v 50 ‘Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace”‘.
Luke 7 presents these one on one accounts between Jesus and others, they are intimate encounters which result in healing and forgiveness. Beginning with the faith of the Centurion, which is not face to face but an intimate demonstration of faith. We also see the depth of Jesus’ emotional connection with the raising of the widow’s son. Finally, Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman. An outcast who was saved by her beautiful act of faith. Mixed in with these encounters is the conversation between Jesus and John’s disciples. I repeat what I wrote in my last blog. Hope was rising and God was using the most unlikely heroes to do it. For there is power in a willing and obedient heart.
The first aspect that struck me in the account of the faith of the Centurion, was how the Centurion was portrayed to Jesus. The account tell us how the servant of the Centurion who was highly favoured was gravely ill. The Centurion having heard of Jesus, sends some of the elders of the Jews to meet him. What struck me was how the elders spoke to Jesus. v4-5 ‘When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.”‘. Their belief that due to the Centurion’s good work he deserves and is obligated to receive this healing. It reminded me of what our prayer life can be like. We are told to ask, seek and knock. Our asking should be in faith and in trust that God will give us what we need in accordance with his will. Truthfully, many of us believe we are entitled to good things and healing because of the ‘good’ deeds we have performed. That is totally the wrong mindset. God does not need us to do anything for him because he is God. The deeds we do are in gratitude and trust in God who has already given us so much.
Their request is met by Jesus going with them, only for them to be halted not far from the Centurion’s house . v6-7 ‘He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord , don’t trouble yourself. for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word and my servant will be healed.”‘. A complete contrast to how he was being perceived by others. The Centurion was aware that nothing he had achieved would be able to save his servant’s life. That power and authority came through Jesus. The faith that it was a word from Jesus that was needed not his physical presence, for the centurion understood power and authority when he saw it for that was the life that he knew. Through the centurion’s faith, Jesus is amazed and proclaims to the crowd. v9 ‘When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him and turning to the crowd following him, he said. “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”‘. A humble pursuit of healing, putting trust and faith in Jesus even without needing his physical presence. Putting faith in who Jesus is rather than demanding him to be who you want him to be.
The second account is the raising of the widow’s son. Another incredible miracle that takes place, The aspect I want us to focus on is the emotional response to this situation. v 12 ‘As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out- the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.’ This verse helps to give context to the account, how much the woman had lost and the social status she had now received. v 13 ‘When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said “Don’t cry”.’ It is a reminder for us all. Jesus is very aware our human emotions, he felt them too. He wept when Lazarus died and was enraged when the temple was being misused. Jesus loved, cared and lifted people up. Jesus does not disregard our emotions, he knows our heart and sees the brokenness of the situation we are in. In the case of the widow he turned a hopeless situation into one of hope and renewed purpose. Which bought hope not just to the widow and the son but also to the people who witnessed the miracle. v16 ‘They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great Prophet has appeared among us”, they said, “God has come to help his people.”‘.
Jesus can and will work in incredible ways in our lives. This account shows no demonstration of the widow’s faith. However, as the light of the world Jesus enters into this bleak and dark situation and brings life and healing. There will be and have been times in our lives, were Jesus has pulled us through without us even realising. Where Jesus has shown up when our minds and hearts have been over-whelmed. It reminds me of the words written in ‘The footprints in the sand’, ‘He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you. Never, ever, during your trails and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints. It was then I carried you”‘. Let us not give up our hope too easily, for we have a Saviour that never leaves us or forsakes us. Jesus will meet us in our happiest and our darkest circumstances. Regardless of how the situation may end; we have a Saviour who holds us through it all and knows what exactly we are going through.
The final aspect to look at (there has been a lot this week) is the widow who anoints Jesus. v 37 ‘A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisees house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.’.This account is incredibly beautiful and intimate, she would have had to rise up above the social stigma to end up at the feet of Jesus. She is incredibly humbled before Jesus as she does not even face him. She gives her entire self to this action. v38 ‘As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.’
Many of us, myself included, can learn a valuable lesson from this sinful woman. For she knew her shame and came to the Lord and sacrificed all she was to serve him. I think the fault of many of us is we attempt to be on the same level as Jesus. Which is never what was intended. The Pharisee show this best v39 ‘When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is- that she is a sinner.”‘ Jesus promptly puts him in his place, for he is no better. For he regarded himself too highly that he even forgot the custom of serving a guest. It is a fault that we are all capable of. That we all become too complacent, that we forget to come humbly before the Lord as we have become too familiar with our belief of who he is. May we never forget that we are no better than the sinful woman. We have such a vast amount of love and grace poured onto us, that we should never think we are on level with Jesus. v47 ‘Therefore, I tell you, her many sins are forgiven- as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little’.
There is much more that can be uncovered in Luke 7, I have only highlighted a few aspects. I pray that it has been an encouragement and you will explore the text for yourself.
This wraps up the June blogs,we will continue to explore the gospel of Luke throughout July.
May you have a blessed week. Remember you are loved and cherished. Love Victoria. xx