Tag Archives: Christ

Heart of a Pharisee or a sinner?

While reading and re-reading Luke chapter 7 the past weeks, I am overwhelmed by so many facets of Christ that merely 50 verses bring to my mind and heart.  I have been particularly drawn to the experience in the house of one of the Pharisees.

Scripture says that “one of the Pharisees desired Him that He would eat with Him.” Christ went to the house of the Pharisee and shortly after, a woman in the city – which was a sinner – brought an alabaster box and stood at His feet.  This may be a very familiar exchange, but it never ceases to flood my heart upon reading it.  I close my eyes and I envision this woman, a known sinner, who comes before the King of kings with her meager offering.  She breaks the alabaster box, perhaps reflecting that her heart was broken, and poured it out upon Him.  She wept and washed His feet with those tears, more of her brokenness overflowing upon Him.  He received her brokenness.

Let that sink in. He received her brokenness.  He didn’t send her away.  He didn’t say she wasn’t refined or perfect enough yet.  He received her. Now, let that sink in and wash over you.  He receives you.  He receives you.

However, the Pharisee spoke within himself, “this man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touches him: for she is a sinner.” This Pharisee could not imagine a man of God that would receive such a broken vessel.

Matthew Henry’s commentary on this happening is as follows:

None can truly perceive how precious Christ is, and the glory of the gospel, except the broken-hearted. But while they feel they cannot enough express self-abhorrence on account of sin, and admiration of his mercy, the self-sufficient will be disgusted, because the gospel encourages such repenting sinners. The Pharisee, instead of rejoicing in the tokens of the woman’s repentance, confined his thoughts to her former bad character. But without free forgiveness none of us can escape the wrath to come; this our gracious Saviour has purchased with his blood, that he may freely bestow it on every one that believes in him…Let us keep far from the proud spirit of the Pharisee, simply depending upon and rejoicing in Christ alone, and so be prepared to obey him more zealously, and more strongly to recommend him unto all around us. The more we express our sorrow for sin, and our love to Christ, the clearer evidence we have of the forgiveness of our sins. What a wonderful change does grace make upon a sinner’s heart and life, as well as upon his state before God, by the full remission of all his sins through faith in the Lord Jesus!”

A deep question has permeated me::do you have a heart like this Pharisee or a heart like this “sinful woman”?  Do you have a heart that is too proud to acknowledge your origin and your need for Christ?  Or, do you have a heart that will pour out all to Him, beckoning the only One that can receive your brokenness and your whole?

Let Him say of me, “her sins, which were many, are forgiven; for she loved much.”

Be blessed,

Crystal

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Greatness through Serving

Matthew 20:25-28 reads “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

I love this portion of scripture, as Jesus brings an earth-shattering truth to the forefront. Many desire to be great in the eyes of humanity and God. However, Jesus spoke forth a beautiful truth::whoever will be great, must be a servant.

If you look at the definition of the word “minister,” it means to run on errands, an attendant, a waiter [at a table or in other menial duties]. The word “servant” means subservient. And when Jesus states that the Son of man even came to minister, that means an attendant, to wait upon [menially or as a host, friend or teacher].

In our current structure [be it the church, workplace, family life, what have you], many believe that in order to gain you must be in front of the crowd, all eyes on you and carrying the loudest message. I beg to differ. Jesus simply stated that in order to be great [strong, mighty, exceedingly great], you must humble yourself and attend to others. If our Lord and Savior was an attendant, host and friend then why shouldn’t we be?

The most phenomenal closing to His statement is that because He was walking in a lifestyle of a minister [attendant, host, friend], He gave His life a ransom for many. I love the depth of the word ransom here::something to loosen with, a redemption price; to break, destroy, dissolve, melt, wreck, crack, a shattering to minute fragments, and to give vent to joyful emotions.

If, as a servant, Jesus brought the fullness of redemption and destruction of the hold of sin on the lives of men, then what can we accomplish in that same lifestyle of servant-hood?

Let us embrace a heartfelt attitude of serving others, not for the outcome of greatness, but knowing that our Lord Jesus walked in a life of serving.

“A great man is always willing to be little.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blessings,
Crystal

Fault between thee

I would venture to say that our culture is largely based on competition and gossip, i.e. the idle talk or rumor of the personal affairs of another. Therefore, we have bred a society in which we turn to anyone [and everyone] to vent about an issue as opposed to going to the source. This is something that I see as a downfall of mine at times. It seems more simple to vent about “Susie” to my husband instead of going to her and admitting that what she said or did hurt me.
The gospel of Matthew says “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”
The word trespass in this portion of scripture simply means to miss the mark, to err, to offend or cause division. This has happened to all of us at one point or another. Our friend, family member, co-worker or a passerby has said or done something that missed the mark of what we expected of them. We seem to instantly take this to heart and begin to mull over the offense, which widens the division initially caused. Despite the fact that Christ is very clear about the proper order of things, we tend to do what comes most comfortably.

To avoid any confusion, I am speaking this to myself first. Saying, “hey Crystal, remember that Christ said to go to that person FIRST so that they could hear and understand your heart in the matter and you would gain them back into your life?” Out of division and into unity and harmony again. I love that, in Him, there is a perfect order for everything. [note that He even states what other actions to take if going directly to the source doesn’t work]

I see that Matthew Henry says, “If a professed Christian is wronged by another, he ought not to complain of it to others, as is often done merely upon report, but to go to the offender privately, state the matter kindly, and show him his conduct. This would generally have all the desired effect with a true Christian, and the parties would be reconciled. The principles of these rules may be practised every where, and under all circumstances, though they are too much neglected by all. But how few try the method which Christ has expressly enjoined to all his disciples! In all our proceedings we should seek direction in prayer; we cannot too highly prize the promises of God.”
And goes further to state, “We do not forgive our offending brother aright, if we do not forgive from the heart. Yet this is not enough; we must seek the welfare even of those who offend us. How justly will those be condemned, who, though they bear the Christian name, persist in unmerciful treatment of their brethren! The humbled sinner relies only on free, abounding mercy, through the ransom of the death of Christ. Let us seek more and more for the renewing grace of God, to teach us to forgive others as we hope for forgiveness from him.”

All in all, my time in the Word today was largely focused on this principle. It is one that many, both in the Church and out, struggle with. We must first see that Christ spoke this order, therefore we should adhere. We must then know the freedom from fear of speaking our heart to a brother, sister, mother, acquaintance. Once this occurs, unity among brethren will prevail.

Blessings,
Crystal