Opening Prayer Thoughts.
Praise God for the privilege of worship. Praise God that Christ came to seek, and to save the lost. Praise God that our fight with the world is not on his behalf, but that we are merely instruments in his hands as he takes on the world which would defy him. Luke 19:10, 1 Samuel 17.
Confess the sin of shrinking from our privilege of comforting those who would defy Christ; thinking that we are taking them on, when in fact, all we are doing is conveying to them the truth of who they are waging war against. Pray that God would give us sight to live by faith clearly.
Let's read Luke 7:36-50 – It's about love, not religious activity.
Ask God the Holy Spirit to help you in your understanding of his Word.
V39. Simon's thoughts betray him.
How does Simon react to what he has just seen? Note, this conversation is going on in his head; it's not verbalized. The term 'this man or this fellow' says a lot about what Simon thinks of Jesus. It is clear, as far as he is concerned, that Jesus cannot be a prophet because he is permitting this woman's outrageous behaviour. In extending his invitation to Jesus, Simon might have harboured the thought that he could succeed where others had failed, and catch Jesus out on some point of the law during the after-dinner discourse. But now he has all the evidence he needs to prove that Jesus is not the great prophet all the people are lauding him to be. His potential excitement, though, isn't going to get an opportunity to last long.
Jesus speaks to Simon. Luke says Jesus answers him, even though Simon hasn't said anything. Jesus is addressing Simon's thoughts – written large all over his face. These are the first words that have been spoken since the woman entered the room. Initially, everyone's gaze was on the woman, but as the scene unfolded, it had shifted to Jesus and his failure to stop her. The air is thick with tension. Jesus speaks, breaking the deafening silence. But not to the woman. His comments are to the host, Simon. No one would have expected that. Jesus states that he has something to say; if he hadn't got the attention of everyone before, he certainly has it now. Simon's response is polite, inviting Jesus to say what he has to say. Still, there is a hint of his contempt in the brevity of his response.
v41. A story.
Jesus tells a story. In essence, God is the creditor; man is the debtor; and sin is the debt. In the story, neither debtor can pay, so the creditor graciously cancels the debt of both, no conditions attached. It's a simple scenario and matched in its simplicity by the question Jesus asks, "Now which of them will love him more?" Who could fail to get the answer wrong? It's obvious; a child could get it. But Simon manages to give the correct answer hesitantly. His answer is the typical response of someone who has done something wrong, has been caught red-handed, but wants somehow to avoid an admission of guilt, but has no option other than to do so grudgingly. Jesus does not lose sight of the kernel of the response. He lets the 'I suppose' bit go, and hones in on the critical point. 'You're right!' Jesus says emphatically. Sometimes in life we waste too much time chasing the peripherals and lose the opportunity to seize onto, and address, what is important. Life is too short to be focused on secondary issues. Jesus' directness is worth noting.
v44-46. Jesus draws attention to Simon’s failures.
Jesus now turns his gaze on the woman, but he's not going to engage her in this conversation. By her incredible actions, she has unknowingly and unintentionally placed Simon in the firing line, and now he is going to get it. Jesus allies his gaze with words and directs all eyes to the woman. The conclusions are made directly, and in a few words – the bottom line is that this woman has done everything Simon so abysmally failed to do. As host, Simon gave no water for his feet, contravening common politeness, Genesis 18:4, Judges 19:21. Simon had offered no kiss of peace, Genesis 29:13, 45:15. Simon had offered no oil and so, treated a friend without respect, Psalm 23:5, 141:5. Simon knew the Old Testament and the resulting cultural requirements, yet he had abjectly failed to fulfil the basics of decent hosting. 'Why?' is the unasked question. 'This woman’, on the other hand, what had she done? She had wet his feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair and poured perfume on them, which was far more expensive than oil.
V47. Jesus leaves Simon condemned.
Jesus draws out the conclusion but doesn't apply it specifically to Simon. He leaves Simon and everyone else to join the two dots for themselves. The woman's actions show one thing – she understands, and is overwhelmingly grateful, that her sins, which, yes, are many, have been forgiven. Her outburst of affection flows from a heart set free by Christ's love for her. The coming to Simon's home, the entering of the room, the making her way to Jesus, the first standing and then kneeling at his feet, the outpouring of her tears, the unbridled wiping of his feet with her hair, the relentless kissing of his feet, the unhesitating pouring of her perfume over his feet – they all speak to one thing – LOVE! How much she loved Jesus for setting her free from the guilt of her sins, yes many, but no more heinous than anyone else in the room, bar Jesus who knew no sin. Simon, on the other hand….?
Love is not evidenced in mere words; it is conveyed in deeds. The Christian doesn't need to be coaxed, cajoled, to worship God, to delight in obeying his commands, to fulfil the vows made to God when becoming a member of the Bride. The response of the heart to sins forgiven will always be open and clear, no matter what others may think. The fact is, we do as we please, and we please as we love. Pretending that the 'Simons' around us, those who have made a public profession of faith but are living like the religious godless, are okay before God is unjust and unfair on them. We should gently be posing them questions.
V48-50. Go in peace.
Jesus' pronouncement of “Your sins are forgiven” to the woman should not be taken as though Jesus is proclaiming that her actions warranted the forgiving of her sins. Jesus is publicly declaring what she had already experienced before entering Simon's house.
The muttering in the room about who Jesus is goes unanswered; Jesus is not going to get involved. Why should he? If they can't deduce from what they have just seen and heard, then so be it. Instead, he turns to the woman and, with love and tenderness, bids her to “go in peace”. A possession that is now her’s, through the gift of faith she has received from God – a gift that has led to her salvation.
A Psalm to Sing.
Psalm 135A. Link to the words. Link to it being sung. Sing with joy in your heart to God.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,"
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 51 - What is forbidden in the second commandment?
Answer - The second commandment forbids the worship of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his Word.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Thank God for forgiving our sins. Pray that we would live as lovers of him, delighting in all that we can do for the glory of his name.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley