Where: city of Nain?
When: widow’s son was raised; John sends his disciples to ask Jesus if He IS the Messiah; the Pharisees are confused by Jesus, can’t make up their minds about Him. They’re offended by John the Baptist and Jesus, because neither conforms to their idea of what men of God should be.
Event: A Pharisee invites Jesus over for a meal (Luke 7:36-50)
Dramatis Personae: The Patronising Pharisee, The Weeping Woman, Jesus
The Patronising Pharisee:
Who is this Jesus? How does He raise the dead, heal the sick, make whole the lepers, the blind to see, the lame to walk?
He speaks the scriptures with such authority and depth of insight. He must be a man of God.
Is he The Messiah?
Surely he can’t be!!!!
His manners are shockingly casual. He’s very lax about toeing the line.
Look at the people he associates with – publicans, tax collectors, sinners all. They are the ones appointed for the wrath of God, a blot on our society, an offense to our Holy God. Doesn’t he know that?
I want to talk at length with him. The boy’s got talent for sure. Maybe I can provide him with the opening he needs into a better society – into the circle of the high-minded, right-living, men who find favour in the eyes of the Lord.
That’s it! I’ll be his patron, talk to him, shape him, show him the ropes…
Ah, Jesus, please would you share a meal with me? Come, let’s go in and eat.
The Weeping Woman:
I saw today the happy faces of those who found new hope, made whole, delivered from all kinds of afflictions. I met the mother of the boy You raised from the dead. She can’t stop weeping for joy and praising God.
You must be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. For God alone has the power to heal and deliver in this manner.
I see Your eyes full of joy, and love and compassion. They make me think You can see each person’s story and heart. How can You see us so fully, and not turn Your face away in disgust? How can You see our hearts and still stretch forth Your hand to touch, to heal, to bless?
You see me, my King, my Lord. You know the depths of my heart. There is nothing hidden from You. Where can I run to hide?
You know the things that enslave me, the ashes of unkept promises, still born dreams, the fig leaves and all. It seems that I have gone so far down the road of depravity, there is no hope of turning back.
And yet, when I stand before You, all I can see is that I was once created to be holy.
Lord, please forgive me, for trampling on this gift of life You gave to me. I repent, Lord, of having lived for my own pleasures, I want to change, I want to start all over again.
(wiping His feet with her hair) My lovers have praised my beauty, but defiled me by their greedy touch. Somehow without words being spoken, I know that You love me, with a Father’s love, chaste and pure. My hair feels honoured and cleansed as it wipes Your feet.
(kissing His feet) The memories of numberless lustful embraces are erased by this one pure holy touch. Lord, will You forgive my sins, will You give me a clean new heart? Be merciful to me; heal my soul; for I have sinned against You.
(rubbing the ointment into His feet) How beautiful are Your feet, My King, walking the miles, crossing mountains, bringing me hope and the promise of new life. You have brought comfort, health, strength, new beginnings to so many. May this ointment bring You comfort and rejoice and gladden Your heart.
The Patronising Pharisee:
If there was any doubt about Jesus, this settles it. If he is a man of God, he would know what kind of woman knelt before him. He would call down judgment upon her. Yet, look at him, he allows her to touch him!!!!! It’s a good thing I found out now. It would have been embarrassing to sponsor him and endorse him, and then find that he is a charlatan after all.
My son, can you not see that both of you – the rule-keeper and the rule-breaker – both are in need of the mercy of God? For no matter how perfectly you keep all the rules, can you truly say that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength?
You see in me an iffy itinerant possible prophet, but she sees in me the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Mat 5:4
I will heal their backslidings; I will love them freely; for My anger has turned away from him.
I will be as the dew to Israel; …
His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, …
They who dwell under his shadow shall return;
they shall revive like the grain, and grow like the vine…Hos 14:4-7
And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50
Sheep and goats bleating, pigeons gurgling, clinks of coins, voices raised in heated argument. Men crouched over desks meticulously recording transactions. Dizzying crowds and activity, dodging people and helpful ‘I can get you an unblemished lamb’ elbow grabbers, benumbed and bewildered, the moment of worship stripped of all its awe and wonder, worshippers going in and out to get ‘it’ over and done with as soon as possible.
Then Jesus, the Son of God, steps into the Temple. He sees with the eyes of His Father. He sees the profit margins, the dodgy deals, poor people being squeezed of more than they can afford. He sees the prideful, boastful, smug self-satisfied hearts of the self-righteous, coming in to give offerings and make sacrifices as a pat on their own backs, a check-box ticked, their halo polished and set just so. He sees the empty, vacuous hearts of those coming to fulfil a requirement. For them, worship was just a superstition, a crossing of fingers, a bribe held out to make sure that their tiny worlds would stay the right way up.
Where are the worshippers? The ones seeking to know the Lord? Where are the worshippers? The ones in love with the Lord.
Is it all about giving and taking? About bribing and boot-licking, to make one’s voice and petition heard? Is that how you see My Father? As a petty bribe-taking bureaucrat, needing his palm greased before he lifts a finger in your behalf?
Is this is all that it has come to? Keeping accounts, haggling for better bargains, a hastily said prayer, with nary a thought for the Maker except for the benefits He brings to mankind? Oh where, Oh where are the Lovers, who seek to dwell in the courts of the Lord? Have they been driven out by this mad, noisy throng?
Let Me make a way for the Seekers, the true Lovers and Worshippers of God, out of my way all you merchants, all you millstones and stumbling blocks! My Father’s house will be a house of prayer!
Prayer! Communion with the Lord. Bowing in worship before Him. Hearing Him speak in your heart. A place where all that is worldly is stilled and silenced before the Holy Living God.
Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God; 1Co 6:19 GNB
What does the Saviour see when He looks into my heart?
Grudge books, outstanding debts waiting to be collected? Records of favours given, and favours yet to be collected? Profit and loss statements of conditional love given and received?
Is my heart a merchant’s warehouse, full of the noise of the world? Am I replete and smug in the knowledge of my own goodness? Shallow, with a bargaining eye on the favours that are held in the Maker’s hands?
Who is it I am serving? Whose kingdom am I working to build?
The Lord, the true Owner of my Life and Heart comes to claim His place, but He comes in peace on a donkey to cast out the world system built on conditional love that held sway for so long in my heart.
Grudge books, registers, records of rights and wrongs, all flushed out by the Living Waters of His Word. The Prince of Peace enters, a new economy He sets into place. Freely you have received, now freely give, unconditional love must now hold sway.
With all the clutter and deadweight gone, my heart is stilled to hear, the voice of the One who spoke the world into existence. My eyes can now clearly see the splendour and majesty of the One who loves me and gave His life for me. In sweet communion, kneeling at the feet of the Lord, I am set free to worship, to declare with every breath, ‘Lord, you alone are worthy, to be honoured, heard and obeyed’
And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35
“If you love me, you will obey my commandments… My Father will love those who love me; I too will love them and reveal myself to them … and my Father and I will come to them and live with them. John 14:15,21,23
Blessed are the poor in spirit:
All you blind, naked, hungry, thirsty, foolish, bankrupt and empty,
Maimed of body and wounded in soul,
Rejects and outcastes of every nation, tribe and tongue.
No visa forms, no eligibility certificates, no proofs of bank accounts needed.
No fancy degrees, niche skills or sponsors obligatory
Your need and your emptiness is all that is required.
The kingdom of heaven is open to you.
Freely you may enter through the narrow gate of a single pearl
For the price of your visa has been paid in full
By the precious Son of the King of this Kingdom,
In every drop of blood that flowed at Calvary.
Tetelestai! Said the Son, the Lord Jesus,
Your debt has been paid in full,
The accounts have been closed and are cancelled,
Come, enter through the Door that has opened
The Father Himself welcomes you, and wipes away the tears you have shed.
Enter the Kingdom of wholeness,
Where everything wrong is made right
Darkness departs from within you
And you are armoured in God’s living Light.
Hidden in the depths of Christ’s being
Nourished by His zoe life and love
Richly hung with the Vine’s harvest
Blessed, fully satisfied and complete are you indeed
For yours is the kingdom of heaven
“… the Father, … has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,” Col 1:12-13 ESV
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.” Is 55:1-2 ESV
Rich, golden, whispering grain
Holding within them the promise of
Hunger appeased with satisfying bread.
Yet the joy of overflowing harvest
Unless a grain of wheat falls in the ground and dies
For in the husk, it abides alone.
No greater love can there be than this,
Than One lay down His life for His friends.
See, the towel and the water bowl?
I call you My dearest friends:
There is no road I will not travel
To buy your free pardon
To set you free from the lifeless sod.
The Seed has been sown in the grave
And from Him we reap
A rich bountiful harvest
Of the treasures of God’s abundant grace.
And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16
and so is his free gift to so many people through the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ.
… how much greater is the result of what was done by the one man, Jesus Christ! All who receive God’s abundant grace and are freely put right with him will rule in life through Christ.
Rom 5:15-17 GNB
I am not ashamed, My Father,
To be identified with these My brothers,
Weak, helpless, foolish,
Wilful, sinful though they be.
I feel all the weight and torment
Of the sin that they carry:
The soul invading darkness
That shuts out the light of Your glory.
Oh, how I hear the voice of the seducer
Showing Me the easy way out,
But I see these My brothers
Redeemed from Sheol,
Restored to Your embrace,
And I cannot turn back O My Father
I have waited these many ages
This moment of freedom to see
I am willing and ready O My Father,
The cup of judgment and wrath to receive.
“Tetelestai!” He cried out
As he drained the cup to the end.
Gladly He gave up His spirit
Into the Father’s waiting hands.
He had done all that He set out to do,
Now His Father would take over the baton,
The lonely embrace of Sheol would be broken
For the Father would never abandon,
His Holy One, His Only Begotten Son,
To the grimy hold of the grave.
Death, by His death would be broken
At the Father’s Life-giving command,
The dawn of a new creation,
springing from the womb of an empty grave.
“ That is why He is not ashamed to call them brothers, …
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood,
He Himself likewise partook of the same things,
that through death
He might destroy the one who has the power of death,
that is, the devil,
and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery…
For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Heb 2:11-18 ESV
I create new heavens and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create;
I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
and her people to be a gladness.
Isa 65:17-18 ESV
‘Tetelestai!’ He said.
It has been finished and accomplished,
There is nothing more to be done.
Fierce joy shot through Him,
Eclipsing agony for a moment,
All He could see in that instant
Were the mighty, numberless throng
Of men who were no longer captives
Men freed to wear a crown.
‘All that I am, I give to you
All that I have, I give to you
With My Body I honour you
I pledge my troth to you:
I have set you as a seal on My heart,
I have set you as a seal on My arm.
I will be with you to the end of the ages
Not even death can tear us apart.’
Tetelestai! He had made a way
To return home to His Father’s heart
And make His home in our hearts.
Earth meets heaven, and in Him both are made one.
Behold, here is Jehovah-Shammah
The dwelling of the Eternal One!
“… Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Heb 12:2 ESV
“And I will betroth you to me forever.
I will betroth you to me in righteousness
and in justice,
in steadfast love and in mercy.
I will betroth you to me in faithfulness.
And you shall know the LORD.”
Hos 2:19-20 ESV
Τετέλεσται. Tetelestai. It has been finished. It has been accomplished. Paid in full. No more claims to be made on this account. Every legal requirement has been met.
Tetelestai: All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant cancelled and nailed to Christ’s Cross.
Tetelestai: The former slave masters of unrighteousness have been stripped of their power and authority. The shackles of sin have been broken, the prison of fear gapes open wide. The sinful-self nailed to the cross.
Tetelestai: no longer a helpless servant to sin, mindlessly dragged this way and that to do the enemy’s will. Moved out of the kingdom of darkness, into the light of the kingdom of God. Now, a willing slave to righteousness, to the praise of the glory of the Father above.
Tetelestai: set free from the tyranny of sin to walk in newness of life. Set free to intimately know and enjoy the Father. Set free to worship Him and do His will. Set free to carry His glory and image once more.
Tetelestai: the veil is torn. There is no need to hide. No longer held back from the Father by fear. Reconciled to the Father Almighty through the death of His Son, with boldness we enter His heart.
Tetelestai: the middle wall of partition between races and gender has been torn down. In union with Christ, a new people are born, not of the will of man, but of God. Born of seed incorruptible, to be a holy nation, a royal priesthood, the beloved treasure of God.
Tetelestai: Mercy and truth are kissed together. Grace has triumphed over death. Grace now reigns through righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Joh 19:30 ESV