Have you ever been in a church service when all of a sudden someone who looked “different” walked in?
On Sept. 5th, I had the honour and privilege of preaching at my church – New Covenant. In the story found in Luke 7:36-50, a sinful woman (most likely a prostitute) was observing Jesus and the others as they reclined at the table to eat (see image above). Moved with emotion and humility, she washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and dries them with her hair. She then continues to anoint them with costly perfume. Simon, the Pharisee, couldn’t understand how Jesus could be “ok” with this.
I believe this would be the case for many of us and our churches today! We’ve become so comfortable with church being about the good music, the perfectly crafted video announcements, and the timed sermon, that quite possibly, we have strayed away from what Jesus was all about. In Luke 7, Simon didn’t see a repentant woman (and indeed she was) – he saw a prostitute. Jesus, on the other hand, put him in his place and compared her loving actions with his neglected actions (Luke 7:44-46).
“She was evidencing that she loved Jesus for she realized that she had been forgiven much. She realized that she was a sinner and in need of forgiveness. In contrast, Simon saw himself as pure and righteous and therefore did not need to treat Jesus in a special manner.” – John Walvoord
To illustrate my point further, I asked one of my youth leaders if he would help me out:
At this point, I said these words “I fear that the church has lost what it means to love Jesus and to love like Jesus” **Enter “Josh”**
As Josh heard his cue, I continued with these questions as he proceeded to walk down the middle isle and right up to the front of the altar:
- What if someone walked in to OUR CHURCH…
- What would our reaction be…
- What would be our response…
- What would we say to ourselves?
- What would Jesus’ response be to us?
- Will He rebuke us for our actions; or lack thereof?
And right there was the test…
- No one in the lobby welcomed Josh.
- Nobody in the hallway greeted Josh.
- None of the ushers offered to “usher” Josh to a seat.
The picture is painted.
I’ll end this with Jesus’ words to the Pharisees from Luke 5:31-32:
“Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
May our churches have the same perspective as Jesus had! Seek and Save!
What are your thoughts? What is our fear? What is our mission and mandate?
After all we are all in need of a Saviour. We have common ground.