When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. (Luke 7:36)
A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. (Luke 7:37)
As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. (Luke 7:38)
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” (Luke 7:39)
Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. (Luke 7:40)
“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. (Luke 7:41)
Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” (Luke 7:42)
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. (Luke 7:43)
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. (Luke 7:44)
You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. (Luke 7:45)
You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. (Luke 7:46)
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:47)
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:48)
The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” (Luke 7:49)
Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)
Confusion A little confusion about this story b/c it is so similar to other accounts in the NT where Jesus is anointed with perfume from an alabaster jar.
Matthew 26 – Mark 14 – John 12 – Seems like they’re telling this same story that’s being told here in Luke 7, but they’re actually different.
Key differences In John, this story is part of the passion week. Jesus comments about this being to anoint him for his burial. Not what’s happening here in Luke.
I just point that out b/c I don’t want you to be confused. Today we’re focusing exclusively on this account that’s told by Luke.
Woman – referred ‘A sinner’. – Vague.
This woman is referred to as a ‘sinner’. Just that vague title. Nothing specific. She’s traditionally interpreted as being a prostitute, but that’s not stated in the text.
Jesus in Matthews gospel tells the pharisees that prostitutes and tax collectors are coming into the kingdom of God ahead of you.
I think in order for you to appreciate what’s happening here, you have to appreciate how culturally UNACCEPTABLE this is.
Breaks out this expensive perfume – a years worth of wages – breaks it over the feet of Jesus. Washes his fat with this perfume and her own hair.
In Jesus’s time, you hair is considered your glory. Deep dignity in the hair of a woman.
PDA In YX, we have a rule, no PDA. Public displays of affection. Well there is some serious PDA happening here.
This story challenges how we see.
“The man who sees the world at 50, the same way he saw it when he was 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.“ (Muhammad Ali)
Hinge point of this story is when Jesus turns to Simon and says ‘Do you see the woman?’
1. Challenges how we see our sin
Crippled – Condemnation / Guilt / Shame.
Seems like we talk to people every week who seem crippled by condemnation – just can’t seem to get out from under the guilt and shame of their own sin.
Their entire Christian experience is based on their own feelings of inadequacy and hypocrisy.
Most beautiful about this story:
After this pours out her affection on Jesus, simon is really offended.
Jesus responds Jesus responds with a story: 1 guy has a $500 debt another guy has a $50 debt, you forgive both debts, which one is going to be more grateful. Of course the one who is forgiven of the greater debt.
Jesus says ‘The one who is forgiven of little, loves little. Forgiven of much, loves much.’
Here’s how a story like this can challenge us in how we see our sin.
Sin is not a reason to stay out of the presence of God.
Not a reason to stay home and feel guilty.
Sin can actually be a reason to celebrate God all the more.
Paul’s rant – Romans 6 – Should we sin more so that grace may abound? God forbid. So it’s not like we sin more so that we have more to be grateful for.
Huge pasts & story – Catalyst – deeper gratitude.
But I believe that there’s a sense that people who have these huge pasts and story – don’t need to keep you away from God. And in the right light, those things can actually become a kind of catalyst to propel you into deeper gratitude towards God.
End up feeling grateful to God in a way that people like me, who have grown up in the church, if we’re not careful, can miss.
B/C we can’t identify.
Prodigal son’s older brother. – In the example of the prodigal son, we’re the older brother on the porch, who in our own eyes, don’t have nearly as much to be forgiven for. Whatever in your life that brings you guilt and condemnation, what if you understood that sin not as something that should keep you AWAY from the feet of Jesus, but as something that pushes you even deeper into the presence of God b/c you’re so grateful to him.
Those things just bring more awareness of how good God is.
The trick here is that we have to stop focussing so intensely on our own sin and instead focus of Jesus, and how sweet, kind, loving, compassionate he is.
2. Challenges how we see our worship
I think about this woman’s worship of Jesus, and how from the outside, it just seems completely excessive and wasteful. And it did absolutely nothing for anyone else but
We have a phenomenal worship team here. We have at a bare minimum 3 worship teams. Filled with some of the most talented gifted worship leaders in this nation. I truly believe that.
I think that one thing that comes with that incredible gifting is the responsibility to always make sure that our worship is an offering to God and not an offering to ourselves.
It’s so easy to get in the mindset of ‘What does worship do for us.’
Worship experience And how can we create a worship experience that reaches every possible demographic, and how can we make this worship experience something that is so overloading of the senses that people will just be overcome by the amazing atmosphere. And that quickly we’ve shifted worship from something that is truly supposed to God centered to something that is people centered.
One thing that’s so great about this text – In the eyes of the world, what this woman does in just a total waste. – The ointment costs too much, the emotion is making everybody uncomfortable, it’s crossing all kinds of religious boundaries as far as what’s appropriate.
There’s nothing about this expression of worship that’s going to do anything for anybody but Jesus.
There’s times when we need to be reminded that our worship is for God and not for us.
So our questions are not : “How will we be most blessed by our worship.” But instead “What would God like?”
One reason I’m really grateful for our pastors is that while many churches, even churches in town have all but abandoned communion on Sunday mornings, our pastors never have.
What they’re hoping to accomplish by getting rid of sunday communion is to draw more people.
B/C sacriments of the Christian faith are not that accessible..
