Summary: Forