Maybe you don’t have a big brother in your family like me….yet I do have a Big Heavenly Brother, Jesus, and He has done a lot for all of us.
You may have been taught many times regarding the woman with the alabaster box, in Luke 7. How she had poured out everything she had on Jesus; and while that is a beautiful teaching, as I read this story with fresh eyes the Lord woke something up in me that I want to share with you. Let’s dig into this historical account about this nameless woman, called a sinner, whom had an interaction with Jesus which changed her life forever.
In the beginning of Luke 7, Jesus is invited to Simon’s house, a Pharisee. Right before this invite He is talking about John the Baptist and says this: ““I tell you that among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than Yochanan the Immerser! Yet the one who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he!”” Luke 7:28 (CJB)
What I find extremely interesting is this is exactly who Jesus ministers to…the least. They are the people society deems less than through our human eyes. Jesus did come to help the world see how His Father sees, among many other things He did. As Jesus traveled in those last three years of His life there is an emphasis in what He DOES which shows us just how important each individual is. No one is higher or lower. Everyone is on equal standing no matter wha they have done or not done and yet each of us is still uniquely made. When we look at the historical life story of Jesus, within scripture, He healed the blind, lepers, woman and children. Yet, to the many of the “well taught” men he was trying to heal their thinking. He desired for them to repent, to see things differently and that had to start in the brain of these well taught “leaders” in the community. It is the same within the story in Luke 7. It is interesting that the least, within societies beliefs at that time, saw Jesus for Who He is; while those that would be considered greater had a much more difficult time seeing Who He is.
Let’s look at this account in Luke 7:36-50 (NASB)
“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.””
Three things I took note of in this passage:
As I put all three of the above things together while reading this account, I wept with the beauty and simplicity of Who God is and has been since the beginning. In this story holds the simple yet glorious good news that Jesus had come to bring to all the people in this world He had created and loves so dearly. The woman can be found in each one of us born from Adam; as we are born into sin (Psalm 51:1) and if you don’t believe this to be true you are deceiving yourselves (1 John 1:8). I don’t know about you but I know I have had many sins, even after receiving God’s free gift. Please remember we go from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). I also know that there is no way I could keep all of the Law as Jesus Christ has done for He has “upheld and upholds” the law (Torah) (1 Corinthians 9:21 and Galatians 6:2 CJB). Because of this everyone should be able to relate to this woman, a sinner. So what did this sinner do?? She loved (agapáo)!!! Not just a mushy…oh I love you; but a preference, a personal selection, a free will choice showing good judgement and chose to follow the God given mustard seed of faith and trusted, believed in Who Jesus is. She went and treated Him for Who she saw Him as, the King of kings. The Pharisee, Simon, in this account did not. Simon didn’t believe he needed much forgiveness. He also believed He wasn’t in need of a Savior because he had the law to follow, his own performance that he relied on, and the yearly sacrifice for Israel-the Day of Atonement. He was a Pharisee for goodness sake. Yet, Jesus here told an important truth those that do not feel or think they have many sins love little. Their reliance is more on themselves and their behavior and less on Him and what He desires to do for you. Lastly, the woman did not go and beg Jesus to forgive her. She did not speak all of her sins out and ask for forgiveness. She actually did not utter a word to Him; she simply trusted in Who He is, and chose to believe Who He was in her heart and her actions showed her belief. This faith is what saved her. She boldly approached the throne of Grace, as a SINNER, and she simply from the heart believed in Who Jesus is and Jesus announced her faith (trust and belief) saved her. Out of this faith, in Who Jesus is, came an act of agapáo (“loving”), an affection of choice and selection, a desire to love from and through Him, His strength that made her whole as Jesus said, “Your faith (belief, trust) has saved you, go in peace (wholeness).” Her faith saved her, not her spotless record she tried to maintain but her faith. Your faith saves you not your spotless record or your performance or your trying to act right. Just your faith and out of this faith come these actions of agapáo. This account happened before the Cross, before Jesus took all of the sins of the world upon Himself. He was showing the “ones who were more influential in the world’s eyes” how their system of trying to follow the law could not be done nor would it ever bring the type of relationship that God, the Father, was desiring from the beginning: humans desiring , preferring , choosing and selecting Him out of our own free will. He sent His Son to make the Way for us and all we have to do is agapáo- choose Him, just like the woman who walked in a sinner, broke her alabaster box and chose Jesus, believed in Who He is and walked out forgiven and whole. There was no groveling but an active free will choice to choose Him, to believe in Who He is.
