September 21, 2021

The More Excellent Way

Scripture Reading — Luke 7:36-48

The one whose walk is blameless will minister to me. — Psalm 101:6

Psalm 101 doesn’t make me think of Jesus—not at first. The poet sounds proud of his personal holiness. He seems a bit full of himself. “I will be careful to lead a blameless life,” he says (v. 2).

From there, the poet expresses all the ways he will distance himself from people who don’t measure up to his standards. And it’s not just a passive distancing. He intends to drive unworthy people away (v. 8). And he will only exchange hospitality with people who are faithful, like himself (v. 6).

This is when I start thinking of Jesus. Because Jesus fills out the meaning of this psalm by turning it on its head.

The Pharisee in Luke 7 might well have had a special affection for Psalm 101. He certainly limited his hospitality. Apparently even Jesus didn’t measure up! The Pharisee provided no water to wash Jesus’ feet (v. 44), no kiss to greet him (v. 45), and no oil to anoint him (v. 46).

But Jesus welcomed tears and kisses and perfume from a woman who was considered unworthy. And when he offered the generous hospitality of forgiveness, it brought forth an outpouring of love from the woman.

Jesus, the blameless one, ministered not only to the woman but also to his proud host. Jesus’ way is the more excellent way.

Prayer

Jesus, may your mercy always summon an outpouring of love from me—and not just for people who might seem worthy. Amen.