One evening, a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to come to his house for dinner. Jesus went into the house and sat down to eat. I saw a woman go into the house. She was well known in the community for prostitution and other sins. I wondered what she could be going in there for. Didn’t she know who was there? After what I saw next, I knew she did.
The woman had heard Jesus was going there for dinner. She brought an alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. She was shaking as she knelt behind Jesus. She slowly opened the jar and then began to pour perfume on Jesus’ feet.
Trembling. Shaking. Tears began to fall. This woman wept, her tears falling on his feet. She wiped the tears and perfume with her hair. She could not stop doing this.
I was moved to tears myself seeing the love poured out upon Jesus. Oh, how I wish it was me doing this. How I love Jesus and somehow want to tell him. I want to tell Him how much he means to me. This lady didn’t worry about protocol or what others thought, she just came in and poured out her love.
The Pharisee who invited Jesus to the house was looking at the woman with disgust obviously knowing who she was. Jesus must have known what he was thinking. He looked at Simon and said, “I have something to say to you.”
Simon tells him to go ahead. Jesus shared a story with him about two people having debts to pay. One was given 500 pieces of silver and the other 50. Neither one of them were able to pay the money back. The man who gave them money had pity for the two men and forgave them their debt.
Jesus asked Simon which one loved the man more after the debt was forgiven.
Simon answered, “I supposed the one who had the most debt.”
Jesus told him he was correct.
Jesus then looked at the woman and said to Simon, “This woman here has been washing my feet with tears. You didn’t offer to wash the dust from my feet.”
I had wondered why the guest didn’t wash Jesus’ feet. It is customary for the head of the house to wash the guest’s feet before a meal- cleanliness is important to Jews. Having dusty feet at the dinner table really wasn’t acceptable.
Jesus then continues. “Simon, you didn’t greet me with a kiss, but this woman has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of anointing my head with olive oil, but she has anointed my feet with expensive perfume.”
I don’t think Simon really considered Jesus as a proper guest. I think he was more curious about Jesus and wanted to get more of an idea of who he really is and what he is like.
Jesus looked tenderly into the woman eyes and says to her “Your sins are forgiven.”
The other men around the table began talking amongst themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?”
Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
The woman’s eyes lit up. She slowly rose up from the floor and smiled. She looked like a different person from the one that came into the house earlier.
This woman was forever changed. The last I heard she was doing really well. Others could not recognise her as she cleaned herself up and was different from the inside out. She glowed with joy.
After seeing what Jesus did for this woman, I had to come and talk to him afterwards. My soul has been tormented for years and I have heard many voices in my head trying to tell me how awful I am, no one loves me, I am stupid, and I should kill myself. I have no idea if I have hurt anyone but I know since seeing Jesus, the spirits inside of me have been fighting against my desire to know Him more.
I did go see Jesus. He saw the pain and sorrow in my eyes. He saw how my body was tormented and how much I struggled. He touched me and healed me! He released seven demons out of me! I cannot begin to tell you the relief I feel, the freedom, the joy, the deeper love I have for Jesus. Oh, how I wish I had something to give him just as the woman did with the perfume. I just love Jesus so much I want to always be with him. (Luke 8:2) Hallelujah!
*The word saved means to heal, cure, preserve, keep safe and sound, rescue from danger or destruction, delivered, given a new life and a new heart.
For further study:
I’m not worthy to call Him Master.
I’m too ashamed of my sins.
But there is something about Him.
Maybe it is the way He speaks,
Or perhaps His awesome power.
I do not know.
I find myself longing to listen to Him more.
I yearn to have a better life.
Could it be?
Is He really coming here today?
I must bring Him the best I have.
Oh, if only I could kiss His feet.
Here He comes.
He’s so different;
Loving, caring, compassionate.
I poured my best perfume,
I used my dirty hair.
I finally kissed the feet
Of the One that I loved so dearly.
What was that?
My sins forgiven?
It must be a mistake
But why then do I feel
As if the world has been lifted from my shoulders?
I feel like rejoicing, I am loved, and I am free!
After Jesus spoke about life and its worries, we all began to chat amongst ourselves about all that has been said so far. There was much to take in and some of us wanted to know more. We couldn’t get enough of what Jesus was teaching. Others were not so sure.
Jesus told us to not judge others for we will be judged and treated with the standard we judge others. Why worry about other people’s issues and sins when we have our own to deal with? I was thinking about the ladies gossiping all the time. They drive me crazy always talking about others and what they are doing.
