Monday, November 20, 2006



In Luke 7:36-50 a fascinating scene occurs between a very religious man by the name of Simon and an unrighteous prostitute who is anonymous. Let’s take a look at it: When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. 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. 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.

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."

Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." 
"Tell me, teacher," he said. "Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 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?" Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven." "You have judged correctly," Jesus said.

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. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little."

Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

The contrast here is clear. On the one hand, you have a self-righteous Pharisee who sees no great need that he has before God and therefore it doesn’t occur to him that he ought to feel grateful to God. Then on the other hand, you have a sinful woman, a known prostitute in the village, who is passionately attending to Jesus out of a deep feeling of gratitude.

The central idea here is forgiveness. Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and he also came to give His life as a ransom for many. In every one of the four Gospels you will find this same sort of scene where Jesus is forgiving those who are broken and in need.

In this particular scene this prostitute breaks open a very expensive jar of perfume and worships Jesus’ feet with it. Jesus takes the opportunity to make His primary, life-changing point—people are in desperate need of forgiveness. And, Jesus came to reach out to the broken, hurting, poor and spiritually bankrupt within society. But there is more to this story than just another broken person restored. This story revolves around her appreciation of being forgiven. It’s important to note that both characters in the parable Jesus shares are forgiven of their debts—one more than the other. Those who are forgiven little have little appreciation and gratefulness.

Since she was forgiven of much, she had this great need to thank Jesus in any way she could. She was indeed grateful while Simon, the man who had it all together, was not filled with gratitude, because he had not experienced this same level of forgiveness. In fact, Simon was too good, too righteous to see his need for Jesus and therefore had no reason to adore Him and thank Him.

Now, notice something here. Yesterday, we discussed the 10 lepers—pitiful outcasts of society—who were healed of their leprosy, but only one was grateful enough to thank Jesus for his healing. Today we are working with a prostitute who is unusually grateful for the transformation in her life because of Jesus.

Do you see the theme developing? Jesus is the great physician who is seeking out sick people—those who don’t have it together. He is not looking for those who believe they are all together. In fact, that is where Jesus finds the most opposition

So, I don’t know about you, but when I think of Jesus’ approach all I can say is “Over here Jesus, I am a crippled man who is in need of you.” Once I came to this understanding and stance, I find myself filled with gratefulness through and through. How about you?



During this week I want to pursue a study on those who were grateful to Jesus in the Gospels. In each case we’ll see something special being taught about us. Let’s begin with the story of the ten lepers. It is found in Luke 2:11-19.

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."

So, here are 10 men who were suffering from leprosy. They reached out to Jesus, asking Him to have pity on them. Jesus promptly healed all 10 of them. Now this must have been an amazing thing to be ostracized with this horrible disease and then be totally healed from it. In fact, by tradition the Jewish leadership taught that when the Messiah comes, He will be able to heal the lepers. Now, Jesus, the Messiah not only heals one, but 10 at one time.

The shock to Jesus about this entire matter was that only 1 out of 10 bothered to come back to Jesus and thank Him. Only 1! He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. But there is a further shock to this story that I believe Jesus wanted to magnify a bit. This man who was healed of leprosy and returned to give thanks to Jesus was not a Jew. He was a Samaritan—a much maligned and disregarded people at that time.

There are two things here I want to emphasize:
FIRST—This grateful man is maybe the only non-Christian (Samaritan) out of the group of 10. Jesus receives anyone who will respond to Him.
SECOND—This grateful man was not made whole by being healed of his leprosy. He was made whole by his faith in Jesus. His heart was bent toward Jesus.

So, what I make of this for us is:
1. Jesus is responsive to those who are grateful.
2. Jesus is just as approachable for the non-Christian as He is the Christian.
3. Jesus is looking for a heart that is bent toward Him. He’s looking for someone who might be interested.

How is your heart toward Jesus? Are you grateful to Him for what He has done on your behalf or are you in too much of a hurry to say, “Thank you!”