SHEMA

The bible says, we love because he loved us first and those who have been forgiven much love much.” God uses our sinfulness to teach us about love. David, was not flawless, and yet he was intimate with God.

God’s not looking for the perfect, but the passionate.

Jesus’ contemporaries ‘kept’ the commandments to “code” and yet couldn’t understand the love of God. They had perfect score cards, but no passion for the score keeper. Torah reveals how short we fall of God’s standards and how far we are from perfection. We are unable to be who God desires us to be, on our own.

God’s doesn’t need our flawlessness, he desires our faithfulness.

The ironic thing is that the very first commandment is the fulfillment of the whole law.  How often do we skip over ‘love the Lord your God’ and immediately begin to measure our own righteousness by the standards of God’s laws?

Jesus said, he didn’t come for the righteous and the healthy ones don’t need doctors.   In contrast, it is the unhealthy  sinners, those who by their infected wounds admit they  haven’t met God’s standards. They have worn their flawed lives on the outside. These are the blind, the lepers, the lame and the desperately immoral who are far beyond helping themselves and they know it, so when God helps these lowest of the low, you know what they do…love God with all their heart. 

Jesus called his peers, white washed walls. White washed walls was a reference to the tombs. These were tombs were made of clean, white marble, beautiful on the outside. But, men cannot food God. They only fool themselves into believing they are what they show others. If these peoples are only seeing themselves as the beautiful and holy, if they are not convinced they are sick they never get close enough to be healed and they never truly learn the love of God.

God did not come for the strong. He chose Israel because they were the smallest of all nations. God chooses Israel simply because he loves them.  I believe God looked down and saw broken men, sinful immoral people, angry fathers, hard hearts and stiff necks.   No matter how straight and narrow they walked, their hearts were corrupt.  No matter how flawless they looked the human heart is desperately wicked. His purposes will always be to mend the broken, draw near to the crushed, save the lost, want the unwanted, so that he can have a kingdom of people who know him , know his love and know how to love. Who better to trust than those who love you. He wants a kingdom of people who love him because they know him, they have been healed by him. 

God doesn’t desire strong kings, but humble citizens.

Without knowing God’s great mercy, it’s hard to know his severe love.  You cannot love someone you don’t know. The first order of business, from Adam to us, is to extend grace by pursuing a loving, interactive relationship with creation. Once we see how far The Lord God has come to find us, it’s hard to continue hiding. Without knowing sin, it’s hard to see how far he has come to get us. 

One factor that helps us see God, is seeing ourselves. When we know the real condition of our heart, we know our need for a Holy God who changes hearts.  People aren’t always willing to see themselves as they are. Therefore God gave Israel the law to help them see their hearts,  not to make them perfect, but to give them vision. 

in Luke 7, Jesus is invited to dine with Simon, a Pharisee. Simon is, no doubt, sizing up Jesus. All Israel was wondering who Jesus was. Here is this man speaking with authority, casting out demons healing the sick, raising the dead and raising hell. Thousands of people were following his every move,  even the religious leaders were curious of his identity. They were intrigued by John’s message and wondered, “Is Jesus the prophet” according to Moses’ prophecy?

Suddenly, a woman enters and kneels at the feet of Jesus.

Suddenly a woman enters and kneels at the feet of Jesus. She begins washing them with her tears, and anointing them with kisses. Everyone knows the story, an act of love.  She comes with a fresh plea for mercy, not one in words but deeds and humility. Simon begins thinking to himself ,  “if this Jesus was the prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him.” Simon being a religious elite, knew the commandments but failed to see the character traits of the men whom God favored and gave the commandments to in the first place, a rag tag bunch of sinners! Simon didn’t understand the love of God. The kind of love that touches lepers, hastens towards the  afflicted, sets  captives free and turns the systems of men upside down. God saved Noah – a righteous drunk, called out Abraham- a fearful liar, had mercy on Lot – the coward, blessed Jacob- the deceiver, made an everlasting covenant with David- the adulterer and murderer. I mean come on, God knows how to be faithful. God’s favorites are not void of immoral dirt. They loved God because they saw his love for them despite their human stains.

Simon knows Mary is an immoral woman, but Jesus was not threatened by her presence, nor appalled by her sin. He did not withdraw from her touch. The act of love she showed him, triumphed over whatever sin she had committed. In light of God’s explosive love our sins are merely the dark that must surrender, not to leave one trace of its prior existence. Simon being an expert in the law, knew the sentence for immorality and expected any “prophet” to apply the punishment : destroy the heathen , stone the violator, kill the blasphemer. This was how Simon saw and understood God, as Judge who inflicted punishment.  In Simon’s eyes, it was the pious who gained God’s favor and hence his pardon. Simon was doing everything in his power to keep on the straight and narrow.  Simon was hiding his talent in the sand because he saw God as an exacting God, rather than an extracting God.

There are two kinds of obedience that which comes from love and that which comes from fear, one results in life the other results in pride.

So what is Jesus’ response? Jesus also points to Torah to teach simon. But Jesus reveals something Simon overlooked, mercy …the love that provoked God to share the law with mankind, in order to accomplish his will, reveal our flaws, show us mercy and teach us holiness.

It is written to love the lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.The first commandment will always be, love the Lord your God.  Simon could never learn to love God and hence truly fulfill the law, without hating himself first.

It’s not easy to teach someone love. So Jesus came down from heaven to die on earth, and show us his love. 

God is more interested in our devotion to him than our untainted obedience. He doesn’t want robots he wants children.

Jesus rebuked Simon for not loving him the way the sinner did. Simon loved himself because he was righteous. The sinner hates himself. Works that are void of love,  are powerless, limp and ineffective- white washed tombs.   This sinner at his feet, unashamed, uninhibited and full of kindness understood mercy because she was so desperate for  it.’ When Christ touched her and said, your sins are forgiven. She knew what kind of sins they were, she hated herself more than simon ever could hate her. Jesus then looked at Simon, and said, “Simon those who have been forgiven much -love much.” How do you teach that? In this moment, the law abiding, exacting, religious pious may have been speechless, knowing that the first commandment was the one he had yet to accomplish. 

2 thoughts on “SHEMA

  1. So much meat here! You’ve taught me a lot, and if I kept re-reading, I would keep learning. Thanks so much for your beautiful post and truths you’ve shared. Loving reading your work, can’t wait to see more from you!

Leave a Reply