See Like Jesus By Andrea Hunter
How and what would it be like to see as Jesus sees continually? How would it change our thoughts, our responses, affections, and our very being? One of the most moving worship stories and windows into how Jesus sees is found in Luke 7:36-50.
Jesus is invited to Simon the Pharisee’s house for dinner. Whether like Nicodemus, spiritual curiosity has inspired this invitation or a desire to inspect or entrap Jesus isn’t really clear. The room is full of dinner guests, and humming with the activity of servants delivering food, responding to the needs and intricate customs and ritual involved in such a feast in the house of a Jewish leader. But at some point a shocking encounter takes place. (According to Jesus in verse 45, it began the moment he came in. whether this is literary license or accurate timekeeping, doesn’t really matter.) A woman is kneeling, bowed down at Jesus’ feet, weeping. “The tears,” recounts Jamieson in his commentary on Luke 36-50 (1882) “poured down in a flood upon his naked feet, as she bent down to kiss them; and deeming them rather fouled than washed by this, she hastened to wipe them off with the only towel she had, the long tresses of her own hair.”
How had the mystery woman of Luke 7 appeared so suddenly? Did she slip in stealthily from outside? Had she been hiding, perhaps behind a pillar or curtain? Women are not welcomed as guests at such events. However she came to be there, it took amazing courage… to dare to enter the world of men. A number of commentators have surmised she was a prostitute; if so, might some of the men in the room have been former clients? The ritual purity of anyone she might touch including Jesus would be defiled. If caught in this invasion of space, she most assuredly would have been cast out. Perhaps she was mistaken at first as a slave, since they, like people who serve in most cultures, are invisible, unseen. But there she is kneeling, pouring perfume on the feet of the One who had created her from the dust that she has washed away with her tears.
The Host Simon has seen the whole awkward, humiliating, and discomforting scene and deduced that if Jesus were truly a prophet, he would have known what kind of woman was anointing him: a sinner. A real prophet would have discerned her spirit and thrown the baggage out. Some of the Pharisees attempt to look away: they want to avoid the temptation implicit in viewing such a woman. It is impossible. Every eye is drawn to the scene in front of them and this uninvited visitor who has thrown away all semblance of propriety. This enigma, this human puzzle, willing to endure the depths of shame pouring on her from every corner of the room to bow and kiss the feet of her Savior. Jesus speaks to Simon, and all eyes move from the woman to this man from Galilee whose very existence has been stoking the fires of jealousy and judgment among the religious elite.
Jesus tells Simon (and with him, the entire room) a parable about two debtors owing money to the same moneylender. In the telling, Jesus is teaching them to see, and especially to see as He sees. One debt was enormous and the other small, but each was a debt that neither of the borrowers could repay. The moneylender generously forgives both debtors the entire amount due. Jesus queries Simon, “Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?” Simon gives the logical answer: “The one who was forgiven most.” Then Jesus asks, “Do you see this woman?” Obviously Simon had viewed her, taken her in with his eyes, judged her—and Jesus as well—yet, quite clearly he had not seen her. Jesus continues:
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 she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”
Lk 7:44-48 NASB
This story beckons us to enter in. it’s an “invitation” to embody and live the text. When we fall prostrate before God in tearful gratitude for His forgiveness, we become the Story. But better yet we see Him and in Him we see as He does. It is apt that this story of worship perfected takes place at a meal…at the Table. Each time we take communion, repent, receive God’s forgiveness, the invitation is renewed.
We are in Christ and if we look out through His eyes, we will see with love and forgiveness. We will see with righteous judgment that looks on the heart and not the outside (1 Sam 16:7). We will see into the future at the finished work of the ones who are presently floundering and see them through the eyes of faith (Isa 46:10, Phil 1:6), When we see like Jesus, our eyes will be on the broken, the humble, and what we take in will fill our souls with compassion (Isa 66:2b). We will see no cost as too high in extending the Gospel of salvation and redemption to His creation (Heb 12:2). We will notice as Jesus did that the people are hungry and we will feed them (Mk 8:2); we will notice when they are deluded and correct and confront them in love with the truth. We will see what the Father is doing as Jesus did and ask for His grace to live into it (John 5:18-20).
In Christ, we inhabit these stories; the Text becomes alive. As in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, or story of the rich young man, where we see the heart and actions of the protagonist and we also see the heart and character of Jesus and the Father. In the reading or telling of the story of the worshiping woman, at different times we may see ourselves in her, or in the onlookers or Simon the Pharisee.
“We are in Christ and if we look out through His eyes, we will see with love and forgiveness.”
The Living WORD
As worship leaders, we will bow and kiss Jesus’ feet as we embody and incarnate the textual reality of the worshiping woman. And because we are in Jesus we will also see the congregation as His beloved. We will feed them spiritual food that will truly nourish and form them. We will see them as one with us, fellow worshipers, not as “us” the worship team, and “them” the congregation. Together, we will prostrate ourselves in adoration and awe and gratitude and worship. The most common New Testament word for worship proskuneo—to bow, prostrate oneself and kiss the hand or feet of divinity or a superior—is a perfect match for our woman of bold humility.
We not only have the great privilege of joining this iconic woman in worship, acknowledging Christ’s mercy towards us, but we also have the opportunity to worship Him in such a way that our songs paint a tangible touchable reality to see and step into, for those who know Him, and those who are waiting to be introduced. “Meet your Savior who defeated the powers of sin and death for you and all of creation on the Cross”: our precious Jesus who is a constant hymn of mercy and grace. When we experience His forgiveness and see His glory and grandeur, we can only fall at His feet and wash them with tears of gratitude and wonder. When we see like Jesus, we see those around us—and ourselves—with Holy love.