As I noted in an earlier post, I well remember when my good Muslim friend from Gaza poked my chest with his finger and said to me,
“I swear to you, Mark, I love Jesus more than you do!”
Sadly, my response was not what I would say now. I think it was kind of argumentative. A bit competitive. Maybe not so loving! But now – now I might say – “Wow, that’s great! Tell me what you love about Jesus. Why do you love him so much? Let’s talk!”
Dear Muslim friends, you all tell me that you love Jesus. That you have to love him to be a good Muslim because he is one of the prophets.
But tell me please, what exactly do you love about Jesus?
Why do you love him?
And. . .how much do you love him?
In the Injeel, there is an incredible story about a woman who loved Jesus. The woman is simply known as “a woman who lived a sinful life.” Though the text (The Gospel of Luke 7:36-50) does not specifically say it, she is thought to have been a prostitute.
She “learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”
What this woman did was first of all socially unacceptable. To let down her hair in public was a sign of an immoral woman. She risked more rejection. Next, what she did was extravagant. The perfume she used on Jesus was no doubt very expensive. But she didn’t care.
Her love for Jesus was not:
No, her love was:
Why such a display of love by this woman for Jesus? He tells Simon, the Pharisee:
“Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven — as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
What did this woman love about Jesus? Forgiveness. She saw it in his eyes and heard it in his voice. Now she had the removal of the horrible stain of sin. Now she was washed clean. Spotless before a holy God. Something she had never known and something she thought she would never experience.
Jesus saw her repentant heart and granted her a gift she could never earn and never repay: forgiveness.
Now she could start a new life, a different life. A life pleasing to God.
That is why she loved Jesus so much.
I want to love Jesus like this woman. I want to learn to express my love to him as freely, joyfully, thankfully, and sincerely.
What about you?
Why . . .do you . . .love Jesus?
How much. . . do you. . .love Jesus?