Did you know you can be filled with Bible knowledge and still be separated from the Lord? Consider the host of the dinner in Luke 7, Simon. He was a learned man who knew the Pentateuch. He knew the Law of Moses. He could no doubt have run rings around all of us in terms of his knowledge of the Bible of his time.
But in spite of Simon's intellectual knowledge, he was separated from God. He was not connected to Him in spirit.
The fact is, you may have gone to Bible college and seminary. You may know Greek and Hebrew. But what's the use if you don't know how to get in touch with Jesus?
We need to know how to reach Him--how to forget about ourselves, concentrate on Him and worship Him. After all, He is all our righteousness; we stand complete only in Him. That's our power!
It doesn't matter how much we preach and teach. Unless we know how to enter into the presence of God and get His attention, our efforts are fruitless.
OVERCOMING GUILT The worshiping woman in Luke 7 gave Jesus her all. She held nothing back. And as a result, she gained the attention of the Lord.
She needed that attention. She needed the power of God in her life. She needed to hear Jesus' words to her: "Your sins are forgiven...Your faith has saved you. Go in peace" (Luke 7:48,50).
After all, she was known in town as a "sinner." She had been dramatically transformed by her relationship with the Savior, but she still had to walk that out before people who would scoff and criticize and try to pull her back into her old way of life.
She couldn't afford to worship Jesus halfheartedly. She needed courage and power to face the challenges that lay before her.
How about you? Many of us worship as if we have it all together. We don't need anything from the Lord. We don't need His forgiveness as much as the next person.
But Jesus told the Pharisees at that dinner, "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 little" (Luke 7:47). Are we worshiping as ones who "love little"?
Jesus perceived this woman's faith through her loving worship. In response, He offered her forgiveness of her sins. No longer would she be held back, as so many of us are, by a sense of her own unworthiness and guilt.
Guilt is a thief--it steals our confidence and weakens our spiritual authority base. It keeps us from using our spiritual gifts and speaking out boldly. Just as we get up enough courage to begin to sing or pray or preach, the devil whispers in our ear: "Who do you think you are? You can't do that--you're a failure and a fraud."
And usually he is right! We have all made bad choices. We all "fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). We are all sinners in need of hearing Jesus say, "You're forgiven."
The Word tells us, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). When we worship with the kind of abandon that says, "Here I am, warts and all; take all of me," Jesus is faithful to tell us, "I love you just the way you are. Your sins are forgiven."
Whenever we feel down on ourselves, whenever we find ourselves sinking into a "pity party," we have only to worship to hear the voice of our loving, forgiving Savior--and we will emerge from that experience fresh, guiltless and new in Him.
A PROPHETIC ACT Because of this woman's wholehearted worship, she was given a special gift that not even the disciples who walked daily with the Lord had received: She caught a glimpse of the glory of God and the true nature of Jesus' mission on behalf of mankind. Though the disciples looked at Jesus and saw a conquering hero and political leader who would overthrow Roman rule in Israel, this woman saw a suffering Savior who would soon give His life for sinners on a brutal and lonely Roman cross.
After drying Christ's feet with her hair, she took a flask of expensive oil and began to anoint Him with the same loving, worshipful abandon. The disciples protested, "'Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor'" (Mark 14:4-5). But there is no waste in worship to Jesus.
"'Let her alone,'" He responded. "'She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial'" (Mark 14:6,8).
What happened? In worship, this woman became perceptive. She became prophetic. Judas had not yet gone to betray Jesus, and yet she knew what lay ahead. Jesus would die, and He would need to have His body anointed in preparation for burial.