But we come together and we come to the table and commune with Jesus in a way that PLEASES HIM.
OF COURSE when we come into the presence of God, it changes us, that’s my next point.
But I do thing sometimes we need to sober up and agree with the Psalmist and say “May the words of my mouth be pleasing TO YOU.”
But we don’t use worship as a tool to try to GET something from God. Rather or worship is an expression of gratitude for what he’s already done.
3. Challenges how we see the people around us.
The hinge point of the text is when Jesus says to Simon “Do you see the woman.”
Super Literal – Ridiculous.
It’s funny if you’re super literal, a lot of Jesus’s questions can seem pretty ridiculous.
“Uhh yeah Jesus, I see the woman.”
“She’s offending every religious conviction I have.”
“My senses are being assaulted by an entire jar of perfume.”
I of course see the woman.
That’s the thing. Simon doesn’t really see the woman. What he sees when he sees the woman is not what God sees when he sees the woman.
It’s amazing how quick we can slip into identifying people by their sin.
Even how we can misidentify these stories. – In my bible the title over this story is ‘Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman.’
But that’s not what this story is about.
This is a story of a woman who shows great love for Jesus.
That’s how Jesus identifies her. As the woman who shows great love.
“If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.”
He sees her as someone who is unfit for the presence of Jesus.
The fact the Simon doesn’t correctly see the woman means he doesn’t correctly see Jesus.
“A real prophet would have nothing to do with this kind of person.”
“If we’re unable to see people the way Jesus sees them, we will be blind to the things God is doing in world.”
Amazing : our altars.
I never want to get to a place.
Amazing things have been happening in our altars, but I know the pastors would be the first to admit that if the only time you’re able to perceive God move is in a church, then you are going to miss an incredible amount of what is doing in the world today.
If we look at the outcast and we’re condescending to them, we despise them. We think that somehow they’re less than we are.
I truly believe this: We’ll misunderstand who Jesus really is.
And you’ll walk around scared feeling like the darkness is winning. It’s not. You can’t see see God moving because you can’t “See the woman.”
What a terrifying idea, that God could be working in our families, in our nation, in our world and we’re unable to see it.
It’s amazing when you read through the gospels – that people with all kinds of unbelievable sin, have direct access to Jesus. And they receive from him and are healed. And the people who are likely to not be in presence of Jesus even though they’re in presence of Jesus – are people like Simon – who aren’t able to see the people around them in the way that God sees them.
“Why I can’t say ‘Love the sinner, hate the sin’ anymore.”
Still labeling a person by their sin. OPPOSITE of Paraclete – Advocate. More like ‘Hassatan’ – Satan – The Accuser. We accidentally play the role of Simon the pharisee.
Labeling : “I love the adulterous woman.” – NO NO NO – “I love the woman.”
Remember: God is kind of defensive and protective about his daughters.
We look at people in the world “Common Adulterer.” We don’t see everything that’s happening behind the scenes, where God is moving in their life, and drawing them close to him. You can see what a wrong thing it is to casually label people with labels that are opposite of what God is saying to them as he’s whispering who they are.
Our prayer: May we see people the way that you see them.
Shows us how God sees us.
Woman – Gratitude 4 Jesus.
I think of this woman. The gratitude she has for Jesus.
Didn’t happen by debating theology.
He communicates that she’s truly known by him.
She’s not the sinful woman. She the woman.
Instead he arrives on the scene with this woman, and brings her redemption by cutting through all the layers of facade, and simply communicates that he knows her and accepts her.
Thought: Everybody thinks – know – kind – God – want.
They KNOW what God needs to do in order to make their life better.
The God – most – searching :
Sees / Knows / Accepts / Loves.
So often we can go through our whole through life hiding.
Back to the original analogy – going through life hiding. This feeling of ‘if I showed my real self, they’d reject me.’
Meanwhile, the power of the gospel is found in a God who sees you as you really are, and loves you.
Let that sink in. He’s see’s everything about you, and you are COMPLETELY loved.
He has no lecture to give. He has no commentary
No, she didn’t need a lecture, she needed to know that God, who sees everything about her (even the dark parts) is still desperately in love with her.
There’s such a desperate need that we all have to just be seen and known.
It’s a need we all share, and it’s a need that can only be found in Jesus.
There’s no one in this world that can ever get close enough to you, to where there’s no distance. There will always be distance between you and other people. No matter how intimate.
It’s such a beautiful idea that God is the only one who sees through every mask you have and still loves you more than you could ever imagine. There’s no replacement for that.
I just feel like there’s lots of you in here that have a desperation that is more profound and more broken than you would even know how to talk about.
Just sitting there, feeling alone. Surrounded by people, but still alone.
Just wishing that there’s someone who could see the real you. Who could know the real you. And accept you, and even love you. That’s found in Jesus.
Most of the time, we don’t really believe that.
We hear a song or listen to a sermon about the love of God and think “That’s nice that Jesus loves those other people.” – Accepts. But in our own minds we say “But you don’t know my story.” You don’t know where I’ve been.
No matter where – been
No matter where you’ve been, if Jesus appeared at your dining room table tonight with knowledge of everything you are and are not, total comprehension of your life story and every skeleton hidden in your closet; if He laid out the real state of your present discipleship with the hidden agenda, the mixed motives, and the dark desires buried in your heart, you would feel His acceptance and forgiveness.