Faithlife Sermons

Luke 7:36-50

Luke   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view
Notes & Transcripts
Read the text
Luke 7:36–50 NIV
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 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. 38 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. 39 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.” 40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 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?” 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44 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. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Pray

Introduction to Luke

Three Major Themes:
God has a plan
The Kingdom of God
That you would have certainty in the things that you believe
Jesus ministry in Galilee ()
You can go back and listen to some of those messages on our web site.
Last week we wrapped up with a contrast between the pharisees who rejected the work of God and the general population who had received the work of God through John.
Luke 7:34–35 NIV
34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
Luke
Retell the story with cultural and geographical context
This is the first of three occasions where Jesus ate at a Pharisees house. (11:37-54; 14:1-24)
Meals were served in a horseshoe shape with people reclining on their side and their feet sticking out behind them.
Simon the Pharisee had not been hospitable. The normal steps that someone would take when opening up their home would have included a kiss of greeting, washing the feet or providing water for the feet.
This meal probably took place in the courtyard of the home which would have been an easily accessible space for this woman.
Verse 47 and 48 are the high point of the text...
Luke 7:47–48 NIV
47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Three points from the text
We are with Simon the Pharisee in his mistake
If that person were truly good then they would do X and since they don't I feel morally superior.
If that person were truly good then they would do X and since they don't I feel morally superior.
Sin is very real
Forgiveness is real

Point #1 - We are with Simon the Pharisee in his mistake

Simon the Pharisee personifies a common attitude that people have in their human experience and it is this: If that person were truly good then they would do X and since they don't I feel morally superior.
Here Simon is judging Jesus in this way.
It is like an algebraic equation. It might take the following forms:
If that person is truly good then they will adopt animals instead of buying bread ones and since they don't I'm morally superior.
If that person were truly good they would eat a paleo diet instead of being a vegan and since they don't I'm morally superior.
If my 8 year old sister were truly good she would know how to win at minecraft and since she doesn't I'm morally superior.
If that homeless person were really good they would get a job and get off the streets and since they don't I'm morally superior.
Have you ever been around a person who always has a better story? Are you that person?
A critical spirit flows from a specific belief about oneself. To be critical of others you have to
A sensed need a moral standing or approval… need righteousness
Posses a very low view of your sin
have a belief that by being able to identify other peoples sin you are in some way improving your own goodness.
"Ah, I know what you are doing wrong. And by identifying that thing I am a better person then you." It is as if a person becomes better by identifying other peoples wrongdoing.
“The Gospel does not establish a new religion for those who want to be pious, but salvation for the ungodly; and Christians are not pious people resting safely on grace but ungodly people standing under grace.” - Earnst Kasemann
Jesus is saying moral standing does not flow from an ability to judge sin accurately. No. Moral standing comes from being forgiven. Our boast is in Christ's work for us not our work for him. says that were sin abounds grace abounds much more. Paul talks about boasting in Christ.
This pharisee appears to have been holding onto a self-righteousness.
Now, that doesn’t mean that we don’t address sin. encourages us to help fellow Christians stuck in sin. tells the church to deal with sinning members and move them towards repentance.
The correction of this passage is targeted at an attitude of self-righteousness based on the ability to identify other people’s sin. And Jesus is calling Simon to look at the situation through new eyes.
If Simon is impacted by this experience what should he do after this encounter? He is already virtuous. Can he be more better? No he needs to recognize that the opposite of sin is not virtue. The opposite of sin is faith.

Point #2 Sin is substantially real

In our narrative sin is mentioned five times. Let look at three of those passages:
Luke 7:37 NIV
37 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:
Luke 7:39 NIV
39 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:
Luke 7:47 NIV
47 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
In we are introduced to the concept of sin. God gives Adam and Even parameters on what trees they cannot eat from. And Adam and Eve disobey God’s Words. The result is internal shame, separation from God and the curse of death.

The Hebrew word hata’ and Greek hamartia meant originally “to miss the mark, fail in duty” (Rom 3:23). As Lawgiver, God sets limits to man’s freedom; another frequent term (Hebrew, ’abar; Greek, parabasis) describes sin as “transgression,” “overstepping set limits.” Similar terms are pesha’ (Hebrew), meaning “rebellion,” “transgression”; ’asham (Hebrew) denotes “trespassing God’s kingly prerogative,” “incurring guilt”; paraptoma (Greek) denotes “a false step out of the appointed way,” “trespass on forbidden ground.” “Iniquity” often translates ’aon (Hebrew, meaning “perverseness,” “wrongness”), for which the nearest NT equivalent is anomia (Greek, “lawlessness”) or paranomia (Greek, “lawbreaking”).