Jesus went on to say we are not to waste what is lovely and precious on those who don’t want to listen or are unholy because all they do is turn it around and attack us. I guess I shouldn’t keep trying to push God on to the gentleman next door. Mother and Father have always done this so I just joined in. He never listens to us, he just insists on accusing us of being “holier than thou” people and is always rude to us. So not only am I to love and forgive him, I should stop trying to push God’s laws upon him. I should live it out in my own life and maybe, he will see what a loving God I serve.
Jesus says in our prayers we are to keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking on heaven’s doors. If we are persistent with God, we will receive what we ask, we will find what we desire and the door of heaven will be opened. God gives good gifts to those who ask. I was reminded about Hannah who pleaded with God for a baby and promised if she had one she would give him back to God. Sure enough, after many times crying before God, she fell pregnant and had a baby boy named Samuel. Samuel grew up to be a great prophet and was the one who anointed David king. Jerusalem is David’s city. I can do the same as Hannah for any situation. I can think of a few things I could pray for which I would love to see answers.
In the middle of everything Jesus was teaching, he taught the golden rule: We are to treat others the way we want to be treated.
He talked about the narrow gate. The gate to life is very narrow and the path is difficult, only a few find it. Yet the highway to hell is broad and the gate is wide. Sadly so many people choose the broad way. It is no wonder why so many go this way as there are false prophets disguised as sheep in wolves’ clothing. We can identify them by their fruit in the ways they act. A good tree is known for producing good fruit. The bad trees get chopped down. If we look and listen carefully we can tell the false prophets from the real ones by the actions and fruit that people display.
Jesus says that not everyone who calls him Lord will enter into Heaven. The only ones who will enter are those who actually do the will of God. The ones that don’t will be told by Jesus “I never knew you.”
My heart just sank. I so much want to follow Jesus. I have seen so many wonderful things he has done and I have listened to him teach. Yet, I still struggle with the things of this earth. My heart wants to go through the narrow gate yet my mind says don’t be so crazy.
Jesus finished his teachings by telling us to build our lives on a solid foundation. The wise man builds his house on a rock which doesn’t crumble in adversity when the winds blow and the hard rains fall. The foolish man builds his house on sand which collapses under the pressure of adversity. Everything Jesus said was taught with great authority more so than the rabbis. I really enjoyed listening to him.
As you can see, I have a lot to think over. Jesus explained very clearly how to live a holy life. Simply put, God should be first in our lives and everyone else second and ourselves last. I have followed Jesus this far, I am not going to turn my back on him. Oh how I desire to be holy as he is holy. How I long to be in his presence forever. I know I have a lot to learn, things to give up, people to love and forgive, well basically I need a life change. Forget what my head is telling me, I am going to follow my heart for a change. I choose this day to follow Jesus for the rest of my life.
I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back.
For further study:
Matthew 7; Luke 6:30-49
The day was getting a bit warmer in the sunshine with a slight breeze blowing. I continued to listen to Jesus even though I had already a lot to think about. Jesus continued to speak about how we are to live holy lives.
Jesus mentions about giving to the needy. When we give to others we are not to make a show of it, letting everyone know what we are doing. Instead, we are to give in private. I have heard people in the synagogues telling each other loudly what they gave to the poor. It was as if they were fighting amongst themselves who gave the most. Jesus actually called these people hypocrites. Wow, that’s harsh, but the more I think about it, it’s true. Hypocrites are ones who read scripts and puts on an act; they use a mask to cover their true motives. I have heard this word in plays where the adults put on masks to entertain the little ones.
Jesus says the same thing about praying and fasting. He said we are not to be praying loudly for everyone to hear or babbling on like those who pray to other gods. We don’t have to pray long, repetitive prayers. When we fast we are not to let everyone know we are doing so. We are to comb our hair and dress as normal so other people can’t tell. That’s a relief, I must tell you. I don’t want others to know my prayers and if I am fasting. For me, I find this a private time between me and God.
Jesus teaches us to pray: “Our Father in Heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Did you hear those words? We can call Yahweh God our Abba Father! I am so excited! I always thought God was distant, but Jesus says we can say Abba as if he were right here right now. Once again I am amazed and in awe. The rest of the prayer reminded me of the many different prayers we prayed throughout the day. We give thanks in the morning when we rise, we give thanks for every meal, we even pray whilst washing our hands and before we go to sleep. Extra prayers are prayed on special holidays and Sabbaths.