Jesus’ agapáo was
going to the Cross for us,
God’s agapáo was sending His Son
and then placing His wraith for the sin
humanity was due on His Son
and humanity’s agapáo
is to believe in Who He is
Because see He first chose you, us, the world. He agapáo us.
Jesus’ agapáo was going to the Cross for us, God’s agapáo was sending His Son and then placing the wraith for sin humanity was due on His Son and humanity’s agapáo is to believe in Who He is. This is the simplicity of the Good News: fully loved, fully chosen, fully selected, fully forgiven, fully righteous, fully reborn, fully live forever with God, fully whole. This is how I see myself daily in the facts of all Jesus did for me on the Cross. He does not want a groveling child but a child that is confident in what their Big Brother has done for them, what their Daddy did for them…living from that place of reassurance, embraced by the Holy Spirit our Helper…why not come join me in this safe place.
I had to chew on it for awhile because I had been taught differently and it felt like heresy…..but it is true because God is……well God and I am a frail human. True perspective or the right perspective from the onset leads to the ability to see God for Who He truly is…a loving Father, full of mercy and abounding in grace. I can not be thankful enough. Thank you Abba for Your mercies are new everyday.
I saw a meme, you know one of those pictures with a statement on it, last night on Facebook. I had not heard of the word “meme” until a friend had messaged me asking if I had seen a “meme” with a particular statement on it. You know we say things sometimes without understanding the word and its context (possibly just like me above). I may think I understand the word meem because a friend of mine messaged me using the word meem and later I saw the word used on a picture: “social meme”. So, I figured that was what a meme was. Ahhhh, now I felt hip and it is much easier to say “meme” than “a picture with a statement in it”, lol! Here is the actual definition if you are curious:
So the definition of meme was actually much more than what I had originally thought. Now I am able to use the word as it can be used in the varying ways it can be used.
Another word I feel needs a little cleaning off or better understanding is Grace. I hear people say, “Oh I will give grace to so and so”. For me it sounds as though they are superior and are looking down upon the other person by giving them grace. But can we give them grace? Are we using the correct term? Have we misused a biblical word and twisted it to make it something it really isn’t? Have we added or subtracted from the original meaning? Let me explain….
First, I wanted to understand why I and maybe others could so easily confuse mercy and grace. I found it interesting that part of the “archaic” definition of grace is mercy or pardon. If you want to see the definition of grace click here: Merriam Webster dictionary. Archaically in the English language mercy was a part of grace. This combination though is only one way. When you look up mercy you do not find an archaic meaning of grace. Yet, in Greek and Hebrew there are definitely two different words conveying a specific meaning for each. I believe many times when people say we need to give grace to someone they are really meaning mercy. Here is the definition of mercy from Merriam-Webster:
1 a : compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power; also : lenient or compassionate treatment <begged for mercy> b : imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder
2 a : a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion b : a fortunate circumstance <it was a mercy they found her before she froze>
3 : compassionate treatment of those in distress <works of mercy among the poor>
— mercy adjective — at the mercy of: wholly in the power of : with no way to protect oneself against.
Mercy is the Hebrew word chamai which means to spare.
Second, I wanted to know what is GRACE?! If you clicked on the link above you can see in entirety the definition of grace. Short version: it is about saying a prayer before a meal, behavior, polite, good manners, or the ability to move beautifully. We also have the archaic definition I mentioned above. Here is the Divine definition:
Okay, I am in no way capable of this kind of grace giving. I am not Divine. God is. Note the words: regeneration, sanctification, and virtue coming from God. Let’s look at some of my notes I have from bible hub.com regarding the word Grace in Greek and Hebrew:
Grace= xaris (Greek)= ‘extension towards’, ‘free gift’ undeserved favor. The core idea is God’s extension towards man, a favor or freely extending Himself to give Himself away to people. The idea is His favor/Grace is extending towards people because He is inclining/reaching because He is disposed to bless them. This Greek word is closest to the Hebrew word kana=favor, grace, elegance, charming, pleases. Xarisma is where we get the word charisma. Xarisma means “Grace-gift”, the ability to carry out or Divine empowerment (hence the -ma suffix) to carry out God’s plans here on earth. The plural form xaristmata literally means ‘Grace endowments‘.
