Part 2 - O Come Let Us Adore Him Advent Series

 
 

I’ve learned along the way that there are certain prayers God wastes NO TIME answering. My prayer at the car wash was the true and authentic prayer of a girl with a broken and contrite heart. 

I was bored and broken. 
Underwhelmed because I couldn’t see Him. Overwhelmed by life and the distractions that kept me from being overwhelmed by Him.

My prayer was a simple plea to God confessing that I wanted to change. No more going through the motions. 

As a step of obedience, in faith, I committed myself to search for God. I wanted to see Him radically at work here in my heart and my city like He was in Scripture. I wanted to know more about Him and what He loves to do and loves to see and loves to be part of. 

I resolved to search for joy. 
For miracles. 
For something to shatter my discontent at this ordinary, mundane life.

***

One of the Scriptures that opened my eyes was the story of the alabaster jar.  I wrote out my responses in my journal as I studied this story with anticipation in my heart. I wanted so much to be the sinner girl who just pours herself on Jesus because she adores Him. But I realized I was a lot more like one of the men I never thought I’d relate to...

Luke 7:36

A woman of the city who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house.

So Jesus was reclining? Interesting. I never think of Him reclining. How could He be so relaxed in the Pharisee’s house? Religious hypocrites are swarming the place. I guess it’s the same way He sleeps during the storm. Jesus knows how to relax. I need to take notes on that. 

She {sinner girl} brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil and stood behind Him at His feet.

Ok, so Jesus was reclined. I’m trying to picture this. He would have had to have one arm leaning on the low table in front of him with his legs bent behind him. So relaxed. So reclined. In the presence of the Pharisees. 

A posture of humility. He had nothing to prove. 

Weeping.

The sinner girl was weeping at the opportunity to be in His presence. The reclined King of Kings. At a table in the Pharisee's house. She didn’t hesitate to enter. She was drawn in… into the middle of religious zealots who were probably rolling their eyes… with no fear… because she was confident in His love.

This girl is not underwhelmed.

Noted. 

I want to be like her...

And began to wash His feet with her tears. 

That’s a lot of tears. Of overwhelming gratitude.

Jesus didn’t have clean feet. Yes, He was without sin, but He had dirty feet. And she was so delighted to be at His feet. So overwhelmed by His presence that she used her hair to wash His dirty feet. 

Her real hair. 

This isn’t a story from a children’s book designed to make me feel good. It’s real. Sinner girl really did this. She really washed Jesus’s feet with her tears and hair. 

Blows my mind. I think that’s what the overwhelmed life looks like. But how? How in 2016 with 3 kids and a husband and a job and a “mundane,” fast-paced, draining life?

She wiped His feet with the hair of her head, kissing them and anointing them with the fragrant oil.

I don’t like feet. I liked my boy's feet until they were about 2. Then I was done with their feet. They started stinking and weren’t as cute. I don’t really even like my own feet. 

I definitely don’t want anyone kissing them. 

They didn’t have pedicures back then. They had dirt and sandals. 

I don’t think sinner girl cared about all that.

When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching Him - she’s a sinner!”

Really, Simon? You’re a sinner too, bud. Just because Jesus is chillin at your table doesn’t mean you get to act like this...

Jesus replied to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’

Get him Jesus.

"Teacher," he said, "say it.” 

Oh my GOSH Simon you are ASKING FOR IT.

"A creditor had two debtors. One owed 500 denarii and the other 50.  Since they could not pay it back, he graciously forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more? 

This is not a trick question, Simon… 

Simon answered, “I suppose the one he forgave more.” 

You suppose? Seriously, Simon. It’s obvious. The one who owed 500 will CLEARLY be more grateful. Didn’t you go to VBS Simon??? He will be approximately 100x more grateful. 

I wonder who else is reclined around the table just watching this exchange. I wonder if they felt like I do right now. HELLO Simon. Wake up dude. 

You have judged correctly.” He told him. 

Wow. That was gracious. I would have said, “DON’T YOU GET IT SIMON??? Do I have to draw a picture for you??”

Turning to 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, with her tears, has washed My feet and wiped them with her hair…” 

Oh… my… Simon is underwhelmed by Him. 

Simon didn’t even wash Jesus’ feet when He entered. That was customary. I mean… you just did it. Washing feet wasn’t an option.  Unless you wanted to totally disrespect the visitor. It would be like us hearing the doorbell ring and just choosing to stay in our comfy spot on the couch and yelling, “Come on in!” 

To the Savior of the world. 

Simon was underwhelmed with Jesus himself.  

I am so Simon. 

“You gave me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing My feet since I came in.” 

I am relating way too closely to Simon right here. I wish I could ask him what was distracting him from having Jesus in his home. 

Is your schedule full, Simon? No room for Him to drop by? 
Did He come in while you were trying to get the laundry done? 
Were you embarrassed by the mess on your table? The one that He’s leaning on? 
Did His presence make you feel insecure and you’re over compensating? 
Have you become too comfortable with Him, Simon? 

“You didn’t anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.”

I’m tracking with you now, Simon. You didn’t anoint Him with oil because the oil was already designated for something else, wasn’t it? I’ve done that. 

I pour myself into other things. 

My family. My business. My own dreams and plans. Surely Jesus understands. He’s being pretty gracious here. I know I’m forgiven but all this “oil pouring out on His feet and tears streaming down and hair being used to wipe it up…” what does that look like for ME?  

“Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much.”

She loved much because her sins… her many sins… have been forgiven. So… have Simon’s many sins not been forgiven? I mean… there’s no distinction, right? She cannot possibly have “sinned more” than Simon. 

In Simon’s eyes, she had. 

And Jesus explains this just to illustrate to Simon the difference in perspective. 
The difference in what we feel we are owed. 
The difference in how we view the grace that Jesus gives. 

That is the extravagance of His love. The extravagance of His patience. 

“But the one who is forgiven little loves little.” 

You love little, Simon. 

And I, when I am underwhelmed with Him, love little too. 

Thankfully, He isn’t satisfied with little love. He is jealous for us. 

He wants us to come and adore Him. 

And He extends grace when we are underwhelmed. He uses circumstances and affections and people and places to show us that His love is extravagant.

“Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

I am pretty sure she already knew this. Isn’t this why she came? To worship Him because He forgave the sins of a prostitute? To give what little she had… this flask of oil… and pour it on His dirty feet? To selflessly wipe His feet with her hair and use her tears to clean off the excess grime? Didn’t she know she was forgiven? Oh… maybe she did… but Simon didn’t. Simon thought he deserved to be at the table with Jesus… not her. 

Do I do that?

Those who were at the table with Him began to say among themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” 

I am overwhelmed with the patience of Jesus. 
In this moment with these guys at this table. 
And with me. 

And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” 

I wanted to be the one lavishing my love on Him. Adoring Him with the finest things. Pouring out my heart in tears and my strength in service and loving Him regardless of what anyone around me was thinking or saying or doing. 

But I wasn’t the sinner girl. I wasn’t lavishing my love and gratitude on Him. Or anyone else. I was more of a Simon. I had become a little too comfortable with Jesus. I forgot He was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I had forgotten what He saved me from. And what He created me for.

It’s His grace that revealed this to me as I sought to be overwhelmed. Through this true story straight out of Scripture that I had read many times before, heard preached, and probably learned about in VBS.

I was deeply convicted but also excited. I felt like He was setting me free from some things. The judgmental spirit I had that closely resembled Simon’s attitude toward the sinner girl. And my lack of respect for and acknowledgment of the Savior of the World reclining at my table. Church was a bore and I hummed or even sang Christian songs out loud with no recognition in my soul of what I was even singing because I was way too comfortable. Just like Simon.

My next step was to ask Him what might be keeping me from knowing Him that way… what was keeping me from realizing my need for Him? From appreciating Him? From recognizing Him? From adoring Him?

He showed me pretty quickly.