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Why Do We Love Christ?

October 14, 2018 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series: Luke

Topic: Love Verse: Luke 7:36–7:50

“Why Do We Love Christ?”

Luke 7:36-50

Theme: The power of saving grace produces a love that does all it can to honor the Savior.

 

 

Introduction: As Luke continues to guide us through the understanding of the rejection of the Lord by the religious establishment, we are introduced to an example of the how backwards the Pharisees had it. Whereas when they ought to have been grieving over their sin, they were rejoicing in their self-righteousness; and, when they ought to have been rejoicing over the forgiveness of sinners, they were sulking at Jesus’ affection for the very ones who need forgiveness. The Scriptures make it clear that with very few exceptions, the Pharisees had made up their minds already to oppose Jesus – regardless of what He did. This story illustrates the mindset of the Pharisees toward Jesus and the deplorables who believed in Him.

 

At the same time, it demonstrates the transformation of a sinner – a woman – who found the forgiveness of her sins and as a result is uninhibited in her desire to worship Jesus for what He has done for her. The main thrust in this story is found in v. 47. We discover that the more we comprehend what Jesus did in cleansing us of our sinfulness, the deeper of love for Him grows. What He has done for us impacts us so radically, that our devotion to Him becomes uncontainable – that is, we discover that our capacity to worship and honor Him is too limited for the intensity of gratitude and adoration that we possess. Our text teaches us that our love for Him exists because of both who He is and what He has done for us. Let us turn to the text and observe these things clearly …

I. He Loves Us Despite Our Sin7:36-39

A. He Loved the Pharisee Despite His Rejection – v. 36

  • As mentioned, it appears that every Pharisee was scrambling seeking to be “the guy” that bests Jesus in their constant jousting.
  • On each occasion when a Pharisee had invited Jesus to a meal, it was always a hostile environment – with the Pharisee seeking to find fault in some way with Jesus – cp. Luke 11:37, 53-54; Luke 14:1ff
  • In our text, we are told “Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.”
  • The fact that this Pharisee “was requesting” [ἐρωτάω] Imperfect Act. Ind. - indicates that he was insistent & relentless in wanting Jesus in his house.
  • Given the reception that Simon gives to Jesus, it is clear that this is not a warm environment – some of the common courtesies offered to guests at such a banquet were withheld from Jesus – cp. vv. 44-46.
  • His motivation seemed to be to get a better view at Jesus in order to confirm his prejudice against Him – “to confirm his derogatory opinion of this famous rabbi.”
  • We know that this man was merely gathering evidence against Jesus as no self-respecting Pharisee would invite a known blasphemer into his house unless doing so promised to provide damning evidence against Him.
  • Nevertheless, Jesus enters this hostile setting for one main reason – His desire to see Simon saved by means of the testimony of the woman who would provide a shameful rebuke on his host’s unbelief.
  • One of the most powerful means by which the Holy Spirit draws sinners to faith is through the evidences of grace in the lives of believers – does the He have the ability to point to you?

B. He Loved the Woman Despite Her Reputation – vv. 37-39

  • As if on cue, we are told that “there was a woman in the city who as a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume …”
      1. The description of this woman as “a sinner” is wide open without any specific sin designated; however, it is likely that her renown and the mention that she was “in the city” suggests that she was a “professional adulterer,” – a woman of the streets.
      2. At the very least, she was a well-known “sinner” by the majority of the people “in the city.”
      3. Her possession of “an alabaster vial of perfume” suggests that she was of means as “alabaster” was an expensive kind of marble that was semitransparent white or yellow and delicately crafted to allow the “vial” to be permanently sealed and then strategically broken at a narrow portion of the neck to allow access to the “perfume.”
  • Her access to the banquet followed a custom of allowing general public to enter an official banquet as long as they a) remained quiet; and, b) stayed on the periphery of the room so as to not interfere – especially when there was entertainment of some kind.
  • Thus, this “… woman … [was] standing behind Him at His feet.”
  • Clearly the Pharisee knew who she was – and that she was not immediately thrown out could indicate that she was overly “familiar” with this Pharisee and he couldn’t afford the controversy of dealing with her.
  • As she was “standing” there, her heart is overwhelmed with the mercy that she had experienced from Jesus and His message of faith, repentance, and forgiveness of sin.
  • It is apparent that she had known the forgiveness of God already that her desire to worship Jesus had caused her to get the perfume and come to where Jesus was in order to worship Him.
  • In her sense of utter gratitude, she became overwhelmed by emotion, and “weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears …”
      1. “weeping” [κλαίω] – is a term that describes a shoulder heaving sob, sometimes translated to “bewail” or “lament” - indicating intense emotion.
      2. “to wet” [βρέχω] – is the term for “rain” – that is, to fall in drops until what is below becomes wet.
      3. Her “tears” streamed as she sobbed in pure emotion – as she reflected on all of what she was guilty before God and all that Jesus had done in forgiving her – she was overwhelmed.
  • All of a sudden, she realized that Jesus’ feet were filthy – they hadn’t been washed by the host.
  • She obviously knelt down and “kept wiping them with the hair of her head and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.”
  • Jesus didn’t object at all - He welcomed the expression of adoration and humility before Him; this woman was responding appropriately to what God had done for her in forgiving her sins.
  • It is interesting that her “hair” was considered a woman’s crown of glory and she used it as a deep expression of humility and devotion.
  • She was engaged in pure adoration of Jesus – honoring Him with all that she was and had – and “kissing His feet” was a sign of complete abandonment of her own dignity or prestige.
  • Simon was disgusted by this shameless display – “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 sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.’”
  • This was his “Aha!” moment when his prejudice was confirmed – Jesus was a fake!
  • His vision was corrupted by his own self-righteousness – and he concluded that Jesus was ignorant, naïve and self-aggrandizing in receiving this woman’s worship.

