Now this might be odd after my last post about hurting someone by helping them. Nonetheless I have been thinking a lot recently by what I call the sovereign intervention of God* where He does something good or merciful but with one-sided motive or action. I came across this today from Luke 7
11 ¶ And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.
17 And this rumor of him went forth throughout all Judea, and throughout all the region round about.
Now this is different than the usual thing where someone seeks him out, or he says that it is their faith that made them whole.
Apparently none of the above. There are so many open-ended questions here. I think the key is "he had compassion on her". Sometimes God does good things for me even if I haven't even asked.
The connection for me is the what of the miracle. Raising someone from the dead is the pinnacle (or near to it) of divine intercession. What did he give the woman? What did he give the young man? The gift of life. Well, isn't that the gift given to each of us-- free and clear from square one without even being asked. God's own work. "I do my Father's work" that thing.
And later this same chapter (see my own comments in bold):
36 ¶ And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38 and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Mt. 26.7 · Mk. 14.3 · Joh. 12.3
39 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.
40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. One is ten times the other.
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Frankly = no strings attached. "Nothing to pay" is the condition of all humans. It is the condition of being empty-handed. Only some realize it and others do not.
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. The woman shows ultimate self-abnegation and obeisance. She is completely humble, perhaps realizing her condition. Three parts: washing the feet, a kiss, and anointing. I wonder if that means something.
47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. What is the connection between love and forgiveness. It makes me think of Romans 2:4** It should also be noted that Simon is a Pharisee and his thinking is: Keep the Law = be justified, as long as you are keeping the rules there is no reason to be repentant.
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
As usual, I must end with my usual disclaimer. I am not a particularly good person. I think I have the same struggles of character that are common to man. BUT there is no law saying that reeking sinners such as myself can't read the scriptures and have ideas and insights!
*See the "empty hands" post for what I mean when I say this.
** Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?