Saving Faith Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
It’s hard for us to appreciate the inner struggles of this woman as she crossed the threshold of Simon's house. She probably thought he would throw her out after embarrassing her in front of his guests. She imagined he would say something like this to her, “Get out of my house, you immoral woman, how dare you come around good honest men.” But, regardless of what happens, she passes through the door, and she comes to where the feet of the Savior are stretched out towards the entrance as he is reclining at the table, and there she stands. Simon glared at her.He thought his look would make her shrivel up, but her love for Christ was too deeply entrenched to be withered away by him. It would have been easy for anyone to see he was angry, and was horrified that such a creature was anywhere near him, but she didn’t pay any attention to him.
Her Lord was there, and she felt safe. She wasn’t nervous and she didn’t tremble while Jesus was near. And, she didn’t return Simon's snooty looks, because her eyes were full of tears. And she did not turn away from Jesus to insist on an explanation of his unkindness toward her, because her lips were all engrossed with kissing those dear feet. Her Lord was everything to her. She overcame her fears through faith in Him, and she held her ground, and did not leave Simon’s house until Jesus dismissed her with "Go in peace."
It was the same with the blind man. He said, "Son of David, have mercy on me." But, the crowd cried out, "Hush! Why are you in such an uproar, blind beggar? His words are music, so do not interrupt him. Never has any man spoke like he is speaking. How dare you spoil it all for us?” But overall their objections the persistent prayer of the blind man went up to God, "Son of David, have mercy upon me," and we know he succeeded.
All true faith is opposed by one thing or another. If your faith has never been tested, you might have a problem, since Satan tests every Child of God. Paul wrote, "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." What he infers is that there must be something to overcome, and that your faith must wage war for its existence. Once more, the faith of these two persons was similar in that they stated their faith openly. I cannot say that the statement took the same form in both cases, since it didn’t; but both of them made their faith visible to all.
Can you see the Savior as He prepares to eat a meal at Simon’s house, and the weeping woman who comes to Jesus for forgiveness?
She loves him, and she isn’t ashamed to say so? They may criticize her, and they will certainly rake up the old criticisms against her, since she has been a sinner. But she doesn’t care what they say or who they are.She loves her Lord, and she will show it. She has brought the ointment and she will anoint his feet, even in the presence of Pharisees, Pharisees who would say, "Is this one of the disciples of Christ? Someone He would brag about! She’ll make a fine subject, for His kingdom! She is a prostitute and a disciple! What’s next, what’s next?" She must have known and felt all of it, but still, she didn’t conceal her love. She loved her Lord, and she would admit it, and so in the house of the Pharisee, she comes forward, and by her actions she says, "I love him.” She showed her love with her tears, and by the ointment she used, and with every lock of her hair. Without saying a word she conveyed eloquently that I am my Lord's and He is mine. She acknowledged her faith.
And so did the blind man. He did not sit there and say, "I know He is the Son of David, but I must not say it." The men and women in the crowd said, some of them mockingly, and others indifferently, "It is Jesus of Nazareth." But he could not speak of Jesus that way. Instead, he said in a voice that rose high above the noise of the crowd, "Thou Son of David." The blind beggar showed great judgment and courage when he proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of David, and then asked for mercy.
Are there any of you here today who are ashamed of your faith in Christ? If there is, I am also ashamed of you, and so will Christ be ashamed of you when He returns in glory and all of His holy angels are with him. Anyone who is ashamed to say, "I love my Lord," could be an enemy of Christ. If you love him, say it. Join the army of Christ and come forward and say publicly, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." The faith of the sinful woman and the blind beggar was the same then in these four ways.
It was set on Christ alone, and it was accompanied with a sense of unworthiness, and it shamelessly showed itself to all comers. Both of them had a similar faith, but they expressed it differently.
First, the woman's faith acted like a woman's faith. She showed her tender love for Jesus; it’s the affections of women that are so wonderful. Her love was intense, womanly love, and she poured it out upon the Savior.
The man's faith acted like a man's faith in that it contained determination and strength. He kept on shouting, "Thou Son of David." It would not have been acceptable for the woman's voice to be heard so boldly above the crowd; and it would have seemed out of place for a man's tears to have been falling upon the Savior’s feet. You could justify either one, but they would not have been equally acceptable. But now they are just as appropriate as they are excellent. The woman acted like a godly woman should. The man, like a godly man.
Did you notice that the woman acted like a woman who had been a sinner? So, what is more, appropriate than tears? And can you think of a more fitting place for her than at the Savior’s feet? She had been a sinner and she acts like a sinner; and the man who had been a beggar acted like a beggar. What does a beggar do? He shouts for alms? Today, we might say that he asks for a handout. "Son of David," he said, "have mercy on me." I would not want to be either the beggar or the repenting woman, because they must have been very self-conscious of their circumstances and the attention given to them. Faith works according to the condition, circumstances, sex, or ability of the person in whom it lives, and it should overflow the heart naturally. It should never be an artificial thing that we manufacture.
I want to point out that the woman did not speak. But, the man was not silent; he spoke; he spoke out, and his words were brilliant. I would say though, that the woman's silence spoke as impressively as the man's voice. Of the two, I think her tears wetting His feet, and her unbraided hair wiping His feet, was more eloquent than the cry, "Son of David, have mercy on me." However, both of them expressed themselves equally well; the silence was best for the woman with her tears, and the speech best for the man with his confident trust in Christ.
Friends, there is more than one way to serve and to honor Christ. Not all of us can be preachers, and I believe that some preachers should not be preachers. Sometimes, it is best to just sit still, think about Him and listen for that still small voice of the Holy Spirit.
There was even another difference between the two. The woman gave her ointment. But, the man did the opposite—he begged.
There are various ways of showing your love to Christ, which are equally good. She gave Him her ointment, and her tears, and then she gave Him the use of her hair. That showed her faith and love for Him. But the beggar didn’t give Jesus a thing, because he didn’t have anything to give. So he honored the Savior by appealing to His riches and great power. I can’t say that either one was better than the other, since I believe that both gave their whole heart, and Jesus doesn't ask any more than that from anyone.
The thoughts of the woman and the thoughts of the beggar were different too. Her thoughts were for the most part about the past, and her sins—that’s the reason for her tears. The reason she came to Jesus was to be forgiven. His thoughts were largely about the present, and he was not as much concerned about his sin as he was about his disability, and so he came with different thoughts. He expressed his thoughts in the request he made, "Lord, that I might receive my sight." There is a lesson here: Do not, compare your experience with that of another, since God is a God of wonderful variety.
Before we move on to the third point, I want to briefly give you the overall view of these two people.
Let’s examine this woman first. What a strange mix of feelings and actions came from her. She felt unworthy, and therefore she shed tears, nevertheless, she drew very near to Jesus. Her acts brought her near to Him and communicated her love to Him; she washed his feet with her tears, she wiped them with the hairs of her head, and meanwhile, she kissed them again and again. "She has not ceased," said Christ, "to kiss my feet." She was ashamed and yet she was bold at the same time. She couldn’t bring herself to look the Master in the face, so she approached him from behind; however, she dared to look Simon in his face and to remain in his house even when he ridiculed her. I want to add, she was despised by others in the room, but Christ honored her, and made Simon, who despised her, to feel little in her presence. I will also add, she was a great sinner, but she was a great saint too.