Thursday, November 7, 2013

Jesus: Friend of Sinners

And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”  ~Luke 7:48
One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. Luke 7:36

Pastor made an important observation for us this past Sunday; Jesus always goes where He was invited. It did not matter if one was a tax collector, a fisherman, or a Pharisee. When Jesus was invited to a meal, He went. There was no distinction for Him who the host or hostess was because everyone had need of what only He could bring. Forgiveness of sin.

And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. ~Luke 7:37,38

Forgiveness of sin comes only after one recognizes their need and seeks forgiveness from the only One who can supply it. Although humanity has tried a variety of ways to purify or remove this sinful condition there still remains only one method whereby we might be saved from it. The woman, pictured here in this account from Luke, is a prostitute and sinner. She is painfully aware of her sin and comes to Jesus expressing her love for Him in worship and tears. She knows something Simon the Pharisee has no clue about... She knows she isn't a “good person” and she has a debt which she cannot pay.

And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” ~Luke 7:40-42

Jesus tells a parable of two men owing a debt they could not repay. Jesus then asks Simon, the Pharisee, which one would love the creditor the more. Simon responded that it would be the one who was forgiven the largest debt, to which Jesus responded, “You have judged rightly.” This parable was to point out to Simon how the woman crying at Jesus feet saw her debt of sin great and so, loved Him much. Simon had shown little love or even common courtesy to Jesus because he saw his sin as being such a small debt if any debt at all.

Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” ~Luke 7:44-47

Jesus has a way of making clear where we stand in relation to Him and He makes it clear for Simon where he and this woman are by virtue of the way they have treated Him. The love and feelings this woman has shown with her tears, kisses and worship have validated something Jesus points out for Simon... her faith has saved her.

And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” ~Luke 7:48-50

There was a question to consider for our Growth Groups this week, it went something like this:
Is your relationship with Jesus more like the Pharisee or more like the prostitute in this story in Luke?
We should think about that one.

1 comment:

  1. The Prodigal God, which Jenn use for the women's Bible study this summer, compares the prodigal son and his older brother in much the same way as this parable compares Simon with the Woman.

    I love Keller's quote about such comparisons; "All are wrong. All are loved." The levels of sinfulness the Pharisee thought existed were only in his own mind, not in the mind of God.