Having A “Jesus Moment”?

We never know when a “Jesus moment” might happen. We may not even realize that it’s underway.
That certainly happened to a Pharisee, according to the Gospel of Luke. The Pharisee invited Jesus to eat with him, and some others. Hearing that Jesus would be dining at that house, a woman, described as a “sinner,” slipped inside. She brought an alabaster jar of ointment and stood behind Jesus throughout the meal, weeping and bathing his feet with her tears, then drying them with her hair.
The Pharisee—as might some day happen with us—has no idea who is really eating with him. “If this man were a prophet,” he said to himself, “he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.”
Jesus reads his mind, which must have unsettled the Pharisee, and tells him, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love.”
Jesus describes the woman’s actions with perfect clarity. Great love is exactly what she showed him.
Importantly, Jesus never once tried to stop her. The tears, the kisses, the hair, the ointment—he accepted them all with tremendous grace, with an open heart, with, in fact, love. He accepted them in the same spirit with which they had been given. The woman knocked, so to speak, and the door to Christ’s love was opened for her.
One might surmise that the Pharisee was so taken aback at what he was seeing that he was speechless and did not have the woman thrown out. He wasn’t saying any such thing but he was certainly thinking that Jesus should not have engaged in such behavior.
Several things are going on in this lesson—forgiveness is certainly a theme, as is, of course, the role of faith in healing and salvation, and also the prominent role of women in the ministry of Jesus. But what also declares itself is the deep intimacy of what Jesus and the woman shared together and what it tells us about the kind of relationship Jesus and God, through the Holy Spirit, wish to have with the us—a loving relationship. Or, in the words of Jesus, himself, a relationship of “great love.”
God wants to do more than go out with people on Sunday mornings. God wants it all, the whole enchilada, to go steady, a full-on relationship of great love and deep commitment.
But, with all the static the world throws at humanity, it can sometimes be hard for people to know that they would be on the receiving end of a “Jesus moment” if they’d only stop and free themselves to receive the Holy Spirit’s “hug.” The learned and well-respected Pharisee let his sense of self-importance, self-righteousness, and the great store of “religious wisdom” that filled his head blind him to what his eyes saw but his heart did not understand.
There is no evidence that the Pharisee, and the others sharing the meal, had any idea at all about the true significance of the “Jesus moment” that was happening right under their noses.
They were too busy being judgmental, about the woman and Jesus, who tells the woman her sins are forgiven, stirring the indignation of those around the table.
Jesus is not dissuaded from showing the woman that God loves her, however. “Your faith has saved you,” he says. “Go in peace.”
We have no idea how the remainder of this woman’s life story goes. She is one of many people who come and go, in and out of profound scenes with Jesus, never to be heard from again within the Bible.
It’s probably safe to say, however, that the seed of God’s love that Jesus undoubtedly planted in her heart that day blossomed into full bloom.
And what of the Pharisee? We don’t know about him, either. It’s nice to imagine that the dramatic scene between Jesus and the woman, and how Jesus explained his message of “great love” to the Pharisee, eventually worked its way through the intellectual wall that so often keeps people from receiving the kingdom of God like a little child.
Or, like a woman who knew a “Jesus moment” when she was having one.

2 thoughts on “Having A “Jesus Moment”?

  1. I love your writing! And there is something very special and lovely about how timely your pieces are for me. Thank you for sharing your gift.


  2. That is so beautiful to know, Susan, and I am deeply glad for it. Many peoples’ words have been Holy Spirit timely for me through the years. It’s wonderful to know that I can give that same experience to you,


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