Friday, July 18, 2014

"Do You See This Woman?" --- Devotion and Hymn Based on Luke 7:36-50

Luke 7:36-50
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Morning Devotion

"Do you see this woman?" our Lord asks Simon.  After the entrance of sin into the world, all of us have difficulty seeing.  We no longer see things as God or his Son sees them.  This is particularly true when it comes to our sexuality --- our creation in God's image as male and female.

The Lord created man to live in a temple/garden.  Ancient cultures filled their temples with images of the gods.  Our Lord did the same thing in his temple, but the man and the woman were his images, meant to reflect and display his character in the temple of the earth.

Vital to bearing God's image is our sexuality as male and female.  In the marital union between husband and wife, God inscribed the deepest purpose of our lives on our bodies.  Man was not created to be alone.  Rather, he was created for relationship. 

The marital union, is a picture of our deepest purpose, namely, fellowship with God and then one another.  The spousal union was supposed to reflect the self-giving love that characterizes God's triune life, as each person of the trinity lives in a wonderful exchange of self-giving love.  The marital union also was supposed to picture the union of the Lord our bridegroom with his bride, the church. 

In Jesus, our bridegroom, self-giving love, which is the opposite of self-grasping lust, was expressed by our husband's incarnation, who did not grasp for equality with God, but took the form of a servant.  This self-giving love was ultimately expressed when he gave his life in love for his bride on the cross.

"Do you see this woman?"  "This woman" is not mentioned by name, so that she might serve as an emblem of the intimate fellowship with God all of us were created for.  In her response to our husband's self-giving love on the cross, which restores forgiveness and intimacy with God, we see the way things were meant to be from the beginning, and can be again through the redemption Jesus accomplished, and will consummate at his return, when his wedding supper will be celebrated with his bride.

There is a sexual component in the woman's actions, though it is not out of place given who Jesus is, the archetypal bridegroom, and given who she had become, a forgiven sinner.  In that culture, a woman unloosening her hair, was a spousal act reserved for a husband.  The word for "touching" Simon uses in verse 39 is used in 1 Corinthians 7 to refer to the sexual act. 

"Do you see this woman?" If we see this woman as Jesus sees her, we will see that she has been restored to the place of fellowship and intimacy with God for which all of us were created.  May we enter by faith into our Lord and husband's love and joy.  Amen.

O Lord, You Gave Your Body

Suggested tune: LANCASHIRE Lead On, O King, Eternal (  Meter: 7676D.  Based on Luke 7:36-50; Romans 12:1-2.  Words: William Weber, 2014.  (after sermon, Christ as bridegroom, God's love, sanctification)

v. 1
O Lord, You gave Your body,
it was the wedding price.
For we could not come to You,
without Your sacrifice.
How great beyond all measure
is Your redeeming love,
that raises earthly sinners
to You in courts above.

v. 2
Our Husband came from heaven,
He left His Father's home.
He came to pay the bride price,
for sin must be atoned.
This love for us is wondrous,
for Jesus came to serve.
He gave for us His body,
such grace we don't deserve.

v. 3
So give Your body to Him,
for all He's done for you;
and let His Word transform you,
that you may be renewed.
He is your Lord and Husband,
the Lover of your soul.
For at the cross He bought you,
and He will make you whole.

v. 4
O Lord, our lives are broken,
we mourn our sinful state.
We long for You in heaven,
exceeding joy awaits.
'Til then we pray Your Spirit
will work in us in might,
that we may turn from darkness,
to live in You our Light.

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