Monday, September 15, 2014
Tears, Kisses And A Costly Jar Of Perfume
For some time I've been grappling with what Jesus called the greatest commandment, "Love The Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength". In searching out what it actually means to love God, I had to ask myself, "Do I love God or do I merely love being loved by God?".
In John 14:15, Jesus equated keeping His commandments with loving Him. In 1 John 5:3, love for God is also equated with keeping His commandments and we are told they are not burdensome. 2 John 1:6 says that love for God is to walk in obedience to His commands. But when we consider the Pharisees, we must also conclude that keeping the Law was not always proof of someone's love for God. Sometimes legalism is merely religion. So while obeying God is an evidence of loving God, it may also be just a religious act motivated by pride or self righteousness.
In Luke 7, we are given a story that gives us a little clearer understanding of what it means to love God.
"Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.
Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, 'If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.'
And Jesus answered him, 'Simon, I have something to say to you.' And he replied, 'Say it, Teacher.'
'A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?' Simon answered and said, 'I suppose the one whom he forgave more.' And He said to him, 'You have judged correctly.'
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. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.'
Then He said to her, 'Your sins have been forgiven.' Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, 'Who is this man who even forgives sins?' And He said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace.'"
In this account of what happened at that dinner party, Jesus says of the sinful woman, "...she loved much...". Her response to the presence of God was faith and humility. With tears, kisses and a costly jar of perfume she loved Him.
1). She loved with her tears of contrition and faith.
2). Her kisses were pleas for mercy; The recognition of His Lordship;
"Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."
3). The perfume she poured out upon His feet was the surrender of her life and the profit she would forsake in doing so; Her obedience would come at a great cost to her, but she considered Him more worthy than any earthly gain she might have had in living in disobedience to Him.
1 John 4:10
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
"Loving God" and "Loving being loved by God" are inseparable.
Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to "Love The Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength." With tears, kisses and a costly jar of perfume she loved much. Each represented her yielded heart. I too have many tears. And though my love may be poured out a bit differently, I hope to love as deeply and passionately and with as much abandon as she did.