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Sunday, April 30, 2017

posted May 1, 2017, 2:41 PM by Site Administrator

7

 

FOR SHE LOVED MUCH 

 

Luke 7:36-50

Key Verse 7:47

 

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.

 

First, "Standing behind him, weeping" (36-38). In the previous passages, we learned about Jesus’ powerful ministry: he healed the sick, and raised the dead. The news about him spread throughout Judea and even other countries. People were wandering who he might be, probably, the Messiah. One of the Pharisees, named Simon, wanted to see for himself who Jesus was, so he invited him to dinner. Even though Jesus was very busy, he graciously accepted Simon’s invitation and went to his house. In those days, people would eat at low tables, reclining on cushions, with their feet stretched out away from the table. When Jesus arrived at Simon’s house, he, too, stretched out his feet and reclined at the table along with the other guests.

 

As they waited for dinner to be served, Simon was telling Jesus all about his impressive education—how he had studied under the most prominent Rabbis, received Ph.D.’s in Theology, History, and Literature, and also a law degree from the prestigious Torah Law School in Jerusalem. Everything was getting along wonderfully, and the servants were just beginning to bring out the food, when suddenly, the music stopped, and, all at once, the party guests made a collective gasp, "Huhhh!" Every one stared with wide eyes and open jaws as a suspicious-looking woman entered the room. Her blue dress was cut much lower than was comfortable for the conservative sensibilities of the other party guests. Also, her blue eye shadow, long, dangling earrings, and many silver and gold bracelets made her look even more suspicious. Who was this party-crasher?

 

Verse 37 says that she had lived a sinful life in that town.In those days, the label, "a sinful woman," meant, especially, that she lived a sexually promiscuous life. That she lived such a life "in that town" tells us that, over the years, she had built up a reputation in that town as an exceptional sinner.Normally, this kind of woman would not visit a Pharisee's house where she would be despised and condemned. Simply, she didn't belong there. But this woman, despite the possibility of ridicules and rejection, visited; when we think about this, we see that she was almost compelled to visit; why? It was all because of Jesus. The Pharisee's house was very burdensome for her, but she came to that burdensome place, because Jesus was there. If Jesus was there, she was willing to go any place. 

 

She carried perfume in an alabaster jar, showing that the reason why she visited the Pharisee's house was to express her thanks and respect to Jesus by pouring perfume on his feet. So, as she entered the Pharisee's house, she quickly glanced atthe party guests, noticed where Jesus was reclining, and came and stood behind him. Now the only thing left was to pour perfume on Jesus' feet. But things didn't go as she had planned. 

 

Verse 38 reads: "and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears." This must not be something she had planned. But as she stood behind Jesus at his feet, deep emotion welled up in her heart and tears began to flow down on her cheeks. As she stood there weeping, tears fell down on Jesus' feet, drop by drop, until his feet got wet. It requires a lot of tears to wet someone's feet. Probably, it was the tears of thanks; but also, it was the tears of true repentance, recognizing her sin as sin, combined with thanks that God had not condemned her, but given her another chance as if she had done nothing wrong. When she was touched by God's grace through Jesus' message, she was thankful for giving her another chance; she was happy that God was not angry with her despite her many sins; God's grace made her happy and thankful. But now as she came to express her thanks to Jesus, she could truly recognize her sin as sin, something really ugly, shameful and terrible - all her wickedness, all her immoral life, wayward life flashed into her mind as something really wicked, something that could not be accepted; it was indeed marvelous grace that, despite her terrible sins, despicable sins, God was not condemning her. This recognition of her sins combined with God's marvelous grace upon her made her really weep endlessly, until her tears wet Jesus' feet; all her sins were really melting in her with her tears, and with these tears, her inner soul was being purified. 

 

I am not sure if animals shed a lot of tears; I have never seen any animal cry so much like we humans do; it seems that God created humans to cry. Some people had research about the purpose and content of tears. One person compared tears induced from sadness with tears caused by cutting a raw onion. He found that the tears caused by emotional stimuli contained more total protein than those that resulted from irritation. He proposed that the emotionally based tears contained high levels of cortisol, which is the primary hormone released during stressful situations. This suggests that we may be literally releasing toxins from our system when we cry, and that crying itself may support our overall wellbeing, physically and even spiritually. Try to cry a lot - cry because of God's grace upon you; cry for your sheep; cry for your family members' salvation; cry for your own sins; as you cry a lot, shedding a lot of tears, you grow healthy and sound as spiritual people. When we cry a lot, we are spiritually healthy and our relationship with God is sound; surely, blessed are you when you weep and mourn. Maybe, crying is the evidence of sound growth in Jesus Christ. When was the last time when you shed tears so much like this woman?

 

While she was weeping, all the people there held their breath, without being able to say anything. They were wondering, "What's going on? What is she doing?" Then, something more amazing happened. While she was weeping and wetting Jesus' feet with her tears, she grabbed her long silky black hair, and she wiped Jesus' feet with her hair. Woman's hair represents her glory. That's why they spend so much time and effort for their hair. No woman wants to wipe someone's feet with her hair. But she did it, and it was her expression of true submission to Jesus - in her eyes, Jesus was so precious and great and she was so unworthy, and even her best part, her hair was not worthy of Jesus, so she wiped his feet with her hair; she honored Jesus as a servant of God so highly, deserving her complete submission, for he was God's messenger to her. Then, she kissed his feet again and again. No one wants to kiss someone's feet, but at least, hand or cheek. But she didn't think that she was worthy to touch Jesus' hand or cheek, but only his feet. 

 

Then, taking the alabaster jar in her hands, she broke its seal. Immediately, the entire room was filled with the fragrant aroma of expensive perfume. This kind of perfume was worth a year’s wages—today, it would cost about $40,000 dollars!Every drop was so valuable, but she did not hesitate to pour out every drop of the precious perfume on Jesus’ feet. Perfume is not to be poured; instead, people use it drop by drop or spray it just a little; that way, they want to keep it as long as possible. But she poured it on Jesus' feet. Just as she poured out her tears, she poured out the entire perfume of the jar on Jesus’ feet. This expensive perfume touched Jesus’ feet, fell, fell to the ground and was gone in about two minutes. Once the perfume was gone, her marriage dream was gone; she sacrificed her marriage dream to express her thanks to him, to adorn his feet for two minutes. She would never use that much money for her mom; maybe, for her mom, $50.00 steak dinner on the mother's day. For her dad, maybe, another steak dinner, but definitely not $40,000.00. But she was happy to spend $40,000.00 to decorate Jesus for 2 minutes; Jesus was special.

 

Here, the three items she used - hair, kiss, and perfume - represent her best treasures, her most valuable possessions, and she used them all for Jesus' feet, showing how highly she considered him, and how undeserving and unworthy she considered herself. Even her best treasure, her best expression of honor still was not enough in her eyes that she didn't stop kissing his feet, and just poured out the perfume on them freely. When she truly appreciated what Jesus had done for her, she was so happy to express her thanks to him by pouring our all her best treasures. She was a happy person. In the same way, when you know Jesus' love for you really, when you truly appreciate what he has done for you, you come to express your thanks and love for him really, by pouring out all your best treasures for him freely - by pouring out your time and energy, your youth and money. At that time, your Christian life is passionate and powerful, so action-packed that many amazing things occur, and as you live that kind of powerful and action-packed Christian life, you are happy and satisfied. You live a wonderful Christian life.

 

Second, "For she loved much" (39-50). Look at verse 39. At this, Simon was shocked and entertained doubt in his heart. 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." Simon judged Jesus in his heart, but Jesus still heard him. Look at verses 40 through 4240Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. 41"Two men owed money to a certain money lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"

 

In Jesus’ parable, we find two debtors who owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. A denarius was a Roman soldier's day's wage. In today’s terms, we can say that one owed one hundred thousand dollars, and the other owed ten thousand dollars. But the problem was that neither of them could pay the money lender back. Here, the one who owed five hundred denarii refers to those who are obviously sinful like the woman in the passage, those party animals, simply unrighteous people, and the one who owed fifty denarii refers to those who look moral or righteous like Simon the Pharisee. Even though they look different in human eyes - moralistic and immoral, righteous-looking and unrighteous-looking, in God's eyes, they are the same - neither of them is capable to pay the price of their sins. Both of them are sinful, deserving God's judgment. In God's eyes, there is no one who is righteous; whether moralistic or immoral, all mankind fall short of the glory of God, deserving God's eternal judgment; even if some people may look good, but in God's eyes, who sees everything hidden, man's heart is corrupt beyond cure; all our righteousness is like filthy rags in God's eyes. Thereby, no one can brag about himself.

 

Then, the only way to solve our sin problem is to be forgiven of, and God is willing to, God is pleased to forgive our sins. The money lender cancelled the debts of both of them freely. In the same way, God is willing to forgive the sins of people freely. That's why God established the sacrifice system in the Old Testament so that by seeing the blood of animals, He would forgive the sins of the Israel people freely.What relationship is there between man's sin and animal blood? Nothing! But, in that system, when God saw the blood of animals, He forgave those sinners freely, because He wanted to forgive. Then, in the New Testament God sacrificed his One and Only Son so that He would forgive anyone who believes in him. Jesus died on the cross 2,000 years ago, but even today, if anyone believes in him as the Christ, God is happy to forgive his or her sins freely. It is indeed God's willing desire to forgive people of their sins. This is the expression of God's love for all mankind. 

 

Then, Jesus asks, "Now which of them will love him more?" This question of Jesus shows what God wants when He forgives us of our sins freely: He wants us to love Him, even love Him much! What does it mean here to "love" him? It means to show him our true appreciation, even much, for forgiving our sins just like the woman did in the passage. God forgave you in Jesus Christ freely; God cancelled your debt freely. How should you respond to this favor of God? God wants us to love Him back, by appreciating his favor for us really, by passionately loving Him with tears, with hairs, with kisses, and with perfume - with all our best treasures. How is your Christian life? Is it with a lot of tears, hairs, kisses, and perfume? Or just about doing some Christian things? Do you love God much? God wants us to truly appreciate what He has done for us by pouring out our perfume on his feet; that's what it means to love God. When you love God much like this, your Christian life is really wonderful. 

 

So many Christians live a very boring Christian life - there is no zealous passion; there is no true excitement; there is no true wholeheartedness toward God; they really hate such a boring Christian life. What's their problem? Their problem is that they do not love God much; they do not truly appreciate what God has done for them. Instead, they take everything for granted, saying, "I am forgiven, because I believe in Jesus. God loves all peoples on earth." They take everything casually. As a result, they fail to truly appreciate what God has done for them, even if their terrible sins are forgiven. Instead of struggling hard to truly grasp God's grace upon their life, they just quickly go by theology they have heard about from their pastors and come up with all kinds of Bible knowledge and theological expressions. At that time, indeed, they cannot appreciate what God has done for them, because they do not know it really; so they love God little; as a result, at best they just go through the motion, or they just do basic Christian things; or at best, they become moralistic or nice people, doing some philanthropic works. This is how so many Christians live their life - boring. The kind of relationship they have with Jesus is just official, not personal, a kind of deal - they do these Christian things and expect that Jesus would give them a ticket to heaven.

 

Do you want to have a wonderful Christian life? Then, count what God has done for you and really grasp his love for you. God has done great things for you in and through Jesus Christ - God forgave all your sins and gave you this new life in Jesus Christ. When you truly appreciate it, you will love God really passionately willing to pour out your perfume on Jesus freely. At that time, your Christian life will be really wonderful and powerful, and you will be truly happy and satisfied with your Christian life.

