Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 97; 147:12-20, Hosea 9:1-9, Acts 24:1-23, Luke 7:36-50
A Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to dine with him in his home. When Jesus arrived, a woman known throughout the city as a sinner followed him inside. She bathed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Then she kissed his feet and anointed them with ointment from an alabaster jar. Simon looked on in contempt because he believed a real prophet would have seen the woman for what she was. Jesus told Simon a story about a creditor who forgave the debts of two people, one of whom owed ten times as much as the other, and asked which of them would love the creditor more. Simon said the one whose debt was greater.
Jesus then turned toward the woman and explained to Simon why she had showered him in kindnesses, while Simon had offered nothing: “Her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
Isn’t it interesting that while Jesus spoke to Simon, he looked at the woman? And that Simon, who thought he knew everything he needed to know about her, didn’t really see her at all? And that though Simon said nothing, Jesus saw his heart clearly?
If we are to be Christians – little Christs – we need to see people as Christ sees them. More importantly, we need to help people believe Christ sees, loves, and forgives them. That means meeting people where they are, but it also means letting them meet us where we are – letting sinners from across town into our orderly houses of worship to shed unseemly tears at the foot of the cross and generally make the “respectable” Christians uncomfortable. When they follow Jesus through the door, he sees exactly who they are and loves them anyway. If we don’t do the same, he sees hearts that love him only a tenth as much as they should, and they see hypocrisy instead of hope.
Don’t worry about looking like a good Christian. Try to look like Christ. That’s who people need to see.
Comfort: Christ sees you and loves you..
Challenge: Remember that you may be the face of Christ to someone today.
Prayer: Loving God, teach me to see with the eyes of Christ, and love with the heart of Christ. Amen.
Discussion: When have you felt so out of place that you just wanted to leave?
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