I admit I missed it too.
I got caught up in what was provided, what was said, what it all meant. I quickly became preoccupied with the idea, the principles and the outcome.
I lost my fascination. And more than likely, so did you.
And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. (Luke 7:37-39)
She was lost. Unaware of the judgement being leveled her way. She was enthralled, falling unashamedly in love with Who He was. Her sins were her coat. Her identity. But her love for Him changed all of that. She saw Him, ravished by the revelation of who He was. And in her failure to utter a word, she released of all of Him to her.
Her love for Him cleansed her. She had no thought of right and wrong. She had long-since abandoned the structural arrangement of religion. Her sin mangled her membership card. But it was her door. Her sin, as ugly and as it was, became her eyes to see Salvation.
My false righteousness blinded me. It blinded the men in that room too. They weren’t in love. They had forgotten such a concept, relegating it to immature and cheap fantasy. No, like me, they were sure their hope was in adherence to fundamental principles about God. The more aligned I was with commandments and truth, the more acceptable I was.
And then, one night, in a room full of young ones like she who wept His feet clean, I saw Him. In a moment my soul remembered. The intricacies of my doctrine-ridden temple quaked at His light. My sin, still interwoven within its circuitry, melted in the heat of His love for me. It was then the words of Isaiah – I am undone – became tangible.
I saw Him. Not in the metaphorical sense. Not in the “Oh, that’s nice” sense. But rather in the “All the people in the room disappeared, what you think has no bearing on what I’m seeing, the actual Person of Jesus is right here” sense. Just like that woman.
Restore unto me the joy of my salvation….
I saw Him again. Like I did 25 years ago. The One who pursued me with un-ignorable love was again looking me straight through. His stare did not hurt, though it destroyed me. His light did not blind, though I could only see Him. His presence did not make me hide, though I felt completely vulnerable. He was there. Him. And there was no where else I wanted to be.
For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little. (Luke 7:47)
He really is altogether beautiful. He is not nearly as concerned about us following His commandments as He is about being in love with Him. He knows our love for Him removes sin. He knows loving Him empowers a person to do what is right.
This woman loved Him before He shed His blood on a cross. She had no idea her love for Him was forgiveness of her sin. She was captivated by Him. And in her fascination, she was made whole. We weren’t originally designed to love Jesus because of what He did, does or will do. We were created to be in love with WHO He is. And right there is the power to make all things new.
To see Him is to love Him. To be in His light demolishes all we’ve put in between He and us. He is the great Simplifier. The one who takes the complexities of Christianity and burns them up in an ongoing revelation of His Person. No belief about Him has any power unless it is rooted in who He is.
This beautiful One, is the joy of salvation. You know when you have Him versus ideas about Him. We all do. There is a worlds-apart difference between a grasped principle and an apprehended Jesus.
And when you’ve truly laid hold of the One who unequivocally loves and forgives you, your only response is to love back. And there is our freedom.