1. "We enjoyed the semi-annual meeting so much that we are having another after the service today," Brad said. He wasn't kidding though. There has been an offer made on our current buildnig and we need to vote about whether to accept this offer.
2. Brooke excitedly shared that VBS is coming and the theme is Everest: Conquering Challenges with God's Mighty Power. An insert for Volunteer opportunities was included in today's bulletin. VBS will be June 15-18 this summer.
After a time of worship, during the offering, Brooke came forward to share a video of what God is doing through our Covenant churches throughout the world. "We believe the local church is God's basic strategy to impact the world." 850 Covenant churches, 2.5 million people impacted. Brad wanted us to see where some of our resources go.
Jesus Is Ready
Brad began by noting that Jesus was always getting invited to parties. Jesus must have been likeable, fun to be with, Jesus was a blessing to be with because He loved people. That's who He was. People longed for His company.
Jesus enjoyed being in the presence of all kinds of people, including sinners and outcasts. This made religious leaders mad, but Jesus said, "It's not the healthy who need a doctor, but it's the sick."
In this story Jesus was at the house of Simon, a pharisee. It was crowded, with all kinds of smells. But at one point an uninvited woman showed up and came in, bringing yet another fragrance.
The Scripture describes her as a woman who was habitually immoral. Likely she was a prostitute.
So she hears that Jesus will be at this house and she shows up, though it is certain that she was not welcome. If you've ever been the victim of small town gossip you know what courage it took for this woman to show up here.
She showed up with an alabaster jar of perfume, and it is clear she had somehow met Jesus previously and had a powerful encounter with the Lord. It doesn't say who she was, but some say it may have been Mary Magdalene. When she arrives, she's here to explode with gratitude.
In His presence she comes unglued, tears pouring from her, sobbing. She falls at Jesus' unwashed feet, washing his feet with her tears. She undoes her hair and washes His feet, kisses His feet, then pours the contents of this jar onto His feet. The perfume fills the room with its fragrance.
As this woman does all this, Jesus doesn't say, "What's this woman doing here? What's going on here?" Rather, He was basking in the presence of a changed life.
Another smell in the room was the smell of judgmentalism. Simon sat there disgusted, thinking, "If this man were a prophet, He'd know what kind of woman this was." This woman was dirt.
In verse forty, Jesus responded to this man's thoughts. Jesus knows our thoughts, too. In response to Simon's thoughts Jesus tells a story.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Jesus makes it clear it isn't her love that saved her. And He doesn't downplay the seriousness of sin. But her sins, which are many, have been forgiven. That's why she's crying. She knows she has been forgiven for so much. And you think you have so little to be forgiven for, and that's a trap all of us can fall into.
Simon knew the right words, but this woman understood profoundly the deeper truth behind these words: "Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength."
What about you? Do you still find His grace amazing?
And your second question... how is your love for other people? Love is not a "strategy" for reaching the lost. We love people because God loves them.
We have to remember that we've not been forgiven for a little something. We've been forgiven for a lot.
When you know that you have been forgiven lavishly you begin to love lavishly.
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Jesus has the power to clean any stain, to make pure any life. And we ourselves are made right with God when we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins.
The religious leaders grumbled, "Who is this who even forgives sin," but Isaiah already addressed this. "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
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