I will be posting a series of sermon notes on selected passages from Luke over the next few weeks.
Luke 7:36-50 ESV
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he 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, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Intro: When we have a guest of honor, we put on our very best. What if you knew a celebrity would be coming to eat at a house on your street?
Thesis: Jesus, through Luke, uses a sinful woman to show his followers what they should really be like. Luke has no shortage of irony.
- This is the first of 3 Pharisee dinners in Luke. In each of them, a Pharisee says something snarky that Jesus has to respond to. In 2 of them, someone comes into the house, causing the stir.
- Not Mary Magdalene
- Compare with the other foot washing stories in Matt, Mark, John
- Alabaster = nard
Trans: [Luk 7:35 ESV] 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” – Wisdom can be seen by its fruits. Who is wise, the pharisee or the sinner?
Seek the presence of the Lord
- Simon the Pharisee is a rude host
- Some context: [Luk 7:29-30 ESV] 29 (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, 30 but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)
- Discuss Pharisees as the standard of righteousness, see Matthew 5:20.
- [Mat 5:16, 20 ESV] 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. … 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
- [Jhn 13:3-5, 12-15 ESV] 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. … 12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
- The Pharisee has invited Jesus into the house, but he is not seeking the presence of the Messiah. The woman is far more prepared to hear out the Savior.
Trans: Have you ever met someone famous and not realized it?
Always be ready for worship
- C.H. Spurgeon – “Not a word, I say, came from her; and, brethren, we would prefer a single speechless lover of Jesus, who acted as she did, to ten thousand noisy talkers who have no gifts, no heart, no tears.”
- She does not come with a towel but brings what she has – perfume, tears, and hair
- Worship is shown in loving action and is the manifestation of faith (even Job worshiped in his sorrow)
Trans: Helping a pregnant wife. There’s never enough I can do to compensate for all she is doing.
Remember the debt you’ve been forgiven – be repentant
- Sin is debt – God is the gracious giver of all that we have and sin is pride and selfishness in essence
- CHS – “First trust Christ for the pardon of thy sin: when thou hast done this, thy sins are forgiven, and then love shall flash to thy heart as the result of gratitude for what the Redeemer has done for thee. Grace is the source of love, but faith is the agent by which love is brought to us. “
- Compare this story to Luke 18:9 – the Pharisee and the tax collector
- [Luk 18:9-14 ESV] 9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
- The impact of grace – this woman before grace and after grace. The tears of repentance.
- “Your faith has made you whole” (2 more times after this in Luke, both physical healings)
Trans: We see true wisdom in the heart of the sinful woman. wisdom is justified by all her children.
Conclusion: communion – repentance, worship
Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.