Jesus told us we are to forgive others as God forgives us. If we don’t we will not be forgiven. In our prayers, we pray to forgive others their sins as God does for us. So not only am I to love the gentleman next door to mother, I am to forgive him or I won’t be forgiven. I am not sure how I can do this. I do hope I can begin to love him as well. Maybe loving him and forgiving him might let him see we Jews are not bad people after all.
Jesus speaks about money and possessions. He said we are not to hold things dear here on earth. My father told me we don’t take the things to the grave with us, only our flesh goes to the grave. The things on earth will stay when we leave to go to heaven. None of it goes with us. So we shouldn’t worry about having more things.
Jesus says our treasures should be in Heaven. Whatever our treasures are, the desires of our hearts will be those things as well. He explains we cannot serve two masters- money and God. We will hate one and love the other. Which one will come first in our lives?
Yes, money can buy things, we can have all the luxuries in the world. However, looking at the crowd around me, I don’t think the majority of us have a lot of money. Some were fishermen, others were tentmakers, carpenters, homemakers, linen makers, etc. The Pharisees and other religious leaders were on the outskirts of this crowd and they were only a few in number compared to the rest of us. I think most of us would be more worried and concerned where the money was going to come from to help us make ends meet.
It was as if Jesus knew my thoughts because he said we should not worry about treasures and money and everyday life. Life is more important than food and the body is more important than clothing. He explained about the birds not being able to plant or harvest seed. God allows plants to grow and he takes care of and provides for the birds. We are far more valuable to God than birds, so why do we worry? Can worrying actually add a single moment to our lives?
Jesus has a point here. Why do we worry about money and things? Even the poorest among us are able to survive even if it is on crumbs.
Jesus said if we seek the kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, he will give us everything we need. We should stop worrying about tomorrow and what will happen. Today has enough troubles of its own.
For further study:
Jesus had been healing people and teaching for days now. I had a hard time trying to listen to everything he was saying as I couldn’t get to him through all the crowds. I did, however, see people being healed, which was amazing!
One day Jesus went up on a mountainside near Capernaum and sat down to teach. I was so thrilled to be able to be a lot closer this time so I could not just listen to him, but I could see him at the same time. He taught for hours. There is so much to share so I will begin with his blessings upon people.
Jesus blesses the poor who realise their need for Him. He said the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Blessings are given to those who mourn for they will be comforted, not just the bereaved but those who are sorry and repent from their wrongdoings. He blesses those who are humble and said they will inherit the earth. Humbleness is not weakness although many will tell us so. It is instead, controlled strength and self-discipline.
Jesus went on to bless those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and justice for they will be satisfied with food in abundance. Blessings are upon those who are merciful for they will be shown mercy, those whose hearts are pure for they shall see God and those who work for peace, they will be called the children of God.
Jesus then gave blessings to those who are persecuted for doing right for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. He even said when people mock, persecute, lie about and say all sort of things about us who follow him, we are to be happy and very glad about it! He said there will be a great reward for us in heaven.
We were told to be salt and light. I know salt is used to preserve meats and fish, my mother taught me this. If we didn’t use salt, the meat and fish would rot and be useless. Jesus told us that if we don’t stay salty we would be like rotten meat and be thrown out. We use candles in the house for lights. Our lamps would be holders that held candles. Jesus explained we don’t hide our lamps under a bowl as it blocks out the light. We are to shine our good deeds to others so they can see we love God the Father.
Jesus spoke about laws, anger, adultery, divorce, making and keeping vows and revenge. I was surprised to see that people stayed to listen to Him with all these subjects being covered. I enjoy listening to Jesus, he has a voice that doesn’t condemn when he speaks. I think this makes it easier to listen and if I feel this way, the others around me must do too.
Jesus taught us that we are to love our enemies. I remember in my earlier years having to learn the laws of the Lord. These laws were read from the scrolls of Leviticus. Jesus mentions one verse in particular from Leviticus:
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:18).
Throughout the generations, this verse has been taught to us as to “hate our enemies but love our neighbours” instead of “loving your neighbour as yourself.” This became a Pharisaic law. Jesus, however, stressed upon us that we are to love our enemies and even pray for those who persecute us! If we do, he said we will be acting like true children of God. He explains this truth by saying God gives sunlight and rain on both the evil and good and the unjust and just people. I thought about this for a bit- it is true, the rain doesn’t stop in someone’s patch because they are evil nor does the sun.
