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just do something

Jesus was once the guest at a dinner party hosted by Simon, a religious leader. Several of Simon’s friends were present, there to take the measure of this miracle-working rabbi. As was common in the 1stCentury diners did not sit on chairs but reclined on couches.

While Jesus dined, and was plied with questions, an uninvited woman snuck into the house. Under normal conditions such a woman would have been kept out. But so many people clamored for a look at the miracle worker—so many wanted to catch a few of His words—that this dinner resembled a public square more than a home.
Carrying a jar of perfume this woman mingled among the servants before stealthily maneuvering through the guests, until she positioned herself at the end of the couch where Jesus’ feet rested. Proximity to Jesus so moved her that she began to quietly weep. On and on she wept, now kneeling over His feet, weeping until her tears bathed Jesus’ feet. Now oblivious to the hubbub of the room, she let down her hair to dry Jesus’ feet. Then she perfumed and kissed them.

Her presence became awkwardly obvious. Simon, the host thought, “This Jesus must not be a prophet. A prophet would know what kind of a woman is fawning over him, and would not permit her touch.”

Just then Jesus addressed the host. “Simon, a question: Two men were in debt to the local pay-day lender. One owed 500 silver pieces. The other owed fifty. Neither could re-pay, so the money-lender canceled both debts. Which of them would be more grateful?”

Simon speculated, “The one who was forgiven the most.”

“Agreed!” Jesus responded. “You’re quite correct.” Then while watching the woman kissing His feet, Jesus continued. “Now, let us consider this woman.

“When I came into your home, you did not provide the washing of feet a host customarily affords a guest. But she has washed my feet with tears—even drying them with her hair. When I entered you failed to give me the customary greeting. But she greeted me by kissing my feet. When I arrived you offered no opportunity to freshen up. But she has soothed my feet with perfume.

“Why such a contrast? Because she has been forgiven many,
many sins, and is very grateful. Simon, it is just as you said; when forgiveness is minimal, gratitude is minimal.”

Finally Jesus spoke to the woman, “I forgive your sins. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

What that woman did was wrong on so many levels. She trespassed. She invaded Jesus’ personal space. She let down her hair in public, often a signal that a woman was available—for a price. She perfumed a man, then kissed His feet as if He was a king.

And yet, Jesus blessed her with peace. He used her inappropriate actions as a teachable moment. What she did arose from deep gratitude and relief. She acted in ways that were culturally inappropriate, but because she acted out of authentic love Jesus valued what she did.

21stCentury western Christ-followers are petrified of doing the wrong thing, afraid of invading another person’s cocoon, afraid of exposing ourselves to ridicule, afraid of failing. That sinful woman challenges us:

Just do something—out of love.

Your action may be culturally inappropriate, might bring derision, may even insult the self-righteous. But if your action arises out of authentic
agape love, Jesus can use of it. And when you act out of godly love you will gain out-of-this-world peace ~

Dan Nygaard