The story of the Centurion and the Sinful Woman bookend this riveting chapter. In the middle is a story of John the Baptist, of his doubts, and his place in God's Coming Kingdom. And at the end of it all, Jesus tells the Sinful Woman what he said in essence to the Centurion, John's disciples, and to the widow's resurrected son: Go in Peace/Shalom.
Interestingly it is the seventh chapter, a number noting completion - it is God's number, and this seventh chapter concludes with the overarching theme of Jesus' message: God in God's Peace/Shalom. Go along with the God who makes all things Right; go in wholeness/reconciliation with your Father; go bathed in God's grace and redemption, freedom and beauty; go in the righteousness and truth and commands of God. Go as one healed and forgiven, as one restored and reconcied.
The Centurion's favorite servant is dying - and uncharacteristic for a Roman soldier, this one calls out to Jesus to help out his slave.
A widow is walking out past the city walls with her dead son, and Jesus comes across their path - and his heart-strings get tugged big time.
John wants to know if Jesus is the One Who Was To Come?
Tax-collectors hear the words of Jesus and affirm whole-heartedly that God's way is Right.
The Sinful woman weeps and wipes Jesus feet with her hair.
Go in Shalom.
Maybe you are like the Centurion, wanting Jesus to help out a dear friend.
Maybe you are like the widow, walking with an empty, broken, lonely heart.
Maybe you are like John, struggling to accept a Jesus who doesn't quite fit your conceptions.
Maybe you are like the tax-collectors, deeply aware of their failures and ready to find another way to walk.
Maybe you are like the sinful woman, eager to lavish your gratitude upon Him.
"Your trust/faith has saved you; go in shalom." It wasn't easy for the centurion to trust Jesus - he was shocked by the soldiers faith. It wasn't easy for the widow trust God as she trudged along the funeral bier, but everybody was glad beyond description when her son started jabbering again. It wasn't easy for John to not have the answers, but he trusted Jesus enough to ask him. It wasn't easy for the tax-collectors to trust a God who had religious people running around giving Him a bad name. It wasn't easy for the sinful woman to love so vulnerably infront of such unthankful men. It is not always easy to trust, but we know deep down that we want to go in shalom. And that is what Jesus offers: the way to shalom with God.
What's keeping you from going in shalom?