Luke Series- Session 12- Luke 7:36-50

Session 12- A Life transformed

Luke 7:36-50

Lesson Resources:

Subject:  Transformation

Central Theme: Transformation through Forgiveness

Objective Sentence:  We can see the transformation of a life forgiven by Jesus by walking through this narrative via 6 plot points.

Keyword: Plot Points.

 

  1. The Setting
  2. The Sinners
  3. The Story
  4. The Service
  5. The Statement
  6. The Summary

Introduction:

Connection:

  • Have you ever watched antique road show?
  • It’s a great show.
  • People take things from their attic or garage to antique shows and conventions.
  • Apparently at some point some producer saw enough people shocked by what they thought was old junk but turned out to be of high value that they thought it would make for great television.
  • And it really does.
  • What the show proves is that not everyone evaluates correctly.

Tension:

  • In Jesus day there was an evaluation of who was godly and who was the “in crowd” when it came to God that was off.
  • Jesus made this very clear.
  • And He did it in today’s narrative by displaying to people the evidence of transformation in the life of a person that was forgiven.
  • Even people in our day tend to think that there are certain kind of people that are good, and certain kinds of people who can never be right with God.
  • Religion teaches that being right with God can only come from doing a bunch of right things.
  • Jesus came and declared that everyone needed forgiveness.
  • The scripture is full of fulfilled prophecy, and both internal and external evidence of its truthfulness.
  • Yet when people see a life that is transformed by God, this can be incredibly powerful as well.
  • When we evaluate ourselves rightly before God we can be forgiven and God can begin to transform us.

We can see the transformation of a life forgiven by Jesus by walking through this narrative via 6 plot points.

 

1. The Setting

Luke 7:36-50

(36)  And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.

  • The pharisees were dealt with quite a lot by Jesus, but often you will see them say “certain of the Pharisees”.  Not every pharisee had equal disdain for Jesus.
  • You see people like Nicodemus come to Jesus admitting that what they saw Him doing caused them to pause, and even to acknowledge that God was with Him.
  • Yet, as the story unfolds, I am inclined to believe that this Pharisee was having Jesus to His house without having a respect for Jesus.
  • Here Jesus comes to the house of a pharisee to eat with him.  Hospitality in the ancient near east was a big deal.  This would have been a significant thing to have Jesus over for a meal as a pharisee.
  • Sometimes these were public events. The public could come into a home and would not be a part of the meal, but would be around for the discourse between a rabbi of note, and those hosting the event.

We can see the transformation of a life forgiven by Jesus by walking through this narrative via 6 plot points.

 

1. The Setting

2. The Sinners

  • There are three main characters in this narrative- Jesus, the woman, and the Pharisee.
  • We are learning about Jesus through this narrative.
  • But what about the other two people. Both are sinners, but one is forgiven and the other is not.  Let’s look at these two.

A. The Woman

(37)  And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,

  • Luke describes this woman as one “in the city, which was a sinner”.  Her sin was evident to many in the room by reputation.  She had heard that Jesus was in the house of this pharisee and came, not with a need for healing, but with a desire to be forgiven and to honor Jesus.
  • This is evident by her bringing an alabaster box of ointment and by her behavior following.  This alabaster box of ointment would have been very costly.
  • Some have made the claim that this woman was a prostitute because of her being known as someone with a sinful reputation, by her subsequent actions, and the pharisee’s response to her as almost an infection to the dinner party.
  • This would seem to be quite possible, and even pretty likely to be the case.

(38)  And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

  • We would not see what this woman is doing as normal for sure, but we certainly would not have seen it as something sinfully sexual.
  • Yet, in that culture, for a woman to have her hair down was seen as improper.  To touch a man in public would have been highly inappropriate. To kiss a man, and to pour ointment on him would have been seen this way as well.

B. The Pharisee

  • The word “pharisee” literally translated means “one who is separated’, or “a separatist”.  Their view of themselves was to be separated from sin and from sinners.  So, to have “a sinner” who up in his house would have been socially awkward.
  • The contrast between the pharisee and the woman is stark.
  • He is ceremonially pure, and at least acknowledges Jesus as the same by asking Him into His house.
  • He would have definitely seen this woman is clearly seen as impure and would normally not been asked or even allow at the dinner.
  • This would have been something that forwarded what many thoughts about Jesus that was expressed earlier in the chapter:

(34)  The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

Luke 7:34

  • This was definitely the Pharisees automatic thinking. We know what He was thinking because Jesus read His mind.