Application:

  • Reflect on your response to the Gospel … how many times did you reject Christ before you confessed Him as your Lord?
  • What caused you to yield to Him in faith – what convinced you that He was the Savior?
  • What impact has the forgiveness of sin had on your life? How should your worship change in light of what Jesus has done for you?

II. He Forgives Us of Our Sin7:40-48

A. The Parable of Our Forgiveness – vv. 40-43

  • Instead of being ignorant, Jesus displays that He is omniscient – “And Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ And he replied, ‘Say it, Teacher.’”
  • Interestingly, Jesus answers “thoughts” swirling in Simon’s head – no one had asked anything: Jesus simply derails Simon’s “train of thought.”
  • So, Jesus provides a favorite teaching tool – a parable: “A money lender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?”
  • A “denarii” (a denarius) was about one day’s common wage – which translated into today’s CA wages would be about $74,476 and $7,447.60 respectively.
  • We are told that “Simon answered and said, ‘I supposed the one whom he forgave more.’ And He said to him, ‘You have judged correctly.’”
  • This is not a reference to the severity of sins – but of a person’s consciousness of their sin – something which is never equal to the actual debt of our sin.

B. The Proofs of Our Forgiveness – vv. 44-47

  • Jesus immediately applies the parable – “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.”
  • Jesus’ point is that what Simon failed to do because of his self-righteous desire for self-promotion and his attitude of disdain for Jesus displayed by his lack of hospitality, this “sinner” had done for Him.
  • He continues: “You gave Me no kiss; but she since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.”
  • All of these things display the great awareness of what Jesus had done for her in forgiving her of her sins – but Simon was unimpressed since He had not turned to Jesus in faith at all.
  • This places on display the principle: “for this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
      1. “have been forgiven” [ἀφέωνται] – is a perfect passive plurual – indicating that the forgiveness was at some point in the past with present results.
      2. This woman’s worship of Him is the natural outgrowth or result of forgiveness, not the means of forgiveness.
  • Jesus point is not that her emotion and love has gained forgiveness for herself, but that because of her faith God has forgiven her and her response to His grace and mercy is this outburst of adoration for Christ!
  • Her, humility, sacrifice, and devotion were all the proofs that she had been forgiven NOT the reason she had been forgiven.

C. The Proclamation of Our Forgiveness – v. 48

  • Thus, Jesus clarifies for all to hear: “Then He said to her, ‘Your sins have been forgiven.’”
  • This clear statement demonstrates the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive sins – cp. Luke 5:20
  • Jesus affirms the reality of this woman’s reconciliation with God – her devotion and unrestrained love for Christ was the mark of a transformed life.
  • Again, “… have been forgiven” [ἀφέωνταί] – refers to a past event when faith was placed in Christ Jesus when sin was “sent away” or the “relevance of sin was disassociated from the sinner” – with the current benefit being devotion and sacrifice of worship.
  • Notice, that Jesus does not downplay the significance of her sins – “… which are many …” (v. 47) – but He magnifies grace!
  • “No sweeter words have issued from those blessed lips, and how they delight to absolve!”
  • How could we not love Him who so graciously, mercifully, and fully forgives us of our sin?!

Application:

  • How does your awareness of your sinfulness affect the intensity of your worship of Christ?
  • If someone were to assess the reality of your having your sins forgiven on the basis of your levels of sacrifice & service for Christ, what would they conclude?
  • How can you be more faithful in demonstrating your love for Christ Jesus – name one change that you ought to make?

III. He Safeguards Us from Our Sin7:49-50

A. He Exercises Divine Prerogatives – v. 49

  • When Jesus declares that the woman’s sins have been forgiven, those in attendance realize that Jesus Himself is the one doing the forgiving.
  • This was a blasphemy to those who refuse to acknowledge that Jesus is God – cp. Luke 5:20-21
  • We are told that there was an immediate “buzz” – “Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this man who even forgives sins?’”
  • They each kept their thoughts to themselves and thus no charge of blasphemy was leveled against Christ.
  • But, it was not lost on these men that Jesus was exercising the divine prerogative of forgiving sins – even as He does for us!

B. His Extends Divine Peace – v. 50

  • His parting words to this woman demonstrates the enduring nature of God’s grace in our lives – “And He said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’”
  • He thus underscores that salvation is by grace through “faith” – and not on the basis of the results of her faith – devotion, sacrifice, and service.
  • His command to “Go in peace” describes His promise to her – that God would provide her sustained grace.
  • “peace” [εἰρήνην] – “… is both a condition in which we live when our sins are gone, salvation is ours, and God is our friend, and the feeling of peace that results from that condition. The feeling may fluctuate and even be absent at times, but the condition abides unchanged …”
  • It is supposed that Jesus’ love for Simon eventually results in him coming to faith in Christ as his Savior given that he is named.

Application:

  • Consider the difference between the condition of peace and the feeling of peace; what causes discrepancies when they exist?
  • Have you ever been astonished that Jesus has forgiven a sin? Do you believe it is “more difficult” for Jesus to forgive some sins over others?
  • Jesus came to give us peace and therefore it is to be the prevailing sense within the Christian life. What is your estimate of the percentage of your experience is characterized by peace? How is peace sustained (Galatians 5:22)?