A song is playing: “Be still” (and know that I am God) – a song – a thought put into words by the song writer – such familiar words – but my desire is not only to know that “I am God” (ie about God) – but to know that God intimately, personally. My first thought is Romans 10:6 ff “who will ascend into heaven? (that is to bring God down) – what does it say? The Word is near you, it is in your mouth and in your heart”. While to know that Yahweh is God – I am overwhelmed with the vastness of His creation and power – Pictures of Suns crashing into each other and exploding 10 000 times the power of our sun, Tsunami’s, earthquakes, cyclones, massive thunderstorms tearing through the heavenly realms blasting off lightning like the sparks from a blacksmith’s forge, and waves towering into the air crashing onto the rocks that makes them quiver and so on go through my mind.
But I don’t have to fetch Him down from His throne – He is already near me, in Jesus. I can know God in Jesus without fetching Him – I can know Him as “the Word” that is as near as my mouth and my heart.
“Get to know Jesus better – let that reflect in your walk with Me – joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, purity, honesty, all put together in the package called love -walk in the Spirit and let My nearness provoke that sort of character in you”.
My reading is in Luke 7:41-50. But I need to see this passage as part of the whole message of Chapter 7. We said that salvation is one theme in ch 7. So the first two stories (the centurion and the widow)showed two sides of salvation: faith and the fact that it is a free gift (see my previous blog). The next story is about John and who he is, however it is really contributing to the third aspect of salvation which is mentioned in this chapter. I wonder if you can see it.
John came with a message which is billed as “preparing the way for Messiah”. How was he doing this? He was preaching about sin and the need for repentance and then ministering a baptism which symbolized that repentance. The Pharisees, however rejected that message as not applicable to them, their sin was minimal and dealt with through the law and sacrifices. One can deduce that the way to Jesus was NOT prepared in their hearts. So the last part of the chapter from vs 36 Luke shows a story and a parable which highlights what?
It highlights the seriousness of sin and the only way of having it dealt with, by forgiveness through Jesus. The Pharisees scorned the street woman who recognized her sinfulness and really appreciated Jesus’ forgiveness which opened a flood-gate of love for Him. The religious leaders did not even show common courtesy to Jesus, the King of the universe, because they had no appreciation for the fact that they too were sinners who desperately needed Him.
So this is the third aspect of salvation. First, receiving salvation by faith as a free gift and now the reality of what that gift entails, complete forgiveness of our sins, freely, we cannot earn it. That is the golden treasure of salvation. That opens vast vistas which are too much to talk about here. And notice in vs 50 what Jesus says, just to reinforce the importance of it – your faith has saved you. You must believe and trust Jesus for this forgiveness. Salvation, beginning and ending with faith in the very One who the whole chapter is about.
The other theme in this section is summarized in 7:49 “who is this who even forgives sins?”
John came preparing the way by making people conscious of their sinfulness, but only Messiah, God Himself can actually forgive sins. (Of course we understand that ultimately forgiveness would only be accomplished through the cross.) Fall in love again with this vastly exciting, mystical man-God.
There was plenty for me to meditate on, but here is where I felt Jesus was speaking to me. The very reason the world is in the mess it is in, can be summarized in the phrase: because of sin. That is what, after all, has caused God to place a curse on the world and that resulted in Him having to send His own Son to deal with the effects of that. Sin is extremely serious and the first step to recognizing our need for salvation is that we need to recognize why we need it – because of sin. However what I found Jesus saying to me was that the answer to dealing with sin and our separation from God because of it, is not to dwell on the sin as such. Yes we very definitely need to recognize it, but the way to deal with it is by fixing our eyes on Jesus and as through His Spirit He brings conviction of sin we are drawn to cast ourselves upon His compassion, demonstrated by His forgiveness, through confession and repentance. And we have a complete assurance that the sin is forgiven. The more mature in Christ I become The more I am aware that every thought and action I take is tainted and can only be purified the closer I am to Jesus.
Ultimately, like the street woman, the more we can appreciate how much we have been and are now being forgiven for, the more we will love the one who forgives. Isn’t that what you want? Its what I want. Is the lukewarmness of many in the church not due to the same attitude of the Pharisees?