7th October 2017

Jesus Absorbs Hostility 

“We see real love, not in the fact that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to make personal atonement for our sins.”
1 John 4:10 (Phillips)

In first century Middle Eastern culture, guests were greeted with a kiss of welcome, then they had the dust of the journey washed from their feet by a servant, after which they would receive some olive oil for their head to refresh them. Every culture has its own way of performing this important ritual of greeting. Here in the UK, we open the door, shake the guests’ hand and say, “Hello Joe; glad you could make it, came in, let me take your coat, just make yourself at home.” But just suppose that on the other hand we were to screw up our face and say, “Oh no, it’s you Joe—I suppose you’d better come in then—but sit over there somewhere and just don’t get in the way!” How would we feel? Would we actually stay or turn on our heel and leave because of these disgracefully rude words by the one who invited you?

This once happened to Jesus. He was invited to eat with a Pharisee named Simon but on his arrival none of the customary eastern greetings that I have listed above were extended to him. But did he leave—no! He reclined at the table with the dust of the journey still clinging to the perspiration of his feet and absorbed the hostility towards his person by Simon and his other guests—who were probably also Pharisees.

This incident is recorded in Luke 7:36-50 and it is obvious that there is some kind of hidden agenda here, a putdown for this new kid on the block who says—“God loves sinners!” This is of course just the complete opposite of the way they saw things.

I should also mention that whenever a meal like this was hosted in a village, anyone in the village could come in if they wished, sit around the walls and be fed later. If you’ve read the story you will notice there is a woman of ill repute in the room, who is weeping because she realises what is being done to this lovely person by everyone there. She then anoints his feet as a token of her thankfulness, but not to wash them. She allows her tears to cover those dusty feet and wash them. She has no towel so she lets down her long hair and uses it to dry them. Meanwhile she is being condemned by Simon, but actually not just her but he condemns Jesus also!

Then Jesus tells the Pharisee in no uncertain terms that she has been making up for his hosts social-shortcomings. Here we see Jesus now absorbing the hostility directed not only against him; but also this woman! Finally he sends her away with forgiveness and a blessing. And that’s what he did on the cross, he took upon himself the hostility and sin of the world, and sends us all away with forgiveness and a blessing!

Thank you, Lord, for reconnecting us to the Father by freely absorbing all the sin and hostility that was in our lives by your amazing sacrifice.

Study by Cliff Neill


About the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone: 01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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