Forgiven much? (Luke 7:36-48)
– Quote on the inter-web that says, “If you say that you hanging out with sinners because that’s what the bible says Jesus did, then I think you are identifying with the wrong character in that story.”
– I hear people say all the time, “I just want to do what Jesus did.” I think a better statement would be, “I just want to do what Jesus said.” (He said we would do MORE than he did.)
– To understand your relationship with Jesus, think about which character “in the story” are YOU. What will your response be after you have an encounter with Jesus?
- In this story from the Gospel of Luke, which character are you? (Don’t pick Jesus)
– (Read Luke 7:36-39)
– Character #1 Simon the Pharisee:
– Pharisees were Jewish scholars, mostly God-fearing, law-abiding citizens that taught strict adherence to Old Testament law. (Some of them loved God, some just loved position.)
– They taught people to believe that sin could be eradicated by strictly following the law.
– Jesus opposed them because they were leading people away from God’s plan for redemption. (Jesus’ message was in direct contradiction to the Pharisee’s message.)
– Then why did Simon invite Jesus over for dinner?
– Jesus was a man gaining in influence. Teaching with authority, performing miracles.
– Jesus was either a Prophet from God, or a Heretic and an imposter. I think Simon was trying to figure out which one Jesus really was.
– Maybe Simon was hoping to find fault in Jesus, so he wouldn’t have to change what he believes in?
– Simon isn’t ready to choose sides yet:
– Simon has to be feeling some peer-pressure in front of all his Pharisee friends. He wants to honor and befriend a prophet, but would like to distance himself from a heretic.
– He chooses to withhold from Jesus all of the proper greetings a guest in your home should receive: No kiss on the check, no feet washing, no anointing with oil.
– I’m sure all the other guests received the proper respects, then when Jesus shows up, Simon must have just “forgot”. (Too busy in the kitchen, “Oh! Did I forget to greet you, Jesus?”)
– Character #2 The Immoral Woman:
– The words used here would strongly imply that she was a prostitute. Also, a Gentile.
– Sexual sin is considered one of the worst kinds of sin described in the Bible. She would be looked at by a Pharisee as wretched and vile. “The worst of sinners.”
– She is from Galilee, where this story takes place. A working-class town of mostly gentiles.
– An “expensive jar of perfume” is not something she would have lying around.
– This woman would not be stopped!
– Because she heard Jesus was in town, she walked into a house (uninvited) full of people who despised her, and right over to Jesus, and knelt at his dirty feet and kissed them.
– Overwhelmed with emotion and thankfulness she weeps at Jesus feet, soaking them with her tears. Then, further defying the rules, lets down her hair to wipe Jesus’ feet with it.
– Letting her hair down in this culture would have been a public disgrace.
– A woman’s hair is her “crown of glory”, and she is using it as a cleaning rag.
– She doesn’t care what the rules or the culture have to say about it, she is going to honor Jesus, and show him her gratitude.
– Simon thinks, “How could Jesus not know who is touching him?” He shouldn’t allow it.
– The Pharisees must have been losing their minds! “Why isn’t he acting like WE would act?!”
- Next, Jesus gives Simon some perspective using a metaphor:
– (Read Luke 7:40-43)
– 500 silver pieces would be like 2 years-worth of wages for a blue collar worker. ($100,000)
– The Immoral Woman understood the depths of what she had been forgiven of, and showed this to Jesus with acts of sacrificial love, above and beyond anything that was required.
– She was forgiven of a lot, so she loved Jesus a lot!
– There is a 2nd person in this metaphor, whose been forgiven of the equivalent of $10,000.
– He did not owe as much, but his debt was still 100% completely forgiven.
– “Neither of them could repay” their debt! Both equally blessed by the man’s forgiveness!
– There are no “degrees of sin”, and no “degrees of forgiveness”.
– Some sins are seen as “worse” because they are more damaging to everyone involved.
– Sin is sin in the eyes of the Lord. Its price is death, and a debt we cannot pay.
– No matter what sins you have committed, you are equally in need of forgiveness.
– I think we treat Jesus casually because we don’t recognize the depths of our own sin.
– If we really understood our sin, we would be overwhelmed with thankfulness.
