Radical Love: Freedom

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;” Psalm 146:8

As part of His mission on earth, Jesus taught in the Jewish synagogue on the Sabbath day each week. When He finished teaching that week, He saw a woman who “…was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years.  She was bent over and could not straighten up at all”. (Luke 13:11).  He called the woman over.  Because she was crippled, getting to Jesus was extremely painful for her, but she came anyway because faith was already at work in her heart. He said, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity”. Luke 13:13. She immediately straightened up and began to praise God.  Those who believed rejoiced with her.  But the religious did not rejoice because they hated Jesus and they had no concern for the afflicted woman.  They were powerless to help her even if they did care. Their default reaction was anger and condemnation.

Jesus called out their hypocrisy.  He told them that they were in the habit of loosening their animals to water them on the Sabbath, and now they denied this woman her healing.  He continued, “Should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” (Luke13:13). The radical love, compassion and excellent grace of Jesus broke through tradition and gave this woman her physical and spiritual freedom. (I wonder sometimes if they even cared about the Sabbath) Religion could only condemn.  Jesus came to save.

The nameless woman was there at the synagogue according to her usual practice.  We can liken it to going to church every Sunday today. She didn’t expect the Master Teacher to be her Healer, too, and that her eighteen years of bondage would suddenly end.  He is the same today, yesterday, and forever, my friends.  Believe today, right now, and be healed.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon Me, for the Lord has anointed Me
    to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released, and prisoners will be freed”.  Isaiah 61:1

Radical Love: A Servant’s Heart

Radical Love: A Servant’s Heart

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

Jesus taught His disciples many things during their time together.  In the last week of His life, He taught them the lesson of radical service in the Kingdom:  washing one another’s feet.  This is far from the darkness of the forced subjugation of African people and many others in our day. Jesus is Light.  He is Love.  Read His heart as the scene opens: “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end (the last and to the highest degree)” (John 13:1).  From this sacred place of love, Jesus served.  It was as natural as breathing, as it must be for us. 

The act of washing feet is also an act of humility.  It brings us all down to the same lowly place.  The disciples, like us, vied for the highest place.  But Jesus showed them another way.    “Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’  But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22, emphasis mine) 

Though His mind and heart were heavy with the anticipation of His own death, He took the towel and the water and knelt before His disciples.  The Cross was Jesus ultimate act of love: “…He gave up His divine privileges,He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.  When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:7-8) 

When you accept Him as Savior and Lord, He comes to dwell in you by the Holy Spirit.  You’ll have the power to walk as He walked, in radical love and service.  On this Resurrection Sunday, open your heart and surrender your life to the One Who gave His for you.

Radical Love: Sins Forgiven

“Jesus said: Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:48,50

There are many who are not named in the gospels.  That doesn’t make them any less important.  The nameless woman in Luke 7 comes in while Jesus is having dinner with a religious leader, Simon.  She is thought to have been a prostitute.  Jesus at some point healed her and forgave her sins and she came to show her love and appreciation by washing His feet. In those days, because everyone wore sandals, their feet were dusty.  It was a custom to remove the sandals and have the feet washed.  Simon invited Jesus and had the table set, but he didn’t bother to wash Jesus’ dusty feet. The moment the woman began to do what he should have done, Simon’s thought was: “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”  In other words, Simon turned up his nose at the woman and Jesus.  Jesus’ radical love had already touched her life, now she was loving Him in return: “She knelt behind Him at His feet, weeping. Her tears fell on His feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing His feet and putting perfume on them”. (verse 38)

Jesus knew Simon’s thoughts, so He told a story of a man who owed a huge debt.  His debtor demanded it all at once, but the man had no money.  The merciful debtor forgave his debt.  The lesson Jesus wanted to teach in this story was that the person forgiven much will love much, but the one who is forgiven little, loves little.  The woman had a debt of sin she couldn’t repay.  Jesus, the merciful One, forgives her, cancels her debt.  She loves much.  Simon believed he wasn’t as bad as the woman, so he gave Jesus no love at all.  Listen to Jesus’ beautiful words: “He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves littleThen He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven. And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Jesus acknowledges her sin and He has the authority to do something about it.  The woman was repentant.  Jesus never turns away a repentant soul pleading for mercy.  If it was up to Simon, he would have thrown her out of the house.  Jesus allowed her worship and sent her away in peace.  Hallelujah, what a Savior!  Come to Him today and find forgiveness.

Radical Love: Not Condemned

Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:11

“Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

The religious leaders were bent on getting a reason to accuse Jesus of wrongdoing.  They brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to Him for judgment. According to the law, if anyone committed adultery, they were to be stoned to death. They waited for Jesus to pronounce judgment upon her, but that didn’t happen.  Condemnation fell upon them as Jesus’ words caused their own sin to rise before their eyes.  What these men didn’t understand about Jesus was His purpose in coming to earth.  They did not grasp that God is love and His mercy endures forever.  They tried to use the law to make a fool out of Jesus.  It only served to the reveal the depths of His love and mercy.  He came to seek and to save the lost, not find ways to destroy them. On the Cross, Jesus bore the condemnation for sin so that the lost could go free. This radical love reaches down to us today and is open to all who would believe on Him. What a blessed Savior!

What about you?  Do your sins condemn you?  Come to Jesus.  He bore your judgment and stands ready to pronounce you “not condemned”.