November 21 Devotional
Come to Stillness: Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.
Opening Prayer: I am sure that there is in me nothing that could attract the love of One as holy and as just as You are. Yet You have declared Your unchanging love for me in Christ Jesus. If nothing in me can win your love, nothing in the universe can prevent You from loving me. Your love is uncaused and undeserved. You are Yourself the reason for the love wherewith I am loved. (Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer)
Scripture Reading for the Day: Luke 7:36-50
Reading for Reflection: She is not named, but everyone seems to know who she is. In fact, she has quite a reputation in town. It would seem that her reputation has even become her identity. That is until she met Jesus. We’re are not told exactly when or how that happened, but somewhere along the line these two had met before, and it had changed everything about her. Now here she is, on this particular evening, entering a house she had no business entering. A woman “like her” just didn’t barge into the house of a Pharisee, especially when he was entertaining. He had invited Jesus to dine with him and a bunch of his Pharisee buddies, so they could all get an up close look at the one everyone was talking about. Whether it was curiosity or hostility that inspired the invitation we are not sure, although we can probably guess. All we are sure of is that he had invited Jesus to his house, and that he and his guests were reclining at the table.
It is into the midst of this “dinner party” that she comes, uninvited and uncaring that she is uninvited. She doesn’t care about protocol. She doesn’t care about political correctness. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks or says. All she cares about is getting to the feet of her beloved Jesus. She only has eyes for him. So she enters the room and doesn’t look back, making a beeline straight for his feet. And when she gets to him she does an amazing thing: she stands behind him at his feet weeping, and begins to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wipes them with her hair, kisses them and pours perfume on them. Did you catch that? She is weeping and she is kissing - sorrow and affection. Two things that seem contrary, but are actually inseparable. It is the gospel brought to life - two things that always must be connected in this life of faith. It cannot be just one or the other, it must always be both.
There is always a weeping that is such a necessary part of the picture. It involves a deep recognition of our utter sinfulness, brokenness, helplessness, and desperation. It is what happens within us when we come face to face with the absolute horror of our sin, which crucified Christ. And this weeping is much more than simply crying; it is an activity that is deeply redemptive. It involves a deep recognition, a deep admission, and a deep healing. These were not normal tears, they came from somewhere way down inside; from that place of godly sorrow that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 7:10. The godly sorrow that leads to repentance. But as necessary as the weeping is, we can’t stop there. There is more.
That’s where the kissing comes in. For not only did she weep, but she kissed. As a matter of fact, the literal translation of the Greek is that she kissed much. She smothered him with kisses. She could not stop kissing him. She just went on and on. That’s why Jesus says, “This woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.” His love for her had completely captured her heart. It had kindled an uncontrollable affection deep within her that simply could not be contained. She could not stop even if she wanted to, so smitten with love for him was she.
This is the part we usually miss as we wallow in our sinfulness. But it is the part that we can’t afford to miss, because it is the beauty of the gospel. We must always be kissing him as well - and kissing him much at that. Which begs the questions: Are we completely captured by his love? Does a deep affection for him well up from the core of our being? Are we showering him with our kisses? Are we falling more and more deeply in love with him each and every day? (Being with Jesus by Jim Branch)
Reflection and Listening: silent and written
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
J. and E. work among unreached people groups in two restricted access countries of Southeast Asia catalyzing Church Planting Movements. Pray today for the new churches started among the Tai Lue in Laos and in China. Pray also for the Bald Headed Lahu in China.
Pioneer Arab World Ministries Media Center clearly presents Jesus Christ to the Arab world audiences. This is done by recording scriptures, Bible stories, sermons, and Arabic Christian music for broadcast by partner agencies for outreach and for the encouragement of Arab world believers. Pray today for those that will hear the gospel through this organization.
Closing Prayer: Continue to have mercy upon me, to stir me from the doldrums of sin, to deliver me from my selfish involvements, to forgive me my sins and failures, to shore up the weak places in my life. Help me to feel something of your loving acceptance and to reflect to others the joy of being your son and servant. Amen. (Psalms/Now by Leslie Brandt)