Lest We Forget to Be a Neighbor

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Judges 19-21; Luke 7:31-50


36 One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to eat with him. After he entered the Pharisee’s home, he took his place at the table. 37 Meanwhile, a woman from the city, a sinner, discovered that Jesus was dining in the Pharisee’s house. She brought perfumed oil in a vase made of alabaster. 38 Standing behind him at his feet and crying, she began to wet his feet with her tears. She wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and poured the oil on them. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw what was happening, he said to himself, If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. He would know that she is a sinner.

40 Jesus replied, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

“Teacher, speak,” he said.

41 “A certain lender had two debtors. One owed enough money to pay five hundred people for a day’s work.[d] The other owed enough money for fifty. 42  When they couldn’t pay, the lender forgave the debts of them both. Which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the largest debt canceled.”

Jesus said, “You have judged correctly.”

44 Jesus turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your home, you didn’t give me water for my feet, but she wet my feet with tears and wiped them with her hair. 45  You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet since I came in. 46  You didn’t anoint my head with oil, but she has poured perfumed oil on my feet. 47  This is why I tell you that her many sins have been forgiven; so she has shown great love. The one who is forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other table guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this person that even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50, Common English Bible)

As I was reading the passage for today, my mind went to a couple of things. First, I thought about the Hebrew hospitality mores or laws (depending on who you ask). For the Jews to invite people to a dinner party and not offering the most common courtesy in that society, offering water one would use for the washing of feet. Jesus doesn’t say if the host provided water for the other guests. Was Jesus singled out or was the guy rude to everyone.

We can also see the rudeness in that the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hear and anointed him with oil was not only a social outcast, but it seems evident to me that, though she seems to be allowed into this private home, she is shunned by all but Jesus once inside.

The second thing I thought about was in relationship to the rudeness of the story. My thoughts went to the late Fred Rogers. There is a documentary and also, but unrelated full-featured film on the children’s television icon. In the trailer for the documentary Rogers says, “The greatest thing we can do is to help somebody know that they are loved and capable of loving.’ The only person to seemingly show love to this woman was Jesus who, as he will do for all of us, forgave her sins.

Rogers asked the question, “Won’t you be my neighbor.” Jesus said, in essence, we are all neighbors to each other. But to me, to ask Rogers question, and I think he would agree, to ask you to be my neighbor would mean I need to be your neighbor too. To ask you to love me would mean I need to love you as well.

As I was getting my thoughts together for this post I was listening to my wife practice a talk for “Walk to Emmaus” she will preview this Saturday. Her talk has the title, “Changing our world.” I found it interesting listening to her talk of changing the world and my thoughts about hospitality and being a neighbor during two activities loosely related.

In her talk Cindy quoted Micah 6:8, “He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.” Those words seem to fit nicely into Mr. Rogers neighborhood. They were also words the Pharisees and many of us could learn to live by.

My mind also went to Hebrews 13:2, “Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it.” Quite possibly, at least by his television persona, one of the most humble of people in history, invited thousands of children into his television home each day. It seems to me, Mr. Rogers did change the world.

We live in a world that would probably be like “Old Home Week” to the Pharisees. We need a world more like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. How our world needs him. How much many of us miss him.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

One thought on “Lest We Forget to Be a Neighbor

  1. Rev. Peter Storey says that when Jesus knocks at the door of your heart, he is asking to come in and asks if he can bring all his friends as well. When we invite Jesus into our hearts, we invite our neighbors too!

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