Summary of sermon by Dietmar Joosten, 09 Aug 2015
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 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. 38 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.
39 When 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.”
Many of us have invited the Lord into our lives. And maybe the Lord even reclined with you at table, spiritually. You might think that you’re doing a good deed for the Lord, and He should be impressed. Many Christians today know exactly how to live as a Christian. But there’s a big difference between knowing and doing. Jesus said, ‘blessed are they who hear God’s Word and keep it’ (Luke 11:28). Many of us are like this Pharisee and know what is expected of us, but do we live it? Does your life change things around you, or are you perhaps a Pharisee?
Jesus had been invited to this man’s house and while Jesus was sitting to have dinner with him, this woman enters. It’s amazing how the Lord handles the situation, when she wept upon his feet, as if he knew she was coming (The Jewish custom of eating was that they would sort of lie down with their feet to the back). The first reaction from this Pharisee, Simon, is interesting, ‘does Jesus know who this woman is?’ Do you see the reaction of a Pharisee? The Lord saw this woman needed help. The Pharisee saw her as a sinner that would just create trouble. What is your reaction like when you see someone in trouble because of sin? Is it like the Pharisee or Jesus?
She used the very thing that was an idol in her life, her hair, and wiped the feet of the Lord. She despised it and counted it as nothing. When last have you been convicted as this woman, where you cry that the tears run down your cheeks about an idol in your life? Do not take it lightly. Doing is different than hearing.
This woman was overwhelmed. She was a dreadful sinner. She knew her sin has broken many a marriage. Many people hated her for what she had done. And great was her conviction. Great was the work of God in her life, to show her the evil of her life. It was the end of her sinful lifestyle. Her whole life was transformed at that moment.
Do you see someone who has met the Lord Jesus? It’s not like those who just say, ‘Lord come into my life’, but nothing changes!
The Pharisee, when he saw this, criticised her and the Lord in her heart. We also often speak in our own hearts. Do you really know what you’re saying to yourself and do to yourself? The Lord immediately stopped him in his tracks.
The Lord said that He has come for those that are sick, sick in their sin (Mark 2:17). Those are the ones He loves, those are the ones He died for.
The Bible says the heart is evil (Jer 17:9). You know the thoughts of your heart. Maybe you are worse than the Pharisee. The Pharisees were religious people, and that was the problem.
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 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?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 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. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Through her actions the Lord saw her heart. You might talk for hours how much you love the Lord, but do your actions testify to the same?
When last have you given someone a glass of water to drink? Jesus said that if you have done it to the least, you have done it for Him.
What is your life like at home with your family? How do your family know that the love of the Lord is burning in your heart? It’s simple. If you’ve been forgiven much, you will love much. Look at your love for the Lord and you will know how much you have been forgiven. Both the Pharisee and the woman had a debt of sin that couldn’t be paid.
The Lord died on the Cross that our sin might be forgiven and our debt paid. Simon, through his actions showed that he was a Pharisee. He thought that he did something for the Lord, but when it came to the crux, he drew back and failed the test.
If you know the depth of your sin and that the Lord has forgiven you, you cannot remain the same. We don’t know what happened to this Pharisee. But we know that this woman was changed forever. The Lord had forgiven her.
Maybe there are some in the service for whom the Lord had done something, but you carry on as if nothing changed. Like a bound chicken, when it’s untied, remain lying down as if still tied, until given a little fright and then only realises that it’s freed. So too many people hear the words that they’re forgiven but continue living as if they’re still bound. No, let us live as those that are set free by Christ if He has indeed set you free. That He can use you after that.
We read in the Lord ’s Prayer, ‘forgive us as we forgive those who have sinned against us’ (Matt 6:12). If you have bitterness, ask yourself if you have been forgiven? And forgive those that have sinned against you.
Christ’s forgiveness changed this woman’s life. Has that happened to you?