The Uninvited Guest
Just and Merciful Father, help me lean my life in the direction of Your will. Grant me guidance, strength, and peace.
Read Luke 7:36-50
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night” (Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and author).
The woman’s reputation as a prostitute was clearly known by the people at the dinner and the way she behaved towards the guest of honor must have seemed sensuous and shocking. Touching Jesus, kissing his feet, massaging them with perfume and then letting down her hair to wrap it round his skin was bound to create a stir. But Jesus does nothing to reject the attention she lavishes on him. He even rebukes his hosts and says she has compensated for their poor hospitality! The incident becomes an opportunity to talk about the release of debts and the way it brings forgiveness and love.
The woman’s love and gratitude are in no doubt, but why does she express them in this way? Perhaps she has observed that Jesus has not been shown the warmth and welcome that he deserves and wants to make up for that in a very public way. Perhaps she identifies with Jesus, recognizing the way people use him for their needs but don’t consider his own. Or perhaps she is bringing her past to Jesus, and laying it at his feet so that she can walk freely and forgiven into the future. Whatever the reason, her tears of love and thankfulness find an echo in Christ’s own heart and her gift is fully received.
The story helps us to understand what redemption can mean in our own lives. When we know ourselves to be accepted and forgiven by God, it enables us to risk public opinion and demonstrate our faith in Jesus. Whatever our past, or size of our debts, we don’t have to drag them through the rest of life. We can bring them with confidence to Christ and he will lift our burdens from us, so we can face life anew.
Think of the things for which you are grateful to God. Give thanks to him for what he has done and bring God any further needs for forgiveness.
Lord, help me to recognize the burdens which I do not need to carry, and be ready to place them with gratitude at Your feet.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2024 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.