The scorn of the Pharisees toward Jesus was pretty easy to see. They were effectively declaring that Jesus could not be an actual true prophet, because he dared to accept the anointing by the woman. “If he only knew what she was like,” they said.
Jesus did and loved her anyway. He didn’t love her any less or any more because of her “unclean” state or status. He loved her because she was a person made in the image of God.
A more recent way of that exact same thinking is, “when you get yourself cleaned up, come to church, and get to know Jesus.” Or (even sadder), “I’ll come to church when my act is cleaned up.” That was not Jesus’ attitude. THANKS, BE TO GOD!
The woman came to Jesus. Jesus declared her sins pardoned. She never sinned after that. Oh, wait…
For the vast majority of people, “getting clean” is a lifelong process. For a drug addict, “getting clean” from the drug is only step one. They then need to “get clean” from friend circles, ways of thinking, and sometimes the physical place they are at. It is not an easy road.
Oddly enough, Jesus seems to forgive sins pretty easily. It’s not that the sins are minor. They are acts that separate us from God. The problem isn’t God, it’s us.
We want to keep doing what we did because it is comfortable. Even those who seek and desire change (and are even change-agents) like comfortable.
Paul calls on the Philippians not just to declare Jesus as Lord. Paul calls on the Philippians to be changed. Just like us, they needed to change their habits. They need to change thought processes. None of these things change salvation. They change us.
“…by holding firm to the word of life.” There is a play on words here, for the word is the message (salvation through Jesus), the word is the Scriptures, and Jesus is the word.
The easy answer is to hold onto Jesus for dear life. The life answer is that holding onto Jesus allows us to trust him so that we are free in our hearts and minds to remove all in our life that separates us from wholeness in him.
1) When was the last time you were like the Pharisees? Why is that the issue that causes this response?
2) When was the last time you were like the woman? With what did you anoint Jesus’ feet (this can be a symbol)?
3) How and with whom are you working through your salvation? How can you deepen that?
Jesus, as you have brought us into the light, help us to release our darkness so that we can draw others to you. Amen.