YOUR FAITH HAS MADE YOU WHOLE
Patty: Generally we like to keep our personal letter as an update about the things that we are doing in Israel, the United States and different parts of the world. However, a couple of weeks ago as I was in prayer and meditation on God’s Word, I was deeply grieved over the new executive order in the States that requires all bathrooms and dressing rooms to be according to what one is comfortable using. In other words, if you born a male but feel like a female you can use the women’s facilities. I can understand the response by non-believers to this bill but I have had a hard time understanding the responses from those who call themselves Christian. There seems to be a politically correct adaptation of what love is all about. “We as believers must be loving to those of different persuasions as it is not their fault that they are the way they are. Let them use the bathroom of their choice.” And before this there have been many “Christians” who see no problem with same sex marriages and the gay lifestyle. We even have some pastors who lovingly embrace the people of different sexual preferences in their congregation claiming this is what Yeshua would do. Okay, I agree, this is good. We should all be inclusive in our love but what about part two of the love equation? Are these people or, for that matter, any who have chosen to be involved in behavior contrary to Scriptural norms, to be allowed to continue in their sin unchallenged or without offers of help?
In contemplating this issue and seeking how to answer this half answer of the love mantra, I was impressed to turn to Luke 7:36-39, 48-50
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Perhaps this sinful woman had been listening to Yeshua speak for some time in public venues and her heart was pierced by his words which conveyed such great love. I can imagine that in listening to him it was the first time she felt hope that her life could be different. Like the woman with the issue of blood, she had faith that somehow – if she could just get to him – she would be made whole. She knew that she was a sinner and was intent on showing her deep gratitude for Yeshua giving her that for which she longed: respect, acceptance and unconditional love. And beyond that, she saw a way out of her life of sin and her identity as a woman of ill repute: dirty and unapproachable. She saw a deliverer, someone who had the power to set her free, not just someone who was full of love and acceptance. When she came into the house of the Pharisee, she saw Yeshua sitting down and fell at his feet weeping. Here sat a man who was the embodiment of love and had the power to forgive sins. Hence, she gave herself to an extravagant response of wetting his feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair and kissing them. She even anointed his feet with expensive perfume, a perfume which no doubt was purchased from her earnings as a prostitute.
In the same room with Yeshua were those with a rather different attitude. Unfortunately, their response is what most unbelievers identify as being the Christian response. And many who call themselves Christians react today to what they see as a Pharisaical spirit and want instead to represent what they believe reflects Yeshua’s love. However, Yeshua’s love was not just about giving acceptance but about forgiveness. If the sinful woman did not need forgiveness – if, in other words, her actions were not sinful – why did Yeshua say “your sins are forgiven?” He did not just forgive her sin, but He healed her sin condition and changed her identity as a sinful woman: “Your faith has made you whole.” She was no longer a sinner.
Being a lesbian, homosexual, or transgender is not being whole according to God’s original design. If we withhold that objective statement of God's position from people who have chosen to be involved in those lifestyles, then we are also withholding from them the opportunity to be forgiven and come into the fullness that God designed them to have. By denying them a loving but truthful hearing of God's word, we also deny them being able to receive God's mercy.
I am longing for the day when those who call themselves “Christians”, including myself, will be so filled with love that sinners would fall down and cry, not because of who we are but because they see in us the love of God and the grace of God to forgive all their sins. And they perceive a power that could be imparted to them so they can go and sin no more. Yeshua did not condone the woman who was caught in the act of adultery but neither did he condemn her as the Pharisees did (John 8:1-11). Rather he empowered her with these words, “Go and sin no more.” In other words, she was given the opportunity to leave her life of sin and walk now in newness of life as a new creation.
I believe that we are poised on the brink of revival where many of these outcasts from society will come running into the Kingdom. They will become the greatest lovers of God as they will have been purged of self-righteousness. Just like the sinful woman of Luke 7, they will know that they have been forgiven much and hence will love much. They will find it easy to love not their own life even unto death (Revelation 12:11). Their mouths will continually be filled with praise and they will be amongst those who stand night and day before the throne, at the feet of Yeshua, figuratively pouring out their expensive ointment before him. This is your plan, oh Father … I see it.
As this letter is being written, Dan and I are in preparation for our return to the United States. The Tikkun America Conference begins at the end of May. Then we will be traveling to several of the congregations that Dan oversees. There will also be some important church contacts as well as time at the conference of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations where Dan is sharing a plenary session.
We are so very thankful for your continued support. We continue to be wonderfully engaged in the work of His Kingdom with good energy and great zeal.
Daniel and Patty Juster