Saturday, March 3, 2012

A "Yes" Face

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."  John 6:37 (KJV)

Thomas Jefferson was with a group of companions riding horseback cross-country when they came to a swollen river.  A wayfarer waited until several of the party had crossed and then hailed President Jefferson and asked if he would carry him across on his horse.  Jefferson pulled him up onto the back of his horse and carried him to the opposite bank.

"Tell me" asked one of the men, "Why did you select the president to ask this favor of?"

"The president?" the man answered.  "I didn't know he was the president!  All I know is that on some of the faces is written the answer "no", and on some of the faces is written the answer "yes".  His was a "yes" face."  

I believe Jesus had a "yes" face.  I believe that if you or I had passed Him on the streets of Judea, we would have been comfortable and even felt personally invited to ask Him for help.  I believe His eyes met the eyes of the people He passed, and I don't think He ever ignored a need.

Today's verse is a promise from His Own lips.  He promised that whoever came to Him, He would "in no wise cast out".  In no wise.  No matter how sinful we are or how far we've gone, He doesn't recoil from us and our need.  He didn't only make this promise....He lived it.  He proved it.

One of my favorite scenarios in Jesus' life is the one found in Luke 7:36-50 (KJV)  Jesus had been invited to share a meal in the home of Simon, a devout Pharisee.  A woman who was a sinner found out Jesus was there, and as He was eating, she crept silently into the house.  In her hands, she carried an alabaster box that contained expensive, fragrant ointment.  Where did she get it?  How long had she had it?  Did it hold sentimental value to her?  I believe in my heart that it was something very precious to her...and this is a fact that did not evade our Lord.

I can just picture her....the Bible says she stood behind Jesus.  Perhaps she felt unworthy to face Him because of the heavy weight of her many sins.  Can you imagine standing in the presence of holiness personified?  Every issue, every failure, every sin-blackened problem area would be there...laid transparent and wide open before Him.  The palpable guilt would be smothering and near unbearable.  It would be hard to look into His eyes....He, Who is holy, and pure, and perfectly righteous.  God Himself...seated the flesh...eating His supper.

Maybe the reason she was standing behind Him was to hide from the ugly stares of others in the room.  After all, they knew her.  They knew who she was...they knew her lifestyle and the way she conducted business.  As she stood there behind her Lord, love welled within spilled over, and she could no longer hold back!  This is what she had come to do, and no matter what, she would do it.  Ignoring the stares and disdain and contemptuous looks, she began to cry and her tears fell down hard to the floor, washing over the feet of God.  Feet that had walked long and were tired and dusty from the journey.

When the flowing of tears ebbed, she stooped forward.  As she did, the length of her hair fell around her, and she took the strands and dried the feet of God, gently erasing the tear-streaked dust from the road.

  What was He thinking?  Was her worship being accepted?  Did He really understand what was in her heart?  The adoration that swelled within her, overwhelmed her, compelled her to enter this house uninvited and take the chance of being publicly rebuked?  She had made herself vulnerable...a spectacle...everyone in the room had to be looking by now.

Unable to speak a word or meet His gaze, with eyes down turned, she bent further, and as her face came close to the floor, she repeatedly kissed God's feet.  She reached for her precious box...the one that held the fragrant ointment, and she opened it, allowing its contents to spill tenderly on to His feet, now washed and dried.  Such worship!  Such adoration and love and humility...just to be near Him!

I can just picture the look on His face, as He looked down and saw her heart.  His eyes spoke volumes of "yes", as He allowed her to minister to His needs in the best way she knew how.  There was no scorn, no condescension, no disparagement....just acceptance and a big "yes" that radiated from the windows of His soul.

Verse 39 says, "Now when the Pharisee which had bidden Him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if He were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him:  for she is a sinner."  Simon couldn't wrap his mind around the fact that Jesus could even bear for her to touch Him.  How could He???  This woman???  She was a sinner...a woman of ill-repute.  Why, if Jesus were really a true prophet, how could He allow this?  Why wasn't He pulling her sin-stained hands off His feet?  How could He bear for her tears to fall upon Him?  

Ah!  But, Jesus was not any ordinary man, and He surely was not a Pharisee.  He hated their mindset, and He reproved them often.  Jesus didn't need to hear Simon's voice to know his harsh thoughts .  He began to speak and to teach Simon a very serious and important lesson.  A lesson that hit Simon right in his judgmental, condemning, critical heart.

Oh, the relief she must have felt, as she quietly listened to His rebuke of the defense of her!  He wasn't angry with her.  He wasn't embarrassed by her presence.  He didn't mind that she had dared to touch Him.  That tears had fallen from her sinful eyes and dropped on His feet.  And the ointment...He recognized her sacrifice!  After He dealt with Simon and his derision of her, He turned to her with the most precious words she had ever-in-her-sinful-life heard, "Thy sins are forgiven!  Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace!"

What?  Did she hear Him right?  She was forgiven?  Like it never happened?  All of it...every act was erased from her slate?????  She arose, left Simon's house, and her life was never, ever the same.

Aren't you glad God has a "yes" face?  That no matter how deep and black our sin, or how many times we come to Him, or how often we mess up and need His help, or the number of times we ask for the same favor, or how seemingly hopeless our plight, we don't have to fear rejection when we approach Him?  Aren't you glad He never throws our past up to us or draws back from our troubled lives not wanting to get involved or get His hands dirty?  Aren't you thankful that no matter how gross and evil our sin, He opens His arms and says, "Come unto me, and I will give you rest"?

We probably all know people who have a "no" face.  People we wouldn't dare ask a favor of.  Their very demeanor exudes resistance to helping others.  And to be asked to do the smallest task of kindness seems to put them out entirely and cause undue distress and frustration.

Then we could all probably name some who have a "yes" face.  Who no matter how many times we've needed them, have never failed to be there for us and help us out.  People who do what is asked and never ask to be repaid, never bring it up again, and always seem ready, even eager to bless another.

Which kind of face do you have?  Do you have a "yes" face?  When others look at you, what do they see?  Do you see the needs of others, only to turn away in hopes they don't ask for your help?  Do others perceive you as being approachable?  Don't we all want to be like Jesus?  Isn't that what we are striving for?

Do you know Him?  Have you been listening to satan who is telling you that you have gone too far...that your sins are too great...that He will reject you if you dare even approach His presence?  They are all lies, my friend.  Don't listen to him any longer.  Because the fact is.....Jesus' face will always say "YES!"

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