 

At this question, Simon answered that the one who had the bigger debt canceled would love the moneylender more.Jesus agreed with Simon, saying, "You have judged correctly." 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. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet."

 

Jesus’ words, "I came into your house," show how much he loved Simon. No one likes to be around a self-righteous person. But, amazingly, Jesus did not despise a self-absorbed and self-righteous Pharisee. Instead, he came into Simon’s house and reclined at Simon’s table. It was such amazing grace that the Son of God would come into the house of one proud sinner. As a result, Simon had a chance to know Jesus and enjoy personally fellowship with him—what a wonderful chance! But, Simon did not appreciate this love and grace of Jesus. Jesus said to Simon, "I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet,... You did not give me a kiss,... You did not put oil on my head."

 

Jesus was so sorrowful that Simon, who knew the Bible did not treat him well. But, instead, it was the woman who had lived such a shameful and dirty life who showed him suchburning and passionate love. Jesus expects that those who have been Christian for many years should love him the most.But, in many cases, their love for Jesus is so tasteless and stale; instead, we have heard the testimonies of people who spent their lives partying uncontrollably, doing drugs, and indulging in sexual immorality, but who now love Jesus so passionately—they are the ones who are now pouring out their lives for Jesus day after day. But, those who have been Christians all their lives have such little love for Jesus - maybe, barely 2.0 GPA by doing minimum activities so that they can go to heaven. They diligently work to secure theirlives in this world pouring their time and energy freely, but when it comes to Jesus, they excuse themselves, saying, "I go to worship service; later I will serve him." They must hearwhat Jesus says today. "I came into your house. But you did not give me any water for my feet. You did not give me a kiss. You did not put oil on my head."

 

Jesus says, "I came into your house." This is the expression of his love for us. While we were sinners, Jesus visited us in our lowly place; while we didn't care about God at all, Jesus wrestled with us, struggling hard to turn our eyes from things of this world to God; and only by his grace, now we are growing up as children of God. Jesus has done so much, going extra miles for us. Yet, how painful he must be when he has to say, "I came into your house. You didn't give me any water,... You didn't give me a kiss,... You didn't put oil on my head." Also, how painful it is for us to hear him say such words - we never want Jesus say such disturbing words to us. Thus, it is the responsibility of all the believers to show hot and passionate love for Jesus. Those who truly appreciate God's love for them love God so dearly, pouring out everything they have for himToday, Jesus visits you expecting such warm welcome. He expects you to show such great hospitality to him, wetting and washing his feetwith tears of repentance and thanks, kissing them unceasingly, and pouring perfume on them. Today, Jesus visits our houses, and knocks at the door, saying, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."(Rev 3:20) How are you going to treat him today?

 

Look at verse 47Let’s read this verse together: 

 

47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little. 

 

When Jesus saw how she loved him, he could understand very clearly that her many sins had been forgiven. In Jesus’ eyes, those who love much are those who have been forgiven much, and those who love little are those who have been forgiven little. Are you forgiven much? Then, now you love Jesus much by pouring out all your best treasures for him. The reason why modern day church-going people are not passionate in loving God is because simply their sins have not been forgiven much, even if they have been in the church environment for many years. 1 John 4:19 says, "We love because he first loved us."

 

Jesus said to the woman, "Your sins are forgiven."Already, it was obvious to him that her many sins had been forgiven, and now for her sake, he simply proclaimed that her sins were forgiven. At this, the guests at the party, understood it as a theological matter. Yet, Jesus simply ignored them. Instead, he turned to the woman and said, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." The woman, when she had come to Jesus' meeting and heard his message, she was deeply touched by his message. She experienced God's love through him. At that time, she came to honor and respect Jesus highly, because in her eyes, it was obvious that Jesus was God's servant, God's messenger. So, she could show such passionate love and devotion to him, because it was the expression of her thanks to God. About this, Jesus said to her, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

 

One Word: For She Loved Much. 

 

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