By Russ Wilkins
Dir. of Missions, Shiloh Baptist Assoc., Adamsville
Focal Passage: Luke 7:40-50
Several years ago, I was early in my time as a youth pastor and there was a boy in the children’s department that was a “ring tailed tooter.”
Right before I got on staff, he had thrown an unopened coke can in the bonfire. Of course, it exploded, and as a result, a couple of people had minor injuries.
There were always stories about what he and his friends did and just about every one of their Sunday School teachers resigned from teaching. For two years, I heard, “I feel sorry for you when he gets into youth.”
Long story short, by his freshman year, I had him teach occasionally on Wednesday nights. He taught seventh grade boys his freshman and sophomore year in college and he became my first summer intern.
Today, 28 years after I first met him, he is one of my best friends and one of the best leaders I know still serving in full-time ministry. I wish I could say that I was wise enough to see it in him from the beginning or that I saw how the Lord was going to use him one day. I wish I did, but I didn’t. I know the Who that did! Jesus saw what others could not.
In today’s passage in Luke 7, there were two people that were Jesus’ focus. One was very knowledgeable of the Jewish scriptures, highly respected in the community, and the host of the get together with Jesus.
The other had a very questionable reputation, she was a sinner, an immoral woman, and most likely, a prostitute. (Okay, a little tougher situation than an unruly fifth grader, but I think you will still get the picture.) What if you were in that situation?
Remember, you aren’t the Son of God. Would you feel flattered that the woman treated you with such love and respect? Would you be embarrassed that this “type” of woman was making such a fuss over you? Would you apologize to Simon for what was happening in his home?
Go ahead, put into today’s terms and imagine you are invited to share at a church in one of our cities and a homeless person comes in hugging you, kissing your cheek and thanking you for coming and they give you one of their most valuable possessions.
Can you picture it? What are you thinking and feeling at that moment? Probably not what Jesus was thinking, right?
Jesus saw and loved both His host and the woman with a questionable reputation. But He also saw the heart of them both. Simon had questionable motives, but the woman realized who Jesus was and that she loved Him.
The host knew he was a pretty good guy and thought he was in good relations with God. The woman, on the other hand, knew she had much to be forgiven.
She completely humbled herself and showed her love for Jesus. His response? He forgave her sins, acknowledged her faith, told her that she was saved, and said to “go in peace.” I would love to know the rest of the story! Even though we do not know it, I feel confident that her life ultimately reflected Jesus more than Simon, the Pharisee’s life did.
Who is your unruly fifth grade boy that God has put in your life? Who is your repentant immoral woman that God has called you to invest in? Who is your one to love? “For God so loved … He gave” His best.