Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dinner Guest Brings Forgiveness

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.   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.   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.  Luke 7:36-38

A word of caution.  Be careful when accepting dinner invitations.  You never know who else might be there.  Such was the case when Jesus went to eat in the home of a Pharisee.  A woman with a poor reputation showed up and begin to  wet Jesus' feet with her tears and dry them with her hair.  Kissing his feet, she poured a perfume on them.

In reality, the invitation for Jesus to visit in that home was not for social reasons.  The Pharisee only invited him there to check him out.  They wanted to trap him into disagreeing with their version of law and tradition. 

The Pharisee who had invited Jesus there reasoned, "If he is really a prophet, then he will know about this woman.  He will know she is a sinner."

But Jesus spoke and told a story. "Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,  and the other 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?”  Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

Then starting in Luke 7:42, "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. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

It caused quite a stir when Jesus forgave that woman.  The people in that house began to wonder who Jesus thinks he is, that he even forgives sins.   I tell you, the most wonderful words you will ever hear are the words that sinful woman heard that day,  "Her many sins have been forgiven."  Then there was something we sometimes miss in this story.  Jesus, without saying it, invites the Pharisee dinner host to look at the evidence of her forgiveness.  Her great love shows it!

The typical Pharisee, always observing himself as the picture of perfection, is stuck with the last words of the story, "But whoever has been forgiven little loves little."

For the sinner who recognizes his sinful condition and seeks a relationship with Jesus, is well on the way to hearing words of forgiveness.  He is the one who demonstrates his forgiven life, by his love.  That's the love we need as individuals, and as a church. 


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