The most frequent biblical words for sin speak of violating that standard in some fashion. The Hebrew word hata’ and Greek hamartia meant originally “to miss the mark, fail in duty” (Rom 3:23). As Lawgiver, God sets limits to man’s freedom; another frequent term (Hebrew, ’abar; Greek, parabasis) describes sin as “transgression,” “overstepping set limits.” Similar terms are pesha’ (Hebrew), meaning “rebellion,” “transgression”; ’asham (Hebrew) denotes “trespassing God’s kingly prerogative,” “incurring guilt”; paraptoma (Greek) denotes “a false step out of the appointed way,” “trespass on forbidden ground.” “Iniquity” often translates ’aon (Hebrew, meaning “perverseness,” “wrongness”), for which the nearest NT equivalent is anomia (Greek, “lawlessness”) or paranomia (Greek, “lawbreaking”).

says “all have sinned”
Sin is a universal disease that has affected every part of our lives.
Sin has alienated humanity from the original design of the universe.
Sin has affected every human relationship.
Sin affects our physical bodies and puts us on the trajectory of death.
Sin has affected our work and play.
Sin has affected the good things God made for us.
In this story sin is an identity. This women is identified as a sinner. Her culture gave her this identity. What this means is that she didn’t just step over the limits of her conscience, but she also ran through cultural boundaries and the social pressure associated with this particular sin.
All have sinned, but only some are identified as sinners by their culture.
A cultural concept of sin is an interesting idea. Sometimes the taboos of culture align with God’s moral law. Culture generally is disapproving of murder and murder is a violation of God’s law. This is a case where God and culture agree. But there are other instances where culture is more critical or more permissive then the law of God.
Ultimately, humans are accountable to God for their sin. Culture can participate with God in that accountability process or it can inoculate its members from God’s conviction.
But no matter how culture handles sin, sin is very real in its effect.
Jesus tells a parable about two debtors to illustrate his point and in this parable sin is likened to debt.
Sin places us in spiritual debt.
But here is the thing, that debt can never be paid off through good deeds.
Imagine UnderArmor being in debt by 3 billion dollars. And Kevin Plank goes and sets up charities around Baltimore to get rid of that debt. His creditors are not going to be satisfied with his charities. They would only look at those things as if they were a further wast of resources.
Simon the Pharisee’s righteous deeds are like those charities. He thought his debt was smaller or incidental because of his obedience to Moses’ Law.
But he was wrong. Sin is a very real problem that must be addressed in God’s courtroom not culture’s courtroom.
And this women has stepped out of her culture and into God’s courtroom. She abandons what is appropriate and what others might think and steps into a spiritual reality.
Don’t you feel uncomfortable with this picture of her wiping Jesus feet with her hair? Doesn’t this seem too intimate? Do the emotions of this passage make you feel uncomfortable?
We feel like that because of our culture.
But this women abandon’s culture and embraces Jesus.
Sin is real… no matter how it is treated in our culture. Our guilt is real and God’s ability to deal with our guilt is real.
Sin is removed through forgiveness

Point #3 - Forgiveness is Substantially Real

Luke 7:42 NIV
42 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 7:49 NIV
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
Notice the word “even”.
Forgiveness of sins appears to be put into a special category even more special then His miracles. We read the story of Jesus and find it amazing that he healed the blind and the lame, but the crowd saw the forgiveness of sins as “next level” stuff.
So what is forgiveness of sins?
Jesus uses the picture of debt being canceled out.
We first encounter the word forgive in the Bible late in the story of Joseph. His brothers are terrified that Joseph will repay them for all the harm they inflicted on him. They express their need for forgiveness. says
Genesis 50:17 NIV
17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.
Joseph goes on to express the fact that he has already forgiven them. And his actions bear out the proof of that forgiveness.
If you continue to look at forgiveness in the Old Testament you will see its direction connection with animal sacrifice. God establishes the nation of Israel and gives them the instructions of Tabernacle worship. Central to that worship is the need for forgiveness of sins.
We don’t have time to look at every Old Testament passage about forgiveness but I would suggest one of the most important ones is contained in Jeremiah’s prophecy about a New Covenant.
Jeremiah 31:33 NKJV
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Jeremiah 33:32
Jeremiah 31:33–34 NIV
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah 33:32
Jeremiah 33:
The emotions associated with sin is an open account with oppressive debts. We call this guilt, shame, conviction… Some of the psychological conditions our fellow humans suffer from are the weight of sin.
Pilgrim from Pilgrim’s Progress describes it like this:
Have you ever paid off a debt or repaid someone who you owed money to? Isn’t it a great feeling?
The metaphor is used to help us mentally grab ahold of the concept of forgiveness.
This forgiveness takes place before the cross. The women’s faith in God anticipated the cross. Not that she knew what would happen, but she was responding to God to the degree of what she understood. Paul speaks of this in .
Psalm 51 NKJV
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David When Nathan the Prophet Went to Him, After He Had Gone in to Bathsheba. 1 Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. 6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. 9 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. 16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. 18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, With burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

Conclusion

We have talked about three things that are central to our human experience:
Self-righteous pride
Sin
Forgiveness
To be an emotionally healthy individual you have to get these three things right. And God is the one who can help you get these things right.
In our mission statement it says that we are a church that loves Jesus and preaches the Gospel. And it is a love for Jesus (like this women) and the Gospel message that answers these three things. The Gospel removes our self-righteous pride. The Gospel convicts us of our own sin. And the Gospel tells us how we can be forgiven.
Related Media
Related Sermons