Fundamentalist described my father. Mom I was never sure about. Occasionally, I would pick up vibes that said she disagreed with some of Dad’s philosophy.
I knew Dad believed faith was the way to God, but the constant emphasis on rules seemed to interfere with what he was attempting to teach me about God. What seeped through was the “thou shalt’s” and the “thou shalt not’s.” When I finally began truly meditating on God’s Word rather than just reading it, I discovered there was more to my relationship with God than obeying a list.
I doubt the sinful woman who approached Jesus was a church goer. She was considered a “sinner” and probably wouldn’t have been welcome. She wasn’t at this party either, but for some reason Simon the host didn’t throw her out. Perhaps her actions toward Jesus astonished the guests and him so much that they couldn’t speak. Maybe they let her carry out her actions so they could get more proof that Jesus wasn’t truly the Messiah. Either way, she stayed and cried on Jesus’ feet, wiped them with her hair, and anointed them with perfume.
Jesus rewarded her actions with praise. He didn’t give her a list of things to do when she left if she wanted to be His disciple. He merely recognized her faith and told her to go in peace. She had discovered what the religious leaders thought they had—but hadn’t. Their service to God was like mine when I was young—obeying a list of commands. Jesus went deeper with the woman.
The philosophy of the religious elite of Jesus’ day was plain. One connected to God through numerous rituals and by obedience to hundreds of commands. The result was failure and a lack of peace. By allowing the sinful woman to perform her ritual, Jesus tried to demonstrate their error. His philosophy has to do with repentance and faith. Her actions portrayed her faith, and her faith—not rote obedience to a bunch of rules, saved her. She received what the religious snobs tried so hard but failed to obtain—a
What philosophy of religion are you following? If it doesn’t include repentance and faith, it will fail you.
Prayer: Father, remind us that the way to You is through faith and repentance.
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