What Do You See in Others?
Scripture Reading — Luke 7:36-50
27Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?" 28Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29"Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30They came out of the town and made their way toward him. 31Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something." 32But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about." 33Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?" 34"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. 38I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor." 39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41And because of his words many more became believers. 42They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world." —
He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman?" Luke 7:44
It's easy to judge people whose lives and circumstances are different from ours. We easily write off people who have political views or who struggle with weaknesses that are different from ours. We find it easier to befriend people who are just like us.
That was Simon's problem.
Simon was a very religious person who knew how to throw a great party. As he welcomed Jesus, Simon deliberately overlooked some of the common courtesies that he offered to other guests when they arrived. He offered no water for Jesus to wash with, and no oil to soothe his skin from the harsh effects of sun and wind.
A local prostitute came uninvited into the banquet hall. She came to Jesus wanting to be set free from a sinful past. Her tears wetted Jesus feet, so she wiped them with her long hair. Letting her hair down in public was considered a seductive, immoral act in those days. Simon quickly sized up the situation. All he saw were wrong behaviors, not the sinner longing for and receiving forgiveness.
Jesus said to Simon, "Do you see this woman?"
How about you? Do you see her as a person who is longing and grateful for a new start? What's your attitude toward people who have been accepted by Jesus and who also need to be accepted by his church?
Father, forgive us when we judge by appearances. Help us to look deep inside and see how much we have been forgiven. Move us also to accept others in Jesus' name. Amen.