Originally scheduled for January 22
Luke devotes a good deal of space to this particular story. It
has many aspects to it; we can examine but one this morning.
Consider the example this woman sets for us:
She knows she’s a sinner. Most commentators state that she is a
prostitute. Certainly the men in the room are not in doubt, though
they are perturbed to have her present.
She is a repentant prostitute; and she makes her contrition clear.
She is seeking forgiveness in a highly visible, public way. She
seems to understand that Christ is able to grant that forgiveness.
She appeals to him without words.
We will focus on this morning is Christ’s last words to her: “Go in
peace.” He has already forgiven her, and then sends her away with
Peace. It can mean many things.
Our first definition might simply be the absence of conflict. The
peace she has been given to such an absence, an absence of conflict
with God. Note that this is a factual matter, not a feeling.
We might also look at it is a state of mind. She is tranquil in her
state of mind because she has peace with God.
The process is described best by the word “reconciliation.” You
change; He approves; peace is established.
My father taught me
that the war is not over just because you won the battle. The war is
over when your enemy becomes your friend. When you reconcile with
God, he becomes your friend. It was for this purpose Christ came.
Then Christ surprises her with his instruction. He doesn’t tell her
to offer a sacrifice; he doesn’t tell her to say prayers. He tells
her to go in peace. The matter is finished; the reconciliation is
done — she is now at peace with God.
Communion offers the
same opportunity to the Christian.
It begins with self-examination. Look at yourself; determine where
the conflict is, identifying it clearly. You now know what you have
that’s done, offer your repentance to God with specific plans to
· Go in
peace. Realize in your mind that you are not in conflict with God,
but are forgiven.
There is something climactic about “Go in
peace.” Christ does not challenge us to bold new adventures, but to
go about our way reconciled to Him. As you partake, see in the
bread and the cup the body and blood which paid the atonement price
for your sins. Accept that atonement and be reconciled to God – then
go in peace.