Jesus is always accessible. How else can we interpret His words: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” And if we are honest, we have to acknowledge that we are all weary and burdened so the invitation is to all of us.

Then why is it so hard sometimes to “get to Jesus”?

Luke records in his gospel (7:36-50) an account of woman, known for her sinful life, who wants to get to Jesus. She hears that Jesus is dining at the home of Simon, a Pharisee, and decides that this is her opportunity. However, she is going to have to break through some obstacles to get to Him.

First is the challenge of her own mind. Before she takes even one step, there is a battle within her. She has heard about, perhaps even seen Jesus speaking to sinners and healing the unclean; yes, she, too, can go to Him. But another voice within shamefully reminds her of her life of sin; undoubtedly, she is too dirty to approach the Master. She chooses to believe and leaves her home.

Once at the house of Simon a new set of obstacles appear. It is a gathering of men and she is not welcome. As a woman she has no right to intrude on this meeting of men, especially these “holy” men. Who knows what they might do when she weaves her way into the room? Will they physically restrain her and cast her out? And even if they do not touch her, what words will she hear? They know she is a woman and a sinful one at that. Will she be able to bear their judgment and harsh, condemning words? She is already carrying a load of shame; will she be crushed under the shame they will heap upon her? 

Nonetheless, she pushes on – to the last obstacle. Should she actually pour the perfume on Jesus? Is it right to let her unholy tears drop on His feet? And dare she let down her hair to wipe those precious feet? Should she fear such intimacy with God? In a last great moment of resolve, she kneels at His feet – she has broken through to Jesus – and it will change her life forever!

As this is happening, Jesus makes a curious statement to his host: “Do you see this woman?”  Of course, Simon “saw” her – she was mere feet away. But I think Jesus may have been asking if Simon was capable of seeing this woman the way He did. 

Simon self-righteously judged her to be an inappropriate, intrusive, unworthy, dirty sinner – someone to be judged or at least overlooked. He sees her but he does not “see” her.

Jesus, on the other hand, always “sees” a person who makes the extraordinary effort to break through to get to Him. And He knew exactly what she needed in that moment so he acknowledged her love and forgave her sin. 

Don’t give up, folks! Push past the voices of all the others and even your own internal voice and break through to Jesus. He is waiting for you – and it will change your life.

Pastor Jim

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