Mark Crossley

An Uninvited Guest

Many, if not all of us, have special friends, people we like spending time with – perhaps sharing meals together to enjoy each other’s company. The Gospels tell us of quite a few times when Jesus ate with other people, twice he performed great miracles, providing food for many very hungry folk. But they also tell us of times when he was invited  into someone’s house for a meal and this is a story of one of those occasions when Jesus was present and also a most unexpected and unwanted guest.

It begins with a Pharisee, the title means a ‘separated one’ and they were important (and sometimes very self-important) religious leaders in Israel. This one was called Simon and he was a leading pillar of the community. He had heard about Jesus and was curious about him, he wanted to meet him so he invited him for a meal.

When Jesus arrived he was snubbed by his host, he did not receive a proper welcome, he was not offered water to wash his hands and feet (gross insult in that society) but the Lord said nothing.  Suddenly an uninvited woman came into the house, she approached Jesus and wept before him washing his feet with her tears. Simon was disgusted for the woman was an immoral person, well known in the village. To Simon she was a sinner, without any hope of salvation and he was contemptuous of her and also of Jesus for the Lord did not chastise her.

Instead he told Simon a story about two debtors. One owed quite a small amount, the other had a big debt – over a year’s wages. Their creditor took pity on them both and  forgave them. ‘Which of the two do you think loved their creditor most?’ Jesus asked Simon. ‘I suppose the one he forgave the most’, replied the Pharisee.

Jesus then pointed out that the woman had her many sins forgiven because she came to him in faith, conscious of her great need and loving him for the forgiveness he gave her. Simon however believed he did not need forgiveness from Jesus, he was a self-righteous man who did not see the Son of God as the wonderful Saviour provided by God, he did not need him and so forgiveness was not freely offered to him.

There is a lesson for us in this story. If we are conscious of the mistakes we make in life and take them to God through Jesus, forgiveness is freely given, and a place in God’s kingdom is on offer. But if we feel we are perhaps superior, a ‘better person’ than our neighbour then the Bible has nothing to offer us.

The words we choose


Once a king dreamed that all his teeth had fallen out. Immediately he sent for one of his soothsayers to interpret the meaning of the vision. With a sad countenance and mournful voice, the soothsayer told the monarch that the dream meant that all his relatives would die and that he would be left alone. This angered the king and he drove the servant from his presence.


Another was called and the king told him of the dream. At this, the wise man smiled, and replied, “Rejoice, O King; the dream means that you will live yet many years. In fact you will outlive all your relatives.” This pleased the king a great deal, and in his joy he gave the interpreter a rich reward.


The two men had said, in different ways, the same thing.

The power of words is illustrated in the account of creation in the first two chapters of Genesis where God speaks the world into existence. As he spoke words, stars were formed, oceans appeared and planets took shape. He spoke and rivers teemed with fish, flowers bloomed and galaxies began to spin.

As humans created in his image, we too are given the power to create worlds with our words. We speak and reality changes. Through positive truthful words, people are renewed and healed. Through criticism and lies, people are damaged and destroyed.

The apostle James writes of the power of the tongue in James 3.

“3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”

“8 …no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

The power of our words is immense. They have the power to change lives: to build people up, and to knock people down. How will you use your words this week?


timeThere are 365 days in a year, 24 hours in each day, 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in every minute; the same amount of time for all of us. Yet somehow, some people seem to have all the time in the world, and others seem to rush from one unfinished task to another without any time to accomplish anything.

Unless we are very careful we can easily fall into the trap of running from one job to another without accomplishing much. It is important to set aside time for particular activities to ensure that they are done properly.

The writer of the book of Ecclesiates wrote:

3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.


[Ecclesiastes 3:1-8]

What time have you set aside for God this week? How will you show it in your life? Try to do something different this week – make time to read your Bible, make time to help one of your friends/relatives/neighbours.