(39)  Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

  • This pharisee’s reaction is not surprising knowing the normal position of the Pharisees.
  • This woman was not seen as someone who could be redeemed or reformed.  She was seen as someone to be separated from and avoided.  She was seen as a problem, an infection, irredeemable and deplorable.
  • Jesus accepting adoration from this woman made the pharisee doubt Jesus’ position as a prophet.
  • This woman being a sinner, and potentially a prostitute, could have been problematic for Jesus in terms of accusation.
  • It is at least interesting that this Pharisee, and really no Pharisee, though He were looking to find cause to end Jesus’ ministry ever accused Him of being improper.
  • Yet the worst He could say about Jesus was that this proved in His mind that Jesus was not a prophet.
  • He doubts Jesus’ status because Jesus accepts this woman’s costly expression of worship.
  • Simon’s evaluation included a wrong theological position.  He assumed Jesus must not be a prophet because from God would not associate with this kind of person.  As a pharisee He believed that it is wrong to be around these bad people.

Application:

  • Jesus saw the woman as someone who needed forgiveness and who was rightly offering Him worship.   The pharisees view of the woman was of someone more sinful and unacceptable to God than himself.  His view of Jesus’ acceptance of this lady was that it made Jesus less than what He ought to be, maybe even a sinner Himself.
  • We must be careful in our evaluation of other people.  We may see some people as beyond the forgiveness and reach of God.  We may see ourselves as better than others.
  • Jesus had clearly communicated His position to come to reach the lost, poor, broken, blind and captive. The truth is that this described everyone in the room but could only be received by those who acknowledged their own need, who acknowledged their own spiritual poverty.

We can see the transformation of a life forgiven by Jesus by walking through this narrative via 6 plot points.

 

1. The Setting

2. The Sinners

3. The Story

Explanation:

(40)  And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

  • Notice that the scripture says, “And Jesus answering said unto Him”.
  • Jesus is answering the Pharisee, and yet He hadn’t said anything.
  • While the Pharisee is doubting Jesus’ position as a prophet, Jesus is reading His mind.
  • We now have a name for this Pharisee.  This is not Simon Peter.  This is a Pharisee named Simon.  Simon calls him “Master”, a common but respectful title of someone who is a teacher.  The word is “didaskolos”, or one who teaches.

(41)  There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.

  • Jesus goes into a parable.  2 people that owed a creditor.  The only difference are the amounts. One of the two owes 10 times the amount of the other.

(42)  And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

  • Both are forgiven when both have no capacity to pay him back.  Both need forgiveness.  Don’t miss that.  Not only does the one with great debt need forgiven, so does the one with the smaller debt.  In the story both cannot pay.
  • The question is then laid out.  Who loves the creditor more?  The answer is pretty obvious.

(43)  Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

  • Notice Simon says, “I suppose”.
    • Is he being sarcastic?
    • He seems reluctant to answer.
    • Does he think Jesus is trying to trick Him?
    • Maybe this is because Simon, in this moment, perceives what Jesus is trying to say.
  • Jesus is the creditor.  The woman is the one with the greater debt, and Simon perceives that Jesus is saying that he is the one with the smaller debt.  Yet, the truth is Simon neither sees himself as a sinner, nor does he perceive Jesus as the one to forgive him.
  • Yet he does answer the obvious question.  The one expressing the most love and worship is the one who most understands their need for forgiveness and has experienced that forgiveness.
  • This woman expresses faith in Jesus in the way that she responds to him.  It is obvious that she knows she has a need, and that Jesus can fill it.

Application:

  • You and I had an unpayable debt that only Jesus can pay.  The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  It is dangerous to think that we do not need to be forgiven because we do not have a debt.  Those who receive salvation are those who confess their sin and call out to Christ by faith.  Those who are forgiven will ultimately understand what God has done for them and express their love to them.
  • We must be careful that we do not know this as a theological point, and yet forget it as a truth of our own experience.  The longer we get from the day we got saved, the more it can be a temptation to forget what we have been saved from.  Our own self-righteousness can make us forget what God has done for us.  Without Him we are without hope.  We love Him because He first loved us.

