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Posts Tagged ‘Pharisee’

MP900390547[1]Waiting – we hate it but we can’t avoid it. Some waits are simply irritating. Standing in line, stuck behind a stalled car, sitting in a doctor’s office.

Some waiting is pure agony. Waiting for news that could send joy bubbles coursing through your veins or plunge you into a place of pure grief is the worst kind of waiting. Time drags until you are convinced the clock is broken. Minutes tick slower and slower and so do you, weighed down with the wait.

How should we wait? Talk about it? Don’t talk about it? Push through or sit it out? Hide it deep in our hearts or put it out there where our heart is exposed and sore?

I am waiting today in one of those pure agony situations. It’s hard and very emotional. This morning I found myself reflecting back on  Easter week and finding the timing ironic. The Son of God was waiting for the completion of His mission and the fulfillment of the scriptures that week. Knowing beforehand that what He awaited would be agony, how did Jesus wait?

In Luke Chapter 7 it says He started His week of waiting by going to the home of a Pharisee for dinner, an interesting decision given that the Pharisee’s were not exactly friends or supporters. While there his meal was interrupted by a women whom the Bible says was “known to be a sinner”.  Although it isn’t specifically stated, that would indicate she was a prostitute. The woman proceeded to have a complete meltdown, sobbing uncontrollably and we all know how comfortable that must have been for the men in the room. I know it was that kind of red nosed, puffy eyed crying because it produced enough tears to be used in the washing of Jesus’ feet. Once she got her hysteria under control she dried them with her hair and massaged them with expensive oil.

And there in that room, as Jesus waited forthe events that would lead to His  painful death, He restored a broken soul and gave her new life. Of course, He was challenged to justify all of this, prompting Him to teach about great love – just days before He would experience great hate.  (Luke 7:36-50)

How else did Jesus wait that week? Luke says that after the incident of the woman who washed His feet “Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. “ Luke 8:1

Jesus didn’t put Himself on hold as He prepared for the devastating results of His trial. He went about His Father’s business, continuing to reach out and heal, teach and preach, nourish and love the ones who would bring Him to the cross.

What an incredible lesson for me today. My soul may be heavy but my feet and arms still work, my heart can still be touched by brokeness, the people in my life still need me to minister and God still has work for me to do.

I am not called to build a fortress to hide behind while I wait. I am called to be a fortress for a frightened, lonely world by not hiding the light that leads to Jesus behind my own dark situation.

I’m not saying that in times of distress we can’t be sad, or ask for support or seek counsel. I’m just saying that life doesn’t stop because I am in a hard place. Every day, along with the challenges I face, there are tasks I have been given by the One who guards and guides me.

I expect Him to follow through on His promises. He expects me to follow through on my calling. Believe me – He’s getting the short end of the stick while I’m getting the best end of the bargain.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Ro 12:11

 

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I’m just finishing up a three day conference that my facility puts on every year.  I am the conference coordinator and that means months of planning, organizing, making speaker contacts and travel arrangements, preparing written materials, organizing presentations, processing registrations and all of the other busy work that goes into this type of event.  The three days of the conference are intense and I’m busy from 6:30 a.m. to 10: p.m.

I’m just a couple of hours away from being able to pack up and move out.  I have been looking forward to treating myself to a pedicure this afternoon.  I can’t stop thinking about how good that is going to feel after being on my feet for hours on end, in cute shoes of course.  I didn’t say comfortable, I said cute.

There’s nothing like sitting back and relaxing while your feet soak in that delicious warm, swirling water followed by the foot massage and ending with toes that sparkle and shine.  I don’t do it often but when I do I feel pampered and refreshed.

It brings to mind the feet of Jesus and His followers.  Long walks, dusty paths, rocky terrain, and hot sweaty weather would have made them very aware of their feet.  I can’t imagine their thin, worn sandals would have provided much comfort.  When they did sit it wasn’t usually in a cushioned recliner.  Most likely it was on a rock or the hard ground.

Is it no wonder that Jesus praised the pedicure given by a sinful woman with oil and tears?  Think of it.  Jesus, whose feet were tired and swollen, dusty and sore, enters the home of a wealthy Pharisee.  His host was well versed in law and protocol.  His whole existence was focused around making a good impression, proving himself better than others.  No doubt his invitation to host Jesus was a bit risky.  He may have had an ulterior motive, wanting to show his superior knowledge or hoping to catch Jesus in a theological mistake.  He would have instructed his servants to go all out because, after all, it was all about status and stature – the great Pharisee extending a kindness to the lowly prophet.

But, in all of his preparations, he failed to offer the simple kindness of a bowl of water and a towel to ease the discomfort of his traveler’s feet.  He was so caught up in the sensationalism he overlooked the simple.

No wonder the entrance of the unsavory character with the valuable perfume raised Simon the Pharisee’s eyebrows.  Who did she think she was and where did she get that jar of expensive oil?  Steal it?  Sell herself for it?  Here at least was something the Pharisee and Jesus would have in common – disdain for the despicable.

As usual Jesus took a different path.  In her despair this woman provided what the Pharisee, with all of his possessions, did not.  She brought tearful honesty, soothing repentance, raw adoration.  Everything the Master cherishes.

If we could just remember the lesson of reaching out found in this beautiful story.  It’s never effective when motives overtake mission.  It loses its flavor when impressing takes the place of impacting.  But when we become the servant, when we let our hair down, when we look for the place that needs a healing touch, our efforts are like expensive perfume poured on sweaty feet.  It’s the pedicure that ministers to the entire body.  Not only that but the fragrance fills the room and sweetens the heart of everyone around.

And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50

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