Devotion On Parade
Luke 7:36 through Luke 7:50 (NIV)
36Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38and 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.
39When 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.”
40Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44Then 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. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
I. The Object of Devotion
A. To The Greater (vv. 48-49)
Many years ago, Thomas K. Beecher once substituted for his famous brother, Henry Ward Beecher, at the Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York. Many curiosity seekers had come to hear the renowned Henry Beecher speak. Therefore, when Thomas Beecher appeared in the pulpit instead, some people got up and started for the doors. Sensing that they were disappointedbecause he was substituting for his brother, Thomas raised his hand for silence and announced, “All those who came here this morning to worship Henry Ward Beecher may withdraw from the church; all who came to worship God may remain.”
The example of godly leaders is helpful, but only the Savior is worthy of our worship and devotion.
B. To The Giver (vv. 42-43)
Worthy Is The Lamb That Was Slain
Christ alone is worthy of our unreserved love and devotion:
There was once a Roman patrician girl of high birth and finished culture. “No one,” she said, “shall ever win my hand, unless he gives me proof that he would die for me.” Years passed, and one day, in one
of the Roman streets, she heard an outcast Christian speaking of his Lord. When she heard, with amazement breaking on her soul, she exclaimed: “Here is One Who has died for me; to Him alone shall my heart’s love be devoted forever.”
—D. M. Panton
II. The Origin Of Devotion
A. Gratitude (v. 43)
Thankfulness seems to be a lost art today. Warren Wiersby illustrated this problem in his commentary on Colossians. He told about a ministerial student in Evanston, Illinois, who was part of a life-saving squad. In 1860, a ship went aground on the shore of Lake Michigan near Evanston, and Edward Spencer waded again and again into the frigid waters to rescue 17 passengers. In the process, his health was permanently damaged. Some years later at his funeral, it was noted that not one of the people he rescued ever thanked him.
Our Daily Bread February 20, 1994
B. Love (v. 47)
A young man wrote his sweetheart that he would swim the mighty ocean for one look in her deep blue eyes. Then he added a P.S., “I’ll be over Saturday night if it doesn’t rain.”
III. The Outburst Of Devotion
A. Compulsive (v. 37)
B. Extravagant (v. 38)
IV.The Opponent Of Devotion
A. Undervaluing the Gift (v. 47)
B. Undervaluing the Giver (v. 39)
The Visitor dropped in on the church service in
less-than-formal attire. I felt pity for him when I saw his
destitute appearance. By the end of the service, however, I
realized I was the destitute one.
Spending over an hour getting ready, I primped and prepared,
making sure my outfit and accessories were flawlessly put
together. Yet what I neglected was far more evident than what I
had spent time on - I had neglected to prepare myself spiritually
for worship. I had been so consumed with my outward appearance
that I had no time for reflection on my inward attitude.
As I heard him singing and watched his rapt attention to the
preacher's words, I sensed it was his singleness of purpose - his
deep love of God - which brought him into the house of the Lord. I
was upgraided at my own lack of love.
The visitor embodied the very essence of God's grace. Grace
which looks beyond the rough exteriors and sees straight to the
heart -- to who we are on the inside.
The Parisee invited Jesus into his home, but not into his
heart. (Luke 7:36-50). The visitor, by his presence, was enough
to convince me that I would do well to spend less time on my
clothes and more time on my knees.
Light From The Word