Love

October 2, 2016    Luke 7:36 – 50      Love      

 

     In this story we see that Jesus not only accepted hospitality from sinners and outcasts of society but also from the Pharisees.    He accepted hospitality from the ruling rich.   It was customary in those days for the out casts and poor to gather around the banquets of the upper class people.  They could even enter the banquet hall and as these events were often held in open spaces.  Women were not invited to these meals.   This woman would not be allowed or welcome at Simon’s banquet.   So she is an uninvited guest but she comes in.  Scripture says she was a sinful woman.   We do not know what her sin or sins were but it is assumed she is a woman of the streets.  This is not Mary of Bethany in John 12 or Mary Magdalene in Mark 16 and Luke 8.   Luke does not give us her name.  As far as we know she never said 1 word.      

    I wonder if she had considered coming to Jesus before.   It was not easy to do.   I am sure she struggled with doing this.    Sometimes we push Jesus off.  Lord I have these areas of my life and you are holy.   I can’t let you into this part of my life Lord.  I have to work on this so that I am presentable.   We often change when we go out.   We dress up when we go to church.   We prepare for a job interview. Let me wash that up a little bit.  I need to polish that off.  This area of my life is embarrassing.    I have not shaved or trimmed my beard.  For you ladies I do not have my make up on and I need my permanent.  Perhaps we come to Jesus with the same kind of attitude.   Lord this area of my life is pretty messy.  I do not want you to see it.  I cannot discuss that with you Jesus.  .  Lord my life seems out of control and I am so busy.  I work hard all day but my to do list seems impossible and I do not have time to even tell you about all of it.  I am buried Lord. 

    And I think Jesus says I died so that I could be with you.  In Revelation the bible says I will be their God and they will be my people.  God wants to be with us.   God wants to be with you.  Your mess does not scare Jesus away.  We are the ones who push the Lord away.  In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was with them.  God wanted something better and deeper.  After the cross we have God in us.  God wants intimate fellowship with each one of us.  Parents that love their children want a deep relationship with them and sometimes our kids do not say much.  In those teen years they often start hiding things from their parents.  God wants to be in our mess and God wants to be in our pain and yes God will help us with that mess.    But first and foremost God desires communication with us.  

     This woman gets up her courage and goes to this banquet which was not an easy thing to do.  Her life is a mess. She has a messy life.    In those days women were not invited to nor accepted at banquets.  They were 2nd class citizens.   Jewish rabbis did not speak to women in public.   They did not eat with them in public.    A woman of this type would not have been invited to the house of Simon the Pharisee.   She sensed a desperate need in her life.     She knew she was a sinner.    She knew she needed Jesus.  She finds her way into the dinner.    I do not believe that what she did was easy for her.   She really humbled herself.   She causes quite a scene here and she certainly catches the eye of Simon.  She makes her way to Jesus.  Every eye in the place is on her.   She drops down to his feet and begins to weep wetting Jesus feet with her tears.  She kisses his feet and wipes his feet with her hair on then pours perfume on Jesus feet.   She approached Jesus in spite of all the strikes against her.    Her hair, a woman’s glory, she humbly used it to dry His feet.     She surrendered herself in total humility.  I think love pours from her heart.  Her love is greater than her fear. 

    If she spoke none of her words are recorded.   I think God wanted it recorded that way.  Deep speaks to deep here.  Words from her are not needed.  What she did speaks so loudly that words are not needed on her part.   Jesus is deeply touched.  Everybody is deeply touched.    Her tears, her attitude and the perfume all speak louder than words.   Her actions speak of a heart filled with love.   Her actions speak of a humble broken person.   Her wiping of Jesus feet with her tears and hair speak of a changed heart.   I think her actions speak of love for Jesus.  It takes a lot of nerve to do what she did.   Did she ask for forgiveness?   We do not know.   It does not seem like it from the story but God saw her heart and forgiveness was granted.   Jesus makes it plain that her faith saved her.    It was not her tears or the perfume.   It was her faith.   It was her heart.

   Could you picture yourself for a moment in Jesus shoes?   Not that you are Jesus but that you experienced something like this.  How would you feel if someone did something like that to you?   Most of us would be greatly embarrassed.   I do not think that Jesus was embarrassed.   I think deep in Jesus being he felt the love and brokenness of this woman.  I think he rejoiced at her heart and her actions.  Where are you in this story?   How would you feel if you experienced something like Jesus did?   What if someone did something lowly to you like this woman did to Jesus.    Would that be embarrassing?   Do we have trouble receiving from others?   Could we track with what is going on in the other person?  Can we rejoice with their act of service?   Could we see beyond how we feel to what God is doing in the other person?  Could we rejoice with the service and brokenness of the other person who served us?   This woman was set free.  She experienced forgiveness.  She was the one blessed.  Those that humble them self are blessed.    But there is a lot more going on here.     

    How would you feel about Simon?  Simon is supposedly this great spiritual leader that was highly respected in those days.  Simon is probably embarrassed by the presence of this woman.   He is embarrassed for his guests.  In Luke 7:16 they say a great prophet is among us but in Simon’s eyes Jesus is not showing much discernment because he allowed a sinful woman to anoint his feet.   In Simon’s mind Jesus must be a fraud, a phony and a fake.   Simon’s issue is pride and blindness.   He did not see himself correctly nor did he see Jesus correctly nor did he see the woman correctly.   Pride blinds us so that we do not see things correctly.     It is easy for him to say she is a sinner.   Tragically he cannot see his own sin or his own need.    He cannot say I am a sinner and I need grace and forgiveness. 

