What is The Gospel?
The Gospel is the good news, that through Jesus Christ, God has made away for sins to be forgiven, adoption into His family and eternal life with Him.
Scripture reading: Luke 7:36-50, ESV
Dining with a Pharisee – VS 36-40; 44-46
Every culture has its customary courtesies to be observed when hosting people at your home. In this culture there were 3 courtesies customarily performed to make guests feel welcomed, wanted and respected.
1. Washing of feet
2. Kiss of greeting.
3. Anointing with Oil.
VS 44-46 informs us that none of these courtesies were performed for Jesus and the omission was a sure sign of disrespect. Whatever the reason is that Jesus got the invite to dinner, it was not to honor Him.
Another point of culture… it was common for those with means to have a shaded patio where gatherings would take place and it was common for uninvited people to gather around to listen to the conversation.
Among those gathered on the periphery was a woman,whom Luke says; was well known in the community as a “sinner”. Seems she heard Jesus was at the Pharisee’s house,perhaps she heard about His unwashed feet and she set out to go there. She took an alabaster flask of ointment with her.
Luke doesn’t say it, but the point is certainly implied, that this woman had encountered Jesus before. A case can be made that she came there intentionally to do for Jesus what the Pharisee host did not do. Wash His feet.
Jesus is reclined at table, His feet are positioned away from the table and Luke says the woman stood behind Him, at His feet. How long she stood there, we don’t know, but as she did she began to cry. Not a few small tears, but a flood of tears, making Jesus’ feet wet.
She took her hair down, got on her knees and began whipping His feet with her hair. Finally, she took the ointment in the Alabaster flask and poured it on His feet.
What a scene! – Whatever Jesus had done for her prior to this dinner party, it had deeply moved her in the depths of her soul.
On the other-hand, the host was not impressed. This little scene only hardened his heart more against Jesus.Word on the street was that Jesus was a prophet. Simon believed he had proof now that Jesus was no prophet.
Simon reasoned in his mind; if Jesus was a prophet, He would know what kind of women this was and He would recoil in disgust at her touch.
Although unspoken, Jesus new what Simon was thinking and confronted his misinformed thoughts.
A Parable – VS 40-47
Jesus talked about 2 debtors. One owed 500 days wages and the other, 50 days wages.Neither could repay their debt. Even though the moneylender had the right to throw both in prison, he chose to release them both. Jesus asked: Which of them will love him more?
· Both were in debt – Romans 3:23
· Both could not pay – Romans 6:23a
· Both had access to forgiveness of their debt – Romans 6:23b
Truth Point #1: If both owed a debt and neither can pay, does it matter what size the debt is?
In human terms we tend to think that the salvation of a drug-addict, prostitute, or murderer takes a greater miracle of grace than the salvation of an adorable child, teenager, or an man who loves his wife, pays his taxes and tries to do good to others.
That’s the way Simon and his friends saw things. God’s perspective is different.
It took the punishment and death of His perfect Son to save anyone. Any sinner who receives the forgiveness of their sin debt, does so because of God’s good gift through Jesus Christ.
Truth Point #2: There was no qualitative difference between the religionist and the prostitute, but there was an experiential difference.
Because of faith, and the grace of God, the prostitute’s sins were forgiven. The evidence of that forgiveness is demonstrated in the Lavish Love pouring forth from her soul.
The prostitute joyously received much forgiveness, and in kind loved much. The Religionist who didn’t see need for forgiveness, loved little, because he was forgiven little-to-nothing.
Your Sins are forgiven – VS 48-50
3 truths pertaining to Divine Forgiveness:
1. Only God, through Christ,can do it. – Jesus is God wrapped in human flesh, on a Divine Mission to pay sin’s full price. Only He could declare this woman to be “right”before God. It remains the same today.
2. God’s Grace Amazes those witnessing it. – Encountering someone who looks on their past sinfulness, not with regret, but with confidence in Christ’s work on their behalf, that is truly amazing.
Only God’s Grace can put our past in this proper perspective and give us future hope of glory.
3. Gives a sinner peace with God. There is no gift more precious than to have peace in your soul, that the debt held against you by God, has been paid and you are free to be loved by Him as a Son or Daughter.
Which of the two characters in this account represents you best?
· Are you the sinner who knows you need forgiveness, and you’ve received it by God’s Grace, and now stand “free” and“righteously” in His presence?
· Are you the religionist who thinks you are pretty good as you are. You’ve made some improvements. Surely God is pleased with your work.
If you are represented by the “sinner redeemed” then you know the joy of right relationship with God Are you telling others what Christ has done for them?
If you are represented by the “religionist,” let me assure you that no matter how much improvement you’ve made, your works will never win for you aright relationship with God.
Only the work of Jesus, through His Cross and Resurrection can do that.
Won’t you walk away from your self-improvement,self-righteousness and embrace the transformation and true righteousness of Christ Jesus?
I invite you to respond to Him today.
The Mission Church is committed to serving God by making disciples in the Des Moines area.
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