Reflections on Luke 7Posted: February 21, 2014
Bishop’s Note: Many of you know that I am away for the next couple of weeks on a trip to the Holy Lands with several of our leaders from across the area. While I’m gone, I’ve invited a couple of guest authors to share their reflections from the weekly scripture reading. I hope that you are blessed by their gifts and what they have to offer us. They will be using the same process that I have used for the past several weeks.
This week’s post is written by the Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Geary, Superintendent of the Paris District and Dean of the Appointive Cabinet in the Memphis Conference.
- Read and Ponder each passage.
- Write the words that leap out to you.
- Meet the challenge to write a prayer using all the words you selected.
- Then select a phrase or sentence from the passage that grabs your attention.
- Write several personal I BELIEVE statements about each passage.
Words that leap out at me:
kissed feet sinner see love forgive
Loving God, you are like a mother who kisses the forehead of her newborn infant and welcomes the child into the world of the family. You who know the number of our days, acknowledge that our feet will not always be moving in a direction toward you. However, your grace meets us at the point of our sin as we seek to be restored to you through repentance. We thank you that you not only see us as we are; but what we are capable of becoming. Your forgiveness and love woo and mature us toward the purpose and calling that you dreamt for us — individually and as the body of Christ. Help us to see beyond the externals of reputation, status and gender and instead see the readiness of others to receive the forgiveness you are so willing to extend. Forgive us when we self-righteously think the church is a museum for small minded saints rather than a hospital for sinners. Help us be like you, seeking the least, last and lost of this world, so that unlike Simon we may extend radical hospitality and receive every person as if they were you. Yes, Lord, blessed are your feet as you not only brought the good news of forgiveness to the woman at Simon’s home, but to us and through us to people everywhere in this hurting world. This we pray in the loving and forgiving name of Jesus, Amen.
A Phrase That Jumps Out at You From the Text:
“Jesus turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman?” (Vs.44a)
I believe the prodigal adoration of Jesus by the woman was evidenced by tears, kisses and humility at his feet and that Jesus forgave her sins.
I believe Jesus sees beyond our current state to what we are gifted to become in his Kingdom.
I believe some people find fault as if there was a reward for it.
I believe Jesus sees beyond my fault and instead sees my need.
I believe that tradition and propriety were more important to Simon than everyday people coming to God.
I believe Jesus forgave my heavy debts and compels me to forgive others.
For well over a year we have been challenged to engage the mission field of our communities with the Gospel of Christ through Word and Deed. We do this because we are a scriptural church that follows the example and invitation of Jesus the Christ to go and make disciples. Luke 7 illustrates that Jesus did not ask us to go and do something he was unwilling to do himself. He “entered” Capernaum, Nain and the home of Simon the Pharisee. If we are to engage the mission field of our communities, we must become a “go to” church and less of a “come to” church.
Jesus healed the centurion’s servant. He raised the only son of a Mother from the dead. The Lord healed many others of their infirmities. Jesus asked John’s disciples to report on the miracles performed as evidence that he indeed was “the one who is coming.” (Vs. 20b) He lamented the lack of responsiveness of the current generation. (Vss. 31-32) Sound familiar?
Humility is a key to faithfulness, responsiveness, faith and repentance in this chapter. The centurion was described as great (loving and giving) by the Jewish elders but characterized himself by saying “I don’t consider myself worthy to come to you.” Jesus own humility is evidenced in that he referenced changed lives rather than pointing out his own position as Messiah. And while describing the greatness of John he stated “Yet whoever is least in God’s Kingdom is greater than he.” (Vs. 28b) Finally, the woman who poured perfumed oil on the feet of the Savior and kissed his feet and wiped them with her hair demonstrated humility by her actions and posture.
If pride goes before the fall of a person, then surely humility comes before a healing. Jesus forgave her sins and called out Simon the Pharisee to see beyond labels, gossip, reputation and status and clearly note a daughter of Abraham made in the image of God. It is only when we see the human and divine in our brothers and sisters that we are humbled and more able to become aware of our own need of forgiveness and live with gratitude for the cancellation of our debts.