pharisee was not concerned about the woman’s alleged wastefulness (John 12:5); but rather, the following two issues were raised: a sinful person before God’s holiness and Jesus’ reputation as a prophet. The bottom line is that the only way a sinner can approach God is through worship in love and gratitude of His grace of forgiveness (v. 47); and the exaggerated expression of thankfulness becomes a tiny, miniature expression of the overwhelming grace of God’s forgiveness.
When it comes to worshiping God, nothing can be too emotional nor overly exaggerated, for God is worthy of our total devotion. The issue is not about how I am known by others but whether I have come to know and love my Savior who pardoned my sins (vv. 42-42). During our Sunday worship, the goal of preaching is to show how great and merciful our God is; and afterwards, the only legitimate response from the congregation, that is, the worshipers, is an abundant expression of our love for God who, after all, has forgiven us of all our sins.
So, have you been holding back your emotions before God in worship fearing what others might think? Has the expression of your gratitude toward Him diminished? Ask the Lord to take you back to that place where He found you, where nothing mattered, other than the Lord Jesus Himself.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, you are the only one who has the authority to forgive sins on earth. Therefore, I display my emotions publicly to glorify your magnanimous love for me. I praise you, Lord. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Galatians 5-6