We can see the transformation of a life forgiven by Jesus by walking through this narrative via 6 plot points.

1. The Setting

2. The Sinners

3. The Story

4. The Service

(44)  And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.  (45)  Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.   (46)  My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

  • Jesus goes on to contrast the service of the woman with Simon’s response to Jesus.
  • How Jesus was treated as he entered the home by Simon is left out of the beginning of the story.  There were accepted practices of hospitality at a formal banquet like this one in Simon’s home.
  • One of those practices was foot washing. In that day in time people walked everywhere.  When you ate it in a home it was in a reclining position with the feet extended out as far away from the food as possible.
  • Usually the foot washing was a task given to the lowliest servant in the home.
  • To not offer this was to be inhospitable.
  • Not washing the feet, greeting with a holy kiss, or anointing a dusty head with oil, the reception to the house would have seemed quite cold in the cultural context of the day.  One commentary put it this way:

“This is the glaring neglect of deeply ingrained laws of hospitality, operative when receiving a guest of any stature and certainly an honored guest (like Jesus) who can be regarded as a prophet and addressed as “teacher” (Luk_7:39, Luk_7:40). One may find a hint of the deliberate omission of any mention of Simon’s lack of attention to his guest in the repeated identification of the Pharisee as Jesus’ host in Luk_7:36 and Luk_7:39, apart from any narration of his actually acting as a host, but this is easily passed over.”

  • Jesus had described her as one that loved much because she will have been forgiven of much, and by implication Simon is loving little, because he does not understand his own need of forgiveness.
  • This is what Jesus is pointing out when he contrasts, quite poetically, their behavior in the form of service.
  • Simon fails to do the formal, normal expressions of basic hospitality in receiving a guest.
    • He does not wash Jesus’ feet.  This woman washes Jesus feet with her tears.
    • He offers Jesus no towel to dry his feet. The woman wipes his feet with her hair.
    • Simon does not anoint Jesus’ head with inexpensive oil, like a typical olive oil, while this woman anoints Jesus feet with this expensive alabaster box filled with oil.
    • Simon gives no warm greeting with the kiss on the cheek characteristic of the near east even today.  This woman kisses Jesus’ feet.  There is a humility and a holy affection in this expression.
  • Simon’s indifference towards Jesus is compared to the passionate response of this woman.
  • What point is Jesus making?
  • Simon’s evaluation is the common position of those who are called Pharisees.  His reception of Jesus may have been influenced by those of his sect who were at odds with Jesus.  His evaluation of Jesus not being a prophet because a prophet would not fraternize with sinners was bad theology and missed the point of the mission that God the Father sent God the Son to complete.
  • As is so often the case, there is a contrast being made between two kinds of people.
    • Here we have the self-righteous contrasted with the penitent.
    • We have the person doubting Jesus’ identity contrasted with the person placing their faith in Jesus.
    • As we will see, the one who is forgiven is the one who understands their own spiritual and moral poverty and goes to Jesus for help.

We can see the transformation of a life forgiven by Jesus by walking through this narrative via 6 plot points.

 

1. The Setting

2. The Sinners

3. The Story

4. The Service

5. The Statement

 

(47)  Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

Explanation:

  • Jesus brings his whole argument down to this statement.
  • Great sin acknowledged means great forgiveness. Great forgiveness means great love.
  • Even Simon said this was true.
  • This woman, who has sinned greatly, has been forgiven because she understood her need for forgiveness, and went to Jesus brokenhearted over her sin and with love of Jesus for forgiving her sin.
  • Isn’t it interesting that this woman’s sinfulness has led her to an understanding of her own need for forgiveness?  Her felt need for forgiveness drives her to trust in Christ as the One who could forgive and having experienced that forgiveness caused her to love Him greatly.
  • This is what Jesus was referring to back in Luke 6.

(20)  And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.  (21)  Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
Luke 6:20-21

  • Those who understand their own poverty and go to God for help will receive help.  This is really good news.  This is the Gospel.
  • This does not mean that God is ok with our sin.  This does not mean that Jesus condoned prostitution, or any other kind of immorality.  On the contrary, He takes it so seriously that He is willing to become flesh and live a perfect life so that He could be the propitiation, the wrath bearing sacrifice, to pay for the sin of all mankind.
  • Conversely, Jesus pronounced woe to people like Simon in Luke 6, just a couple verses later.

Luke 6:24-26

(24)  But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

(25)  Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

(26)  Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

 

  • Simon thought He was doing Jesus a favor by having him enter His home.
  • Simon thinks He has the right to question Jesus because of his own religious authority and self-image as a good, moral, and upright person.  He does not have a great love for God because He has no conception of his own sinfulness or need for forgiveness.
  • The worst kind of sinner is the one who refuses to admit their own sinfulness and need for a Savior.

Application:

  • Those of us who are in Christ are spiritually rich, but we are only that way because of our loving Father who has given to us every spiritual resource that we need.  We have the Holy Spirit of God in our hearts and the word of God in our hands and minds.  We have everything that we need for life and godliness.  But we do not have these things because we are so good. We have these things because of His grace and forgiveness.
  • If you do not know that your sins are forgiven, you can have this spiritual blessing and life, too.  What is counter-intuitive is that spiritual riches are only available to those who understand their own spiritual poverty.  We must go to God admitting our sin and our need for forgiveness, knowing, and believing that in Christ is our only hope.

We can see the transformation of a life forgiven by Jesus by walking through this narrative via 6 plot points.

 

1. The Setting

2. The Sinners

3. The Story

4. The Service

5. The Statement

6.  The Summary

(48)  And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.  (49)  And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?  (50)  And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Explanation:

  • Jesus declares that this woman’s sins are forgiven.
  • He had already said that she was forgiven before, and He affirms it here again.
  • He has the authority to forgive sins, being God.  This woman receives the end of what those who understand their sinfulness and go to God for forgiveness receive- forgiveness from God!
  • Yet we see in this scene that there are those who missed the whole point of the parable and the identity of Jesus.  “Who is this that forgiveth sins also?”  This is a repeated argument against Jesus, and Jesus reads their minds and hearts yet again.
  • Jesus is unequivocally claiming deity and has proven His deity repeatedly throughout the Gospel.  It seems as if this is the story Luke is wanting to share.
  • Luke is not concerned with Jesus just as a miracle worker and healer.  He is not concerned with Jesus as merely an incredible teacher.  He is not just concerned with Jesus as a moral example.  He is presenting Jesus as the Son of God who is proving His identity as God who has come to bring salvation and forgiveness of sin through faith in Him.
  • Isn’t this what He says to the woman?  “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace”.
  • She is not saved by her good works.  She is not saved because of her tears or her anointing of Jesus.  Those are merely fruits of her belief in Jesus.  She has trusted that Jesus can forgive her, and in going to Him for forgiveness, Jesus responds to her faith and forgives her.

Conclusion:

  • This woman was saved the same way you and I can be saved and are saved.

(3)  For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.  (4)  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,  (5)  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;  (6)  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;  (7)  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:3-7

  • If we think we can be right with God on our own, we will not be.
  • If we understand our own need for a Savior, and go to Him by faith, we will be saved.
  • If we understand our own need for a Savior to sanctify us, we will live the Christian life dependent on Him and therefore empowered by Him.  If we try to do it on our own, we will fail.
  • This contrast between Simon and the Forgiven woman brings us to a point of self-evaluation.
  • Which person are you more like today?
  • Even if you are not a person involved in prostitution or some other sin seen as particularly infamous crime, the truth is that we are all guilty enough of sin to be eternally separated from God in Hell for all eternity.
  • This is not God’s desire.  He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
  • Are you the person that tries to stand in their own self-righteousness, or are you the person that understands their own need for the righteousness of God and the work of God to forgive and sanctify?
  • Ephesians 2:8-10 speaks well to this point:

(8)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9)  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  (10)  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

  • Only God, by His grace can save us, and it is God that then works on us to make us be and do all that He wants us to be and do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *