Dec 1st, 2019
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 54 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes or so we are going to be continuing our four-part series in 1 Corinthians 13:7, “(Love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” In the first part of this series, we talked about love bearing all things with the ultimate expression of that being Christ bearing our sins on the cross and likewise we too should be bearing each-other up in love when we fail; more or less carrying one another towards the mark of perfection. In part two we talked about believing the best of others and for the Christian, this being a natural extension of our faith in Christ. Like God sees the best in all of us and puts us in positions to rise to the greatest occasion we should give others cause to rise to the occasion.
I highly recommend you go back to the first and second parts before proceeding, if you haven’t already. Especially part two, “Love Believes,” because this episode relies, and builds upon that one. It might also benefit you to go back and look at episode 2.25 where we talk about the nature of hope. A quick primer is that when you see the word hope in the New Testament it is either a word that means trust or confident expectation. Sometimes with both words in the same sentence with both translated into the English word hope. In this case, Paul has chosen the hope word for trust in 1 Corinthians 13:7.
Let’s look at an event in Jesus' life, Luke 7:36-50 CSB, “ Then one of the Pharisees invited him to eat with him. He entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table.  And a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house. She brought an alabaster jar of perfume  and stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to wash his feet with her tears. She wiped his feet with her hair, kissing them and anointing them with the perfume.  When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "This man, if he were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him-she's a sinner!"  Jesus replied to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." He said, "Say it, teacher."  "A creditor had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  Since they could not pay it back, he graciously forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more?"  Simon answered, "I suppose the one he forgave more." "You have judged correctly," he told him.  Turning to the woman, he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she, with her tears, has washed my feet and wiped them with her hair.  You gave me no kiss, but she hasn't stopped kissing my feet since I came in.  You didn't anoint my head with olive oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfume.  Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that's why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little."  Then he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."  Those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins?"  And he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.’”
Alright, let's start with the seeming disconnect that a Pharisee, despite what it could do to his position and reputation, has invited Jesus to dinner at his house. There are lots of theories about this that you can go look up. However, it seems to me there is an explanation that we can glean from scripture. Four times in the Gospel of John we are told that Judas Iscariot is the son of Simon, with no explanation as to who this Simon is, but written with an expectation that we should just understand the reference. Lots of theologians have spent countless hours proving that the Simon who fathered Judas is not Simon Peter, obviously to protect Peters' legacy. If Simon the Pharisee is the father of Judas referenced in the Gospel of John, then the dinner invitation of Jesus, the teacher his son Judas is following, makes complete sense and would also explain why John didn’t specify which Simon he was talking about, and Luke felt no explanation of the curious dinner invitation was needed since all of those details would be pretty common knowledge of the day.
So, this Pharisee is hosting Jesus at a meal and in wanders a well-known “sinner.” She hears Jesus is at Simon the Pharisees house, so she buys this expensive myrrh that some have valued at a years’ worth of wages and heads to the feet of Jesus. This is only possible because it was common for Jewish households to leave the door open during meals so that if passersby wanted to pop in and join the conversation of those at the table then they were welcome. Even a popular “sinner” like this one. She’s there crying, using her hair and tears to wash Jesus' feet, and then anointing them with the oil. Simon looks at her and thinks that surely if Jesus was a prophet then he would see through this THOT at his feet and tell her to be gone.
Jesus believes the best for, and in, Simon, and He has put that belief in action with hope-trust accepting this dinner invitation because of it. Jesus also believes the best for, and in, the woman anointing His feet. Before He acts on her behalf He decides to put the Pharisee in his place, an activity that seems to be an entertaining past-time for Christ, and points out that where Simon didn’t follow the custom of providing water for honored guests to clean their feet upon entering the house she is cleaning His feet with her tears and hair. Where Simon didn’t greet his guest with the customary kiss of brotherhood when Jesus entered, she continually kissed His feet. Where Simon hasn’t recognized Jesus as the Messiah – the leader of the Jewish people, the prophesied savior of their people, she has anointed His feet with the myrrh. After pointing these things out Jesus acts on His hope-trust for her and tells her that her sins have been forgiven and to go in peace.
Love bears, we talked about that. Love believes, we’ve covered that. Love hopes, or more specifically trusts. But that trust can’t truly be given until we believe first. The trust of love is a natural action in response to the belief of love. Jesus believed in Simon the Pharisee to rise to the occasion and be the best that he could be and trusted him accepting his invitation to a meal at his house. Jesus believed in the woman at his feet that she had risen to the occasion and trusted her faith to carry her forward.
We must bear the weaknesses of fellow believers, not to cover them up, but to carry each-other towards healing and Christ. We must believe the best of and in others giving them space to rise to the occasion. We must hope-trust out of our belief in others. We must love.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”