Thursday, February 7, 2013

The critical difference

I was thinking of the woman who wept at Jesus' feet mentioned two posts ago. And I feel something is wrong.

The system at that time failed her.

She was under a system of law keeping and she became a sinner with no way out. She was despised and she had no hope. But a few minutes with Jesus made her into one very generous worshipper (when is the last time we poured a year's wage at Jesus feet?). 

To me it is very glaring. It is like you try to learn swimming from coach "A" all your life and no matter how hard you try you end up being pronounced a hopeless swimmer. Worse, swimmers all around sneer at you and you end up suffering the worse reputation among them. Under an effort system, trying harder will not help you anymore as you have tried that all your life. But a few minutes with a new coach "J" pronounced you the best qualified swimmer and you do not even need to practice a single stroke. Not only that, you are given honors in the swimming circle. Now coach "A" feels greatly threatened (see reference 1).  

A system that was meant to bless loses it power. God's blessings could not reach out to a desperate woman. How did that happened? What we do see is that

1) Jesus is different. He is not like any religious leaders of His time. Sinners who really need God are attracted to Him and Him alone. Hearing about Jesus is enough to bring them to His feet in great acts of worship to God. What the law could not accomplish in years and years of suffering all came to an end at Jesus' feet. 
2) Jesus is effective. Sinners are freed from their sins with Him at an instant. Not only that, they enter into total physical, emotional, psychological well-being (enter into shalom). Who is more effective than that?

A lot of things I do not know. But what I know (see reference 2) is that He sure is a good savior. When you read the gospels, it is good to ask yourself, what are the religious leaders doing? What is Jesus doing? They are clearly on opposite camps. I want to be with Jesus. Like the woman with sin, I have lots of sin, on the way to eternal damnation, and out of God's own kindness He saved me. Like the sinner woman I was pronounced righteous and clean at an instant without me lifting a finger and I was also given the greatest blessings by Him at the same time (see reference 3). The back end job must have been highly complex. It is the job of Jesus, not mine. He did not discuss with me when He saved me. He laid no conditions on me. He did all the work Himself. It must have cost Him lots, lots to do it. I read that as a Son of God He was openly shamed, beaten, stripped naked, nailed at the cross and He died. That's the back end job that I did not know about when He first freely saved me from the deepest hell and lifted me up with Him to the highest heavens. 

How would I comprehend? How could I have known? How could I not be moved to tears with the greatest gratitude in my innermost being when I think of Him and what He did for me and how generous He has been to me and how courageous He is to bear it all for me? And suddenly I found myself just like the sinner woman. Tearing all over His feet, all over again. 

That sure is a good place to be.


Scripture references:

1) John 11 45Therefore many of the Jews, who came to Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed in him. 46But some of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done. 47The chief priests therefore and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said, "What are we doing? For this man does many signs. 48If we leave him alone like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation." (WEB)

2) John 9 18The Jews therefore did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight, 19and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" 20His parents answered them, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21but how he now sees, we don't know; or who opened his eyes, we don't know. He is of age. Ask him. He will speak for himself." 22His parents said these things because they feared the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if any man would confess him as Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23Therefore his parents said, "He is of age. Ask him." 24So they called the man who was blind a second time, and said to him, "Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner." 25He therefore answered, "I don't know if he is a sinner. One thing I do know: that though I was blind, now I see." 26They said to him again, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" 27He answered them, "I told you already, and you didn't listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You don't also want to become his disciples, do you?" 28They insulted him and said, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know that God has spoken to Moses. But as for this man, we don't know where he comes from." 30The man answered them, "How amazing! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshipper of God, and does his will, he listens to him.32Since the world began it has never been heard of that anyone opened the eyes of someone born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." 34They answered him, "You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us?" They threw him out. (WEB)

3) Ephesians 1 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ4even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love5having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire, 6to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely bestowed favor on us in the Beloved, 7in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (WEB)

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