Who Loves Most? ( or least?)

There is a vignette in the Gospel which illustrates a very critical point about Loving God. It answers the question why some come to love God and others do not seem to have capacity to love him.

And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. ( Luke 7:36-38)

Love for Jesus drove that woman to interrupt a supper, held by the Pharisees for Jesus. The religious elite were there, and the woman was definitely not invited. She was, in the first place a woman, and in the second place she had been a disreputable woman, held in contempt by these “Holy Ones” whose life goal was to personally fulfill all of the 618 commandments of God, and to observe a strict separation from all defiling people and things.

She would have felt the barrier of contempt and even hatred from Jesus’ hosts. In their eyes her very presence was defiling . In those days, and in that part of the world, nothing was private. The entire village would have been standing at the door and windows, witnessing the feast. This woman wouldn’t let anything keep her from Jesus.

The woman didn’t burst into the feast to spite them, nothing of the sort crossed her mind at that point. She was just so grateful to have received the forgiveness and reconciling touch of Jesus.

Jesus had come, in the name of God, into her hard, dead world of sin and shame, and had driven out the demons which had been plaguing and tormenting her, and which had driven her into a degrading living death of sin. She was dead to all that was wholesome and Holy, driven out of the congregation of the just, and away from all of the decent, she lived like a leper, until Jesus’ light shone into her life.

Those who had invited Jesus were scandalized. The woman’s actions seemed indecent; she let down her hair, she wept and fell at Jesus feet, her tears washed over the tired feet of Jesus. The woman then produced an expensive alabaster box of ointment and poured it on the feet of Jesus! This was too much!

Perhaps more scandalously, Jesus allowed this, he didn’t say or do anything to stop this woman.

When Jesus did speak, he addressed the host, Simon, the Pharisee,

Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? ( Luke 7:39-42)

Who will love the most? Who knows what it is to worship with trembling and rejoicing? Who will never be mindful of the crowd, the hostile and even indifferent crowd? Who will go to the floor in love and adoration?

The one who owed the most and knew it. The one conscious of the enormity of his debt to God, and who sees that the forgiveness was costly… to God. Love for God will always be according to consciousness of sin, and of forgiveness and grace.

Simon had no such consciousness. He would have considered himself a sinner, no doubt, but not an eternally indebted sinner, unable to so much as pay the interest on his debt. Simon would consider himself to be the fifty dollar sinner, not perfect, of course, but nothing at all in comparison to this “fallen woman”.

Simon didn’t love Jesus all that much. At that point he couldn’t love Jesus. This is because He had no idea how profoundly guilty he was before God, nor did he believe that Jesus would soon come, and take his place in judgment, as a substitute for his sins and the sins of the whole world.

And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ( Luke 7:45-48)

The woman isn’t forgiven because she loved Jesus, rather the woman loved Jesus because she knew Him to be the one who forgave her sin, and that by Him and him alone her slate could be cleansed, and she could be reconciled to the God whom she once spurned.

She well knew the enormity of her own sin and guilt, she felt it’s pangs and weight everyday, until the day Jesus came along and released her. Thus she Loved Jesus greatly.

But Simon, like so many in this evil generation, was deceived about his sin and his religion. God was speaking to Him, through this spectacle, and in fact Jesus commands that wherever the gospel is preached, this story should be repeated.

What was God saying? something like this, “Simon, look at this woman and her love for me! You are every bit the sinner she was, you can know the joy and release, and holy renewal of all of your affections, that she now knows! Come to me (Jesus) for full pardon and forgiveness and enter into fellowship with the likes of her.”

She anointed Him with expensive oil. And in doing so, Jesus isn’t raise one objection, He allowed her to pour the oil upon his feet. In doing so she was fulfilling prophecy, for Isaiah predicted that though Jesus , the Messiah would be poor, He would be “with the rich in His death(s) (Literally) Isaiah 53.

If the LORD has mercy on your soul, He will reveal to you the immensity of the sin and guilt you are under, and you will then turn to Him for complete forgiveness ad cleansing. Then you will love Jesus with all of your heart.

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2 Responses to Who Loves Most? ( or least?)

  1. Maria Tufts says:

    Well then. How is it I never hear nor have ever heard the mary magdalene testimony accompany the good news… N I’ve been round n round this CHURCHY circuit… I once desired t create a music business named after this woman but this petition has never been answered… N do you dear brother n Christ often make reference to this woman thru your personal Appearances? O how wish my Father had a plan for me a husband n a ministry in that I and he might hear these Precious words from our Savior Redeemer Kinsman… WELL DONE THOU GOOD N FAITHFUL SERVANT ENTER THOU INTO THY REST. àmein

    • billrandles says:

      Dear sister, thanks for asking. I love to tell the story of the anointing of Jesus, everywhere I go. as for your desires, I wish the same for you dear sister, keep serving our Savior, your life is the ointment tat you can pour out upon him, with or without a husband, it won’t be long till we receive our commendation from Jesus, keep looking up…

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