Way to Life-Lesson 6
Understand the Need for
Free Reconciliation to God by Jesus Christ
Think about your Relationship with God:
Think of a time in your life (maybe recently) when you had done something that caused you to be ashamed. Maybe you felt that you were a very bad person. If so, have you ever wondered how you can be relieved of that feeling of guilt? How can you get peace of mind and accept yourself? Will God forgive you and accept you?
Let’s Read the Story: Luke 7:36-50
Understanding the Vocabulary used:
The “Pharisees” (7:36) –can anyone in the group here, explain who the Pharisees were, from what we have learned about them in past discussions?
An “alabaster jar” (7:37) was a jar made of fine stone, considered to be the best material for storing perfumes and ointments. The jar in this story would have been worth much money.
A “Prophet” (7:39) was someone God chose to bring God’s special messages to people. God’s prophets were faithful to Him, so God could depend on them to say the exact message God gave them to say. Prophets had good character, and were spiritual leaders.
“Denarii” (7:41) is the plural of denarius, a silver coin used in the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus’ life. It was probably the wage for one day of general labor.
“Saved” (7:50) means rescued from the control and consequences of sin. Sin progressively destroys a person. It brings guilt, condemnation, and everlasting separation from God and His benefits. God wants to save us out of all that.
A brief Cultural Anthropology Lesson:
In the culture of the Jews, a host would honor guests by performing customary acts of greeting when the guests arrived. The host would greet guests with a kiss. The host or his servant would wash the guest’s feet—dusty from the road. He would pour oil on the guest’s head to refresh hair and face—dry from the sun. The woman’s perfumed ointment was better than the olive oil which hosts usually used.
Are there any customs in your culture for greeting guests and making them welcome in your home?
1. The woman was crying as she washed Jesus’ feet. What do you think she may have felt about herself?
2. Did the Pharisee feel the same way about himself as the woman felt about herself?
3. The Pharisee thought he was good enough to have Jesus enter his home and have close contact with him at the dinner table. But, did the Pharisee think it would be right for the ‘sinful’ woman to touch Jesus or to touch him, the Pharisee? Why? (See 7:39)
4. Which person was saved at the end of the story? See 7:50. Why was that person saved instead of the other? As you study the next questions, try to figure out why?
5. Compare Simon the Pharisee’s attitude toward the woman with Jesus’ attitude toward the woman.
6. Compare the woman’s attitude toward Jesus with the Pharisee’s attitude toward Jesus.
Note: In a prior chapter of Luke, 5:30,31, we see that Jesus had a reputation for being “a friend of sinners.” He showed God’s forgiveness to sinners who came to Him. Wherever Jesus went, He warned people to repent, and He offered God’s forgiveness. When sinners welcomed Jesus’ friendship, it showed that they believed His teachings. It also showed that they wanted God’s love and His help to change their lives. So this sinful woman in Luke 7 knew what Jesus’ attitude toward her would be. She knew that Jesus would forgive her because she came to Him in true repentance. Her actions expressed her gratitude to Jesus for forgiving her sins.
7. What did Simon mean by his word “sinner”? See 7:39. He thought that the woman lived a sinful life but that he did not. So, how complete was his understanding of what sin is? (Remember the previous lesson’s definitions of “sin” and “sins”? What were those inner conditions or attitudes of the heart and specific actions and thoughts?)
8. Look at the story Jesus told. Did the men who owed money love the moneylender before he forgave their debts?
9. According to the lesson Jesus taught in that story, did the woman receive forgiveness before or after she loved Jesus, and washed his feet?
10. What, then, saved the woman? (see 7:50)
11. What you choose now is more important than any other choice you may have made before. Will you respond to Jesus in the manner of Simon the Pharisee, or the ‘sinful’ woman?