‘A sinful woman in the town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house. So, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume and stood behind Jesus at his feet, crying. She began to wash his feet with tears, and she dried them with her hair, kissing them many times and rubbing them with perfume.’
Luke 7 vs 36 – 38
Imagine being that woman for a few moments – the whole town knows about your scandalous means of livelihood. In-fact, you’ve strayed so far from ‘righteousness’ that you’re deemed irredeemable. What would be the point of approaching the righteous man of God – the one they call rabbi? How could such a man have anything to do with you? Worse still, why put yourself through the ridicule and rejection that will most likely come your way?
What gave her the courage to wipe the feet of the son of God with her hair?
The answer is very simple – she had a revelation about who Jesus is.
She had heard how he healed the sick, set free the demon possessed, and saved the woman caught in adultery from certain death. And in knowledge of the fact that Jesus never made any demands before healing or saving those in need, she came to the conclusion that he is first and foremost a God of love and mercy.
She heard, she believed, and her eyes were opened as to who Jesus is – Love, Mercy, and Forgiveness. It was the revelation of Jesus’ unconditional love for her that brought tears of deep gratitude, love, awe, and wonder.
In other words, the greatest obstacle to her approaching the son of God was overcome in an instant with a revelation of who Jesus is.
Her seemingly insurmountable obstacle is the same one that plagues so many of us today.
A few weeks ago I took a delightful mini vacation in a town called Stewarton, just north of Kilmarnock, Scotland. Curtesy of Airbnb, I stayed with a wonderful couple who are now friends for life. It really was the perfect few days, as I was able to completely switch off from work.
Those who know me well will tell you my favourite pastime is long distance running. Hence, my running gear travels with me wherever I go. On the first morning, my friend Tony, who is even more of a running fiend than I, ran with me, in order to show me the best route for a five-mile run, so as to enable me to do future runs on my own. For those of you that enjoy running, trust me when I say there is nothing as wonderful as running in the Scottish countryside – beautiful, peaceful, and far better for strength and endurance.
During that first run I couldn’t help but notice there were very few cars on the road. In-fact, I’m sure no more than five cars passed us. And whenever an oncoming car approached, Tony would wave, the person in the car would wave back, and being someone that loves nothing better than people being friendly to one another I happily joined-in. On each occasion I asked Tony whether he knew the person in the car, and the answer was always “no, most people here are very friendly, so it’s normal to greet each other”. No doubt by the fifth time he had given the same answer to the same question he was probably wondering what he and his wife had let themselves in for!
I did that five-mile run on every morning of my vacation, but not once did I wave at any oncoming cars. I really wanted to, but I just couldn’t. Indeed, the more I failed to do so the more I resigned myself to the fact that there was no point, as they probably wouldn’t wave back anyway.
My reason for not waving?
A fear of rejection
I didn’t want to give a friendly wave to oncoming vehicles because I was afraid of how hurt I might feel if they didn’t wave back. By the fourth morning waving wasn’t even in the near vicinity of my consciousness.
The fear of rejection can prevent us from loving and being loved; be-it approaching that person you like, to telling the individual you’re dating you love her /him, to genuinely expressing remorse and regret to someone you’ve wronged.
Fear of rejection all-too-often constrains our natural desire to freely love and care for one another. It is also one of the biggest obstacles to an intimate and happy relationship with God.
We fear we’ll be rejected as a result of our past.
We fear we’ll be rejected as a result of our present misdemeanors.
We fear our prayers will be rejected because of our failings.
How many times have you found yourself opting not to seek God’s help as a result of your believing he dis-approves of you??
‘How can God possibly take me back after I abandoned him for so long?’
‘I keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Surely God can only forgive me so many times!? And besides, I’ve gone way too far the other way now, so what would be the point?!’
Unfortunately, because too many churches and Christians continue to portray a dangerously false perception of holiness and perfection, many are put off Christianity, as they perceive God to be too demanding, and fear they will be frowned upon by other believers. In other words, why bother if you will inevitably be rejected for not being good enough?!
If you’re such a person then I have an important message for you.
Just as it wasn’t too late for that tearful woman, it isn’t too late for you.
He will never ever reject you, as to do so would be a total contradiction of his character.
God is Love, Mercy, and Forgiveness.
He loves you just as much today as he always has.
Jesus has already guaranteed your righteousness by paying the price for all your sins at the cross.
And your rightful and special place in God’s heart is forever secure.