     How easily he does not see where he is at.   He just looks at her.  He feels he is OK.   We need the Holy Spirit.   David prayed search me O God and know me try my thoughts and lead me in your ways.   In a way this situation is more about  the awareness of sin than the amount of sin in a person’s life.   Simon and the woman are both sinners.  Simon was guilty of sins of the spirit and his thoughts and the woman sins of the flesh.   Her sins known and his sins more hidden but the sins of both are very real.   Simon’s sins were not hidden from God.  His sins keep him from Jesus.   Her sins drive her to Jesus.   No one's sins are hidden from God.   God sees clearly.   Both of them were bankrupt and could not pay their debt to God.  Simon was just as spiritually bankrupt as the woman but he could not see it. Perhaps he is more bankrupt and in greater bondage because he cannot see his need.    Every single human being is spiritually bankrupt.   There is no room for pride folks.   I have had several altar calls and no one comes.  It seems that we do not feel the moving of the spirit and do not see our need. 

    Jesus forgives her of her sins.  Jesus tells her that her faith has saved her.   Forgiveness is a gift from God.  A broken heart is a gift from God.   Do you feel that life beats you down once in awhile - count it a blessing.   That is hard to do but it is such a blessing to walk humbly with God.    We often want the humble walk with Jesus but we do not want to pay the price.   This woman comes humbly to Jesus with repentance and God always accepts people with that attitude.   Simon was unrepentant and he experiences no forgiveness.   Simon was blind to himself, to the woman and to his honored guest.   He certainly could not see Jesus as the Son of God.   You have to feel sorry for Simon and people like Simon.     
         Many folks today are like the host Simon.  It is easy for them to see the sins of others.  Simon did not realize that his chief problem was blindness – spiritual blindness.     It was easy for him to say, “She is a sinner!” but impossible for him to say, “I am a sinner!”    Both phrases have 4 words, but only one is life changing.    He was self-righteous.   He considered himself better than the woman.    He sensed no need for forgiveness in his own life.    He looked OK on the outside but inside his life was a different story.  He had some heavy issues.  I have seen when someone pours out their life is worship that others get critical.  You hear them say did you see how they worshipped?   Did you see how he preached?    Did you see?    Simon was critical of her and I believe her act of worship.  Simon did not offer Jesus water to wash his feet or a kiss or oil for his head.  I suspect Simon would have for others that he respected.   God was in his house and he did not know it.     

      A little boy had just gotten saved and sat on a bench next to an old man who looked upset.    The little boy said to the man, "Sir, do you need to get saved?"    The man, startled, said abruptly, "I’ll have you know I’ve been a Deacon in this church for over 30 years and Chairman of Deacons for 15 years."    The little boy responded, "Sir, it don’t matter what you done, Jesus can still save you!"   I like that story even though Simon was a Pharisee Jesus can save him.

     And some folks could identify with the woman but it would be hard to do what she did.  Men would you do something like she did?   What if Jesus was alive today and happened to be at the governor’s house or a US Senator’s house?   Would you crash the meal and walk in and find Jesus and take his tennis shoes or sneakers off and his socks and weep and rub his feet?   Would you wipe his feet with your hair if it was long or with a towel?   That would not be easy to do.  It is deep and it is humbling and men I think we would find it hard to do.    

    You know Satan comes to us and tells us that we have this issue in our life or that sin in our life and then he whispers you do not deserve God’s blessing in your life.   You are not in step with God.   You are a terrible sinner.   But
God’s forgiveness is not like man’s forgiveness.   He forgives and forgets.    Jesus can lift that heavy emotional weight that I carry.   Jesus can forgive my sin.   Jesus can lift me up.   Forgiven” – What a word!  It means that you have been pardoned; your sins have been canceled.   It means you are in good standing with God.   You have been loosed, and set free.   Your sins have been released from you.   You have been freed from the slavery to sin to become a servant of God your Creator.   You now have the ability to follow after God instead of fleeing from Him. You now have the ability to flee from sin and run to the Lord.  

 

      Friends, I want to tell you that our wonderful Lord stands ready, willing, and able to help you today.    He is the Great Physician and you being here is not by accident, it is by Divine Appointment!   - He has already diagnosed your problems.   Jesus died on the cross to make you whole and right with God.    He knows you better than you know yourself.   He knows everything about you, even the things you haven’t told Him or anyone else.    He has the expertise and the ability to take care of you.    - The greatest thing of all is that He has a deep desire to take care of you and to bless you.        Look at Jesus’ words in v. 41-43.   The one forgiven the most debt loved most.   Can you see and understand what Jesus ahs done for you.  . It is beyond words.    Can you believe Jesus to heal you?     Certainly if you believe Jesus there will be works.   This woman’s works was the anointing and her tears.  This woman was accepted and loved.   She experienced forgiveness.   Jesus told her she was forgiven.     How do we know our sins are forgiven the same way Jesus has told us so?   If we confess he is faithful and just to forgive us.