– Do YOU recognize your sinfulness today, and YOUR need for forgiveness?
- And now… the rest of the story:
– (Read Luke 7:44-48)
– 2 characters in this story: One showing Jesus “Much Love”, One showing Jesus “No Love”.
– Simon “invited Jesus inside”, but that was all. He gave him no honor or recognition. He showed Jesus “No Love”.
– The Woman came to find Jesus where he was. She disregarded shame and costly sacrifice. She showed Jesus “Much Love”.
– The Immoral Woman doesn’t even have a name, just “prostitute”. Her actions here don’t even get her a name recognition. (Nor would she want any.)
– Highlighting her sinful depravity only further magnifies the power of His forgiveness.
– Her actions reveal her heart condition. She has been changed from the inside out!
– We should be more like the prostitute, and can learn from her example these 3 things:
- Don’t let peer pressure keep you from Jesus.
– Simon “invited Jesus in”, but wouldn’t acknowledge Him publicly in front of his friends.
– Would his friends still accept him if he openly showed Jesus honor and respect?
– Look at the culture around us. Does it accept you for acknowledging Jesus?
– Matthew 10:32-33, (Jesus says) “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.”
– Not just His “existence”, His Lordship over your life. Not words, heart condition! (Salvation)
– The woman didn’t care what anyone else thought of her display, except for Jesus.
– Romans 10:11-12, As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him.
– You may be rejected by Man, but you will never be “dis-graced”
– Dis- meaning “apart from”. Grace- meaning “God’s unmerited favor”.
- Don’t let cultural traditions keep you from Jesus.
– The Pharisees believed that by obeying the letter of the law that sin could be eradicated, and in doing so, usher in God’s Kingdom here on earth. Jesus determined… THAT was a Lie!
– Romans 10:2-4, I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. 3 For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. 4 For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.
– They memorized scripture, and pass down what they think it means in oral traditions to the next generation. The Pharisee only knows what it says, w/o the Spirit to reveal what it means.
– Example: Monkeys who won’t climb the ladder to get the bananas, but don’t know why.
– It may have seemed that the Woman was defying the cultural traditions, but really she was fulfilling them in the spirit in which they had been created.
– She did them to bless and honor Jesus, genuinely from the heart.
– Simon is defying the cultural traditions by not honoring Jesus, and treating him casually.
– Romans 7:6, But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
- Don’t let your sinful past keep you from Jesus.
– Verse 47, “I tell you her sins –and they are many- have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love.” (The Woman’s sin are obvious.)
– She wasn’t forgiven because she loved. She loved because she had already been forgiven.
– She didn’t let her past keep her from pursuing Jesus.
– The Pharisee’s sin is obvious too… PRIDE! …Brought on by Legalism.
– Legalism is pursuing good works with the intention of earning God’s favor.
– Apart from a life in Christ, Isaiah 64:6a says, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.”
– Our best efforts on our own may impress men, but will never impress God.
– Simon is letting his sin of pride keep him from believing in Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
– When you put your faith in Jesus, God totally and completely forgave you.
– Eph. 2:8-9, God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
– Justified by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone. (Finished work on the cross)
– William Plummer writes, “Justification is an act. It is not a work, or a series of acts. It is not progressive. The weakest believer and the strongest saint are alike equally justified. Justification admits no degrees. A man is either wholly justified or wholly condemned in the sight of God.”
– Don’t get caught up on each individual sin, and where the line is drawn. We all have sinned!
– You either have repented, or you have not.
– You either are forgiven, or you are not.
– There are no “degrees of sin”, and no “degrees of forgiveness”.
– In Luke Chapter 7, which character are you?
– Are you Simon?
– You’ve “asked Jesus to come in”, but now are afraid to introduce him to your friends.
– Do you treat Jesus casually, and “show only a little love”, because you haven’t really understood how much sin he has forgiven you of?
– Are you The Immoral Woman?
– You have been “forgiven so much” that you “love Jesus so much” in return.
– Will you endure cultural DIS-grace, to know that you will never be apart from HIS-grace?
– Faced with a debt you cannot pay, your actions will reveal your heart condition.
– Now, What will your response be after you have an encounter with Jesus?
– prayer –