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Jul 11 2021 The Judgment Zone

We are going to be doing something a little different over the next several weeks. We are going to be doing some ‘team teaching’ – we went over this on Zoom and it was so good I wish we could just show you the Zoom – but we trust it will be even better in person!

Luke 7: 36 Now one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table. 37 Then when a woman of that town, who was a sinner, learned that Jesus was dining at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfumed oil.

38 As she stood behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. She wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfumed oil.

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner."

40 So Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." He replied, "Say it, Teacher." 41 "A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty.

42 When they could not pay, he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?" 43 Simon answered, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled." Jesus said to him, "You have judged rightly."

44 Then, turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house. You gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

45 You gave me no kiss of greeting, but from the time I entered she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfumed oil.

47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which were many, are forgiven, thus she loved much; but the one who is forgiven little loves little." 48 Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

49 But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?" 50 He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

John: The particular part of the passage that I’m talking about is the Pharisees – so I have been studying them over the past couple weeks.

The historian Josephus said that there were 3 sects – the Pharisees – Sadducees, and Assyrians –

Sadducees – our own power

Pharisees – Some actions are a work of faith, but we are liable to faith, but not caused by faith – almost like the argument regarding predestination and freewill has been going on for more than just a couple hundred years.

The Pharisees valued the Torah – the Law – but added their own set of oral traditions – a hedge around the Law – that if you do THESE things – you’ll definitely obey the Law! More than just keep the Sabbath holy – they added requirements of how far one could walk – or you couldn’t turn a doorknob – and they considered these oral laws just as important as the written law.

We do the same things – no dating, smoking, no tobacco – or you could say – unless you go 5 miles below the speed limit, you are not a good Christian.

They are building a wall around the Law – and anyone inside the wall is in their clique.

The main difference – Jesus didn’t see the oral traditions as binding – and He would show them the differences.

The Qumran – a community where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found – called the Pharisees – the ones who wanted smooth things – smoothing relationships – and smoothing things out instead of seeing things as they are – and they attacked the Pharisees for that attitude.

They probably started off well – with good intentions – protecting themselves for the Law – but it becomes an overzealousness toward oral tradition.

Where this comes down to – Simon’s attitude – what did Simon see? Not a woman or one with a capacity to love, but as a sinner – and Jesus made a distinction between how He sees her.

Ian – I was looking at the context – why is it significant to us? Table fellowship – Mike directed us to this – Jesus shared meals with sinners – and I never realized how significant that was in their culture. This was such an important part of their culture. I can’t even think of an analogy – but like a CEO having an important business meeting and having those from the community come and share their ideas on how the business should go.

The Pharisees saw the dinner as a way to keep things holy – and if the dinner was holy, the country would stay holy. But Jesus was not on board with that.

Think of inviting people of different races, sexual orientation and sharing life with them. I challenge you and myself – to find something of significance like this table fellowship.

They saw this woman as just a sinner. We come into spaces and put on our masks – and we are righteous to ourselves. This woman came in with the whole town knowing what she was – a prostitute – loving Jesus and going with boldness – asking for forgiveness and not being ashamed of her sin.

Scott – I come at this with a different – I was looking at the motivations of the woman and the Pharisee – many of these thoughts are Robin’s.

I read this passage and all this commentary on it – and I read it again this morning. And it is really a short passage for what we can get out of it. It is great to do that. I like to look at the culture – it tells us so much. Like the Table Fellowship – not something we have as much today.

Both the Pharisee and the woman both sought out Jesus. The Pharisee invited him – I think he had motivations of wanting to school Jesus! He was a younger, up and coming rabbi – and maybe he was trying to bring Jesus into his group and keep Him in check. I think he was concerned about his status – I think he wanted control.

The woman sought Jesus too – and sought to worship Jesus – maybe she met Him earlier in the week – and she recognized she was a sinner and received forgiveness from Jesus.

What she did – instead of protecting status, she gave up her status. Even though she was a sinner – she let herself be vulnerable.

This was a customary thing – being kissed as a greeting – feet washed – and Simon didn’t do any of this stuff. The woman knew He was going to be there – she premeditated this because she brought the perfume. She was there, she sought Jesus out – she let her hair down – (and in this culture, that was a big deal!). It was an intimate act – or a sign of grieving – when you have a loss – but she, instead of trying to school Jesus, wanted to learn from Him. She surrendered control. She cried in front of everybody – even the act of crying – that is losing control. Watching a movie – I tend to control that depending on who is in the room.

It may have been tears of joy for her forgiveness – but the Pharisee was trying to maintain control of the situation.

Jesus tells the parable about who is forgiven much…

“Your sins are forgiven” – Her faith led to forgiveness – devotion and humility for Jesus.

The people are left wondering - who is Jesus? He rebuked the host and gave praise to the woman.

That is what we got out of it.

John – A couple other thoughts – When Jesus interrupted – after the woman washed his feet – I have something to say to you – this was a rude way to interrupt or address the Pharisee – more of a direct statement – returning the rudeness that Simon had shown Him. Simon may have acted this way to smooth the relationships with the other Pharisees who may have been there – and Jesus – I’ve got something to say to you! And after the parable – the Pharisee assumed the greater debtor would have more gratitude –

“He who has been forgiven more loves more” – not the one who sins less. The Pharisee would have seen himself caught in that corner.

“You’ve answered correctly” – words of Socrates – the words Jesus used are the ones Socrates used.

Jesus’ attitude – don’t add to my words – God has spoken – don’t add to it!

Ask yourself: How do we exclude people based on our piety?

What group of people do we tend to be Pharisaic about?

Ian: What areas of our lives do we exclude people instead of building relationships – without ulterior motives – yes, we want them to be in our lives and to love well – and not just to try to lead them to Jesus.

Mike: Just a few thoughts to sum up – I appreciate all that was shared.

As I was listening – and as we talked on Zoom – this is really a passage of contrast and compare – and there are several things Luke does to do that.

The Pharisees attitude toward the woman and Jesus’ attitude toward the woman…

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner."

He categorized and stereotyped – that is what we do as humans. He did it to condemn and to exclude. Who do we keep out? This is how we keep people out – by putting them into a category and stereotyping them.

42 When they could not pay, he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?" 43 Simon answered, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled." Jesus said to him, "You have judged rightly."

There are two kinds of judging – Thou shalt not judge – the first judgment is one of discerning between good and bad, right and wrong, helpful and unhelpful.

The pharisee judges the parable rightly -the good kind of judging – he discerns what is good.

However, when it comes to his attitude toward the woman – he is judging her with the second kind of judgment – condemnation – contempt.

Jesus gets Simon to say this – and Simon condemns himself by judging rightly – and the judgment is placed back on him.

44 Then, turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman?”

Simon did not see this woman – he saw a sinner – and the worst of all kinds – the ones who break the BAD Commandments! Not the okay ones to break!

Jesus sees a humble and broken woman – one who – and Robin expressed this in our Zoom meeting – she is oblivious to everything else going on around her and her focus is solely fixed on Jesus because she has been forgiven of her sins.

47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which were many, are forgiven, thus she loved much; but the one who is forgiven little loves little." 48 Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

This is a theme in Luke -and we saw it in the prodigal of the Prodigal Son(s) – there are two types of sinners – the bad sinners – the woman and the younger brother – but then there is the good sinner – the Pharisee or the older brother – the one who stays – the law abiding sinner. The bad sinner is found! The bad sinner is forgiven and loves Jesus. The good sinner is lost, and we don’t know if he is ever found! The Pharisee is lost!


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