Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Sloppy Wet Kisses: The Jesus Love-In
Luke 7:37-50 tells the story of a day in the life of Jesus that demands our full attention. It's about a woman with a terrible reputation expressing wild affection for Him, up to and including, sloppy wet kisses.
As with all Biblical narratives, there are ancient cultural norms throughout this gospel treasure. I would invite every reader of this blog to Google search the hosting expectations of that time and place. But for the purpose of my moments here, I need to express what I see as the deep human energies happening and the intense emotions painted by Dr. Luke's word picture. It is nothing short of jaw dropping by any cultural norms but especially....21st Century Church standards and sensibilities.
The Passion Translation says bluntly, "...there was an immoral woman of the streets, known to be a prostitute...", and the story unfolds from there. She crashes the dinner party of a respected leader of the Jewish tradition in order to give an incredible gift of love to Jesus. We have no proof of any previous significant conversations she may have had with Jesus. We do not explicitly know to what extent Jesus may have personally spoken to her previous to this dinner party.
Whatever else the case may be, this much we know; she is overcome with love and emotion at the mere possibility of Jesus' forgiveness toward her ragged and raw reality. Old Testament law and human traditional additions to it coldly required the death penalty for her lifestyle. The rigid fundamentalist of that era would have been repulsed by any religious tolerance for her behavior. She was spiritually dead to the conservative members of the organized faith surrounding her life and in the home she had just invaded.
This is nothing short of a sign and wonder of the magnificent transcendent energy radiating from the personage of Jesus. She knows somewhere in the caverns of her emotional bankruptcy that HE will love her so completely and so perfectly that she will live the rest of her life with a freedom she's never known. For her, this is not about her sinful life. For her, this about discovering what her potential life was always supposed to be. This Love was so completely perfect, so soul satisfying, so emotionally charged, so psychologically healing, that she instinctively knows, LIFE has arrived within her desparate reach.
This is the baseline of how we 21st Century people of faith in Christ are to be loved and, to LOVE our entire world. If it seems impossible, then we are on notice that we are potentially bankrupt of the most genuine nature that should be defined as "Christian". The sin and diversity of the 21st Century is no surprise to our Eternal Father. Whatever we deem as aberrant, deviant, disgusting, and vulgar is not outside of the Love of God. If we are determined to redefine His Love as constrictive or restrictive to any human brokenness, it is simply and sadly the definition of our own lack of a deep encounter with the God of all transformitve Love (I John 4:7-21).
The words of Jesus to Simon (the host of this party) underscore what I've just stated. Wildly generous forgiveness, internally and externally, determines our genuine encounter with this existential, monumental LOVE. Knowing this, experiencing this, and giving this Love freely to all is our challenge and privilege. It is also the full measure of what it means to be truth-fully Christian.
Tune in to my Podcast on this subject ~