Please note I bolded disposed and endowments. These words stood out to me and I want to look closer at them. Disposed means “to give a tendency to”. Endowments are “free and natural provision”. The scripture the Lord has had me remembering is this one:
Grace (xaris)is multifaceted. It is bigger than what we have defined it as. It is the root of xarisma and xarismata. Meaning it contains so much more. We try to box Grace like we have tried to box God and since God is not boxable neither is the term Grace in the New Covenant. Grace is the New Covenant; Grace is what Jesus did at the Cross for us in the complete exchange; Grace is what we walk in right now in this moment knowing that the sacrifice Jesus made at the Cross was completed; Grace is the understanding that I am a new creation; Grace is free-I can’t do anything to earn it I just receive it; Grace is freedom; Grace is Jesus in me; Grace is me in Jesus; Grace is who I am now in Christ; Grace is all of His benefits; Grace is so difficult to define and fully understand that it has taken an entire New Testament to write about. We can narrow it down to just the gifts of the Spirit or just to Christ wiping away sin.
Yet, it is multicolored, multifaceted and we need to bring it out of the box and live in it.
Because of God’s Grace we are able to give favor, mercy, compassion, forgiveness which are wrapped up in the term Grace. The ability for us to do those things listed above comes because of God’s Grace. Grace, the root word, comes from our Father in heaven through His Son Jesus which then births all the rest of the facets through and in us. Here is what the Lord brought to my attention that I didn’t know before that might illustrate this for you as it did for me:
The term “Eucharist” means: gratitude, from eucharistos grateful, from eu- + charizesthai to show favor, from charis favor, grace, gratitude; akin to Greek chairein to rejoice.
If you notice the word Grace is in the middle of the word Eucharist. Eucharist is another term for the Lord’s Supper when Jesus told His disciples that His body is the bread and His blood is the wine of the New Covenant (Matthew 26:26-29). We eat the bread and drink the juice/wine which represents His body and blood. We consume Him in remembrance of Him (1 Cor 11:25). He is Divine Grace in its fullness. His promises internally becoming one with us. What we do physically represents what He has done spiritually. We are to stand in the rememberance of ALL that He has done for us and in us. It is as real as the bread and juice we take in. It is the binding contract of Grace and salvation eternal that He performed all by Himself for us. Here is what biblehub.com states: this new covenant binds men to exercise Faith in Christ, and God promises them Grace and salvation eternal. This covenant Christ set up was ratified by undergoing death.
Grace is the New Covenant. Jesus brought Grace through His death and He brought eternal life through His resurrection=The New Covenant. Grace is what we believers walk in daily. We fully have received all of Christ and He fully took ALL of our sin at the Cross. It was a full exchange, period only done by faith. So we can walk in full assurance of who we are in Him. Again it is nothing we did to receive this beautiful multifaceted gift that abounds towards us, works in us and works through is in so many positive ways. But only because of Christ and all we do is believe, have faith in who He is, the Son of God, my Savior. Grab hold of all He did, trust Him, walk in all He did and as we simply keep moving forward in our relationship in Christ we naturally grow more like Christ as we understand more and more of Who He truly is. (Romans 5:1-11 read below)
When someone says they are giving grace to someone I believe it is really more mercy they are giving because it encompasses: compassion, forebearance, treatment of those in distress, need, in a bad spot, struggling etc; or maybe what they are trying to say is that they are forgiving freely (Greek-charizomai=Forgive freely-related to xaris). Either way mercy or forgiveness both come out of the root word Grace (xaris), which always points back to the Grace Jesus brought.