He said everyone can love those who love us back. Even corrupt tax collectors do the same. If we are only kind to our friends, how are we different than anyone else? We are to be perfect as God is perfect.
I have to let all this sink in. I love being blessed by Jesus. I don’t mind being the salt and light. But loving my enemies is a bit difficult I think. There is one gentleman who lives close to my mother who is always shouting insults at her because she tries to follow God’s laws. He hurls accusations when she walks to the synagogue and laughs at her. Jesus wants me to love and pray for him after all he does to my mother?
I know I am to be holy as God is holy. We were taught this as young children. From what I have already heard today, I have a long way to go before I am holy as God is. For now, I am going to rest and think about the things I have shared with you so far. Until tomorrow…
*Blessed are- God blesses- this is an adjective meaning happy, supremely blessed, congratulations are in order. This is a grace word that expresses the special joys and satisfaction granted the person who experiences salvation.
*The poor are those who recognise their spiritual poverty and putting themselves aside, they seek God’s grace.
*To be perfect means to be holy, set apart, sacred, clean, pure, separated unto God – “Give the following instructions to the entire community of Israel. You must be holy because I, the LORD your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2).
*To love others is not just having sentiment towards someone- it is a practical concern, blessing them, praying for them and wishing shalom for our friends and enemies alike.
For further study:
Jesus made it to Galilee. During the two days that Jesus stayed in Samaria, I stayed in a tent nearby and had a rest. I then walked to Galilee knowing Jesus was heading that way. Remember, I like to listen in to what is going on so I can follow Him wherever He goes.
Jesus was walking alongside the shore of the Sea of Galilee preaching. I and many others in a crowd pressed in to listen to Him. We wanted to take in everything He was saying.
Jesus saw two empty boats at the water’s edge which some fishermen had left to go wash and mend their nets. He stepped into one of the boats. Simon Peter was the owner of the boat. Jesus asked him to push it out onto the water. The other fishermen came back from washing their nets and joined Simon and Jesus in their boat as well as out on the water. Jesus continued teaching the crowds.
Jesus finished teaching us and we saw Him and the boats go out deeper into the water. I was really curious what was going on but I had to wait until the boats came back. This is what I heard happened out there in the deep sea…
Jesus told Simon Peter to let down his nets to catch some fish. Unfortunately, in recent days the fishermen have not been able to catch many fish which really affected their livelihood. They depend on having fish to sell in the market so they can take care of their own families. Simon mentioned this to Jesus and said they worked all night without catching a thing. Simon agreed to go ahead and let the nets down again as Jesus said.
Simon must have been listening to Jesus whilst he was mending his nets. He also must have believed there was something special about Him in order to allow Him to get into his boat and even to go out into the deep part of the sea and let down the nets even though there were no fish the night before.
A miracle occurred! This time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! There was a shout for help from the partners in the other boat. Soon both boats were so completely filled with fish that they were on the verge of sinking!
Simon Peter realised what happened. He realised Jesus indeed is special. He fell to his knees before Jesus and said to Him – “Oh, Lord, leave me- I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.”
Simon and the others were amazed at the number of fish in the boats. Jesus replied to Simon- “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!”When they got back to the shore, Simon Peter, his brother Andrew, James and his brother John- the sons of Zebedee, left everything and followed Jesus. They left their boats, nets, livelihoods and family behind and went with Jesus. Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John became really good friends with Jesus.
Jesus went off to pray and prayed to God all night. He called together all the disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. A disciple is a student or follower of a teacher (a Jewish teacher is a Rabbi) or a doctrine. An apostle is not just a disciple, they are messengers sent out to share the good news of Jesus. The twelve apostles who were specifically chosen by Jesus were Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon the Zealot, Judas (son of James) and Judas Iscariot.
I consider myself a disciple. I follow Jesus everywhere and I look forward to hearing and watching what He will do next. I want to know him more. I want to be like him, loving, compassionate, caring. But how can I? I can’t even get close enough to him to talk. If only he knew. If only he would listen. Oh, how I want to be free. Just maybe, my life will mean something as well and I can make a difference like Jesus’ apostles.
For further study:
Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11; 6:12-16