who loves most

TEXT – LUKE 7:36-50
When was the last time someone invited you to dinner at his or her house
that you really didn’t want to go? People invite you to their home for
many different reasons. Sometimes they invite you because they just
with to be with you and enjoy your company. Sometimes people invite us
over to see what we are like. Sometimes they invite us over to question
something, to get some information about something they are deeply
interested it. Often that is something you know something about but
many times it isn’t really anything over which you have any control.
I wonder what this Pharisee was thinking when he invited Jesus over for
lunch this day. He certainly wasn’t the only one to invite Jesus to come by
and have dinner with him. As a matter of fact we read of many different
ones of the Pharisees, the very religious leaders whom he often criticized
rather severely, invited him for dinner.
It may have been their curiosity about His mission and work. It could be
they were trying to make a better impression on him and cause him to
say nicer things about them. Since the word Pharisee means “Separate”
or “Separatist” they could have thought that if they just invited him into
the group he would be more complementary. It may have been he
curiosity of why so many people came to Jesus and listened to his words
and they were trying to understand the whole phenomenon.
Whatever the reason they invited him and he went. To me it is something
of a puzzle that he kept going. It never seemed to have turned out very
well, so why go. Why not just forget about them and let them figure
things out on their own?
a. It may be that the supper was in one of the areas outside that people
could see and simply enter.
b. Likely people joined the party all along and came by the open area to
greet Jesus and hear what he was preaching to the people.
c. So, as Jesus and the Pharisee reclined at the table this sinful woman
came to Jesus and as she wept her tears wet his feet and she began to
wipe his feet with her hair. She had an alabaster box with perfume in
it and she began pouring the perfume on his feet and wiping them
with her hair.
i. Imagine how you would have reacted if some woman came
into a public place or even a rather private party where several
people had entered and began crying at your feet to the degree
her tears were wetting your feet and she started pouring
perfume on your feet.
ii. How do you think you would have reacted?
iii. How would you have expected Jesus to react?
a. I think we all tend to have preconceived ideas of how a person should
react in certain situations. The Pharisee had a very definite concept of
how a teacher or prophet should deal with certain people.
i. In his mind allowing the woman to touch him and wipe his feet
with her hair seemed like he was approving of her lifestyle.
ii. The result was that he determined that Jesus couldn’t possibly
be a real prophet since he reacted to her kindly and with
b. His determination was that if he were a real prophet he wouldn’t do
that. Real prophets were to be condemning, straightening the world
out and telling people they were headed to hell if they didn’t change.
c. Perhaps He was judging Jesus through the John the Baptist model.
i. Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come, you
generation of vipers?
ii. The axe is laid at the root of the tree.
iii. He was a very correcting kind of prophet.
iv. So perhaps that is the model for judging Jesus.
d. Either way it is dangerous to develop a model of the prophet that says,
unless he acts in this way, I won’t believe in Him.
a. “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him
five hundred denarii, and the other owed him fifty. 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?”
b. Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
Jesus replied, “You have judged correctly.”
c. Then Jesus applied the story. Simon, Do you see this woman?
i. I came into your house. You didn’t give me any water to wash
my feet.
ii. But she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with hair.
She poured perfume on my feet and wiped them with her hair.
iii. So while the Pharisee was judging the woman Jesus was
judging his actions.
d. In the mind of the Pharisee he had only a few sins that were rather
insignificant. The sinful woman was living a horrible life and she
knew it. She was drawn to the Savior, to change and to forgiveness.
i. The Pharisee saw himself as righteous and not really needing
forgiveness at all. He had a few little problems but nothing that
ii. So Jesus story hit it just right. Both owed a debt they couldn’t
pay. We need to be honest we don’t have the ability to pay for
a single sin in our life.
iii. It takes the sacrifice of a perfect savior to take sin away. But
through Jesus and what he did on the cross any one of us can
be forgiven. We can’t have too big a sin or too many sins to be
forgiven. Hebrews 7:25
iv. But our estimate of our sins will determine the size of our love
for the Lord. If we see ourselves as really good people who just
made a few mistakes along the way our love, devotion and zeal
for God will be small. If we see our sins as horrible and are
amazed that Jesus would pay the price of his blood on the cross
so our sins could all be taken away, then we will love much and
serve with zeal.
a. It doesn’t take much of a scale determine how we regard our own sins.
b. Just look at our fire and devotion for God and His will. How do we
work for him in his church? How do we work to bring others into a
saving relationship with him? Our answer will be a clear answer to
the size of our sin in our eyes and the size of the forgiveness we feel
we need.