It would be hard to beat the powerful effect of brokenness on our worship – when we truly see ourselves in light of who Jesus is and bow in humble response.
It’s all too common for Christians to quickly brush off sin. We say a short prayer asking for forgiveness, but don’t often enough take the time to grasp the impact of our sin on our relationship with God or to comprehend His willingness and power to forgive it.
Remember the Pharisees? This one in particular invited Jesus to his house for dinner (Luke 7:36-50) when an unexpected – or even unwelcomed – guest arrived. But this guest didn’t come for the food. She heard Jesus was there, and her brokenness compelled her to track Him down and empty herself at His feet. That’s where her contrite heart soaked in His amazing mercy as she wiped His tear-covered feet with her hair – kissing and anointing them with perfume.
The Pharisee’s thoughts of this woman weren’t surprising: “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner” (v.39).
And Jesus answered the Pharisee’s thoughts with a parable about how someone forgiven a large debt will love the forgiver more than he who had been forgiven little. Then . . .
“Turning toward 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 has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. “You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. “You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for [that is why] she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven” (Luke 7: 44.48).
The Pharisee failed to recognize who Jesus was. He didn’t see His holiness, His power, His truth, or His love. Instead He misunderstood and underestimated his dinner guest. He didn’t even offer Him the courtesy He owed a common guest in his own home. Much less respond to who Jesus truly was.
In contrast, this despised woman gave from the very depths of her broken soul to the Man she recognized as worthy. Her kisses weren’t just lip service in hopes of being let off the hook for her sin. The Greek words show that she kissed Him profusely and her tears fell uncontrollably. And seeing her faith (v.50) and brokenness, He forgave her.
Whether we’re guilty of the immorality of this woman or something much less repulsive in our own eyes, the truth is it’s a debt none of us can afford to pay. It’s a debt that requires our place at His feet where our brokenness gives way to His mercy and holiness in humble repentance.
And whether our expression to our Forgiver comes in the form of uncontrollable tears or quiet whispers, He knows and responds to the intent of our hearts.
And here’s the real kicker: This woman didn’t know that Jesus was about to die for her sins. She didn’t yet understand the price that He was willing to pay for the actions that separated her from God and repulsed the Pharisee.
But we do.
How much more should our hearts respond in brokenness when we see our stains, great or small, in the light of His incomprehensible sacrifice and mercy? How much more!
It’s indescribable. Incalculable. The debt we owe is so much greater than what this woman could’ve possibly conceived!
And that should drive us to His nail-scarred feet in unbridled worship.
Ask to see His glory. Strive to grasp His holiness and mercy. And respond.
Why True Worship Requires Your Surrendered Heart
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