Wednesday is for Prayer
Brief recap: A Pharisee is having dinner with Jesus and becomes upset when a woman “from the street, a sinner” begins to weep, dripping tears on Jesus’s feet, bends to wipe his feet with her hair, and then anoints his feet with expensive perfume.
The Pharisee whose home Jesus was visiting grumbles over Jesus’ apparent lack of understanding. In his mind, this woman, this sinner, this woman from the street, and this contact with her, means Jesus is not a prophet because he should know better. For the Pharisee, she is unworthy of attention and beyond redemption.
But not for Jesus.
He constructs a simple story, just 26 words in English, and ends it with a single question:
40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”
41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
Luke 7:40-43 (ESV)
Luke 7:36-50 points the way. Jesus holds up the woman’s response as the appropriate response to His presence and message. He chastises the Pharisee for not doing basic middle-eastern hospitality when Jesus came to dinner.
Jesus wants passion from his followers.
Jesus has more to say. The whole incident concludes 10 verses later with Jesus telling the woman that her faith has saved her. The whole story is overwhelmingly powerful in its simplicity but also in its pungency.
He wants what the weeping woman gives Him. He wants the deliberate, unconditional, no-holding-back-love of a rescued sinner who delights in extravagant expressions of thanks. He should have gotten the same treatment from the Pharisee, the lover of the Torah, “the elder brother” (cf. Luke 15:25-32) to the “younger sister” (cf. Luke 15:11-24) of this early episode in Jesus ministry.
Jesus wants my passion for Him. He wants your passion for Him. He wants a no-holds-barred, no looking back, unrelenting pursuit of Him. And when we pursue Him, and are satisfied in Him, He is glorified. Our happiness, our joy succeeds when He is most valued.
So how do we develop that passion? Each of these could be separate BLOG posts (and maybe will, over the next year). But for now, here’s a baker’s dozen of ways that we might pursue a greater passion for Christ in our lives.
Hang Around Passionate People.
Ask God to Make You Passionate About What He is Passionate About.
Study and Meditate on the Word of God.
Concentrate on the Glories of Heaven.
Develop a Tastes for Godliness.
Grieve over sin. (Be revolted by your own sin more than the sins of others.)
Remember the Acts of God.
Recognize the Word of God as the Source of Life.
Choose Against Self-interest.
Don’t Run from Affliction in Your Stand for Christ.
Remember the Body of Christ.