As she walked through the market, the smell of perfume lifted in the breeze and reminded her of Him. She smiled to herself and thought of the day she met Jesus. It felt like a lifetime had passed since that dinner at Simon’s house. She shuddered at the memory of the room full of people staring at her. She shook it off and focused on the way Jesus forgave her. He told her she would be at peace. He mended her broken heart that day.
This is how I envision a changed life for the woman that anointed Jesus with perfume and washed His feet with her tears in Luke 7. Before meeting her, Jesus healed a servant and raised a widow’s son from the dead. I often wonder what people’s lives were like after Jesus healed them. I imagine their faith developed easily in Jesus’s presence. His extraordinary measures of power and immediate relief would surely fuel a lifetime of gratitude, right? He offered second chances when he gave them sight, freed them from possession, or raised them from the dead. Before Him, many were ostracized in their conditions. Did they go on to earn a respectable living? Were relationships repaired and new connections formed? Did they share stories of Jesus wherever they went? What measure of grace did they have for those that were still lost and broken? When out of Jesus’s presence, did they struggle in their faith?
The truth is that all of us have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Knowing Jesus does not result in perfect living. Our faith is built on more than Jesus removing a burden or healing a wound. We are transformed when we remember His faithfulness, repent with humility, and extend the same grace that has been given to us.
In 2 Peter 1:12-20, Peter calls us to remember. He tells believers that he wants to refresh their memory as long as he lives so that they will pass it all along when he is gone. He spoke as an eyewitness to what Jesus had done. Peter also points readers to remember prophesies of what is to come. We have redemption at every turn when we choose to recall God’s faithfulness in the past, present, and future.
Acts 3:19 calls us to “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (NIV). Remorse is often accompanied by heavy feelings of regret, shame, or disappointment. When this leads to repentance, He frees us by washing it all away and refreshing us. It is as though sin dehydrates us to the point of misery until we call out to Him for fresh, cleansing water.
We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves throughout the New Testament. While our rescue stories are different, our example of grace to others is part of the bigger story. Our goal is to glorify God. This feels impossible at times, doesn’t it? However, we are told that by walking with the Spirit we overcome the worldly desires that distract us. Our flesh is replaced by His fruit, which empowers us to love beyond our own abilities (Galatians 5:13-25).
While we have not met Jesus in the flesh, our faith develops in the way He renews and refreshes our lives. Isaiah 40:31 encourages us, “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (NIV). Our relationship with Him is renewed and we soar. We rise above and experience strength that does not fail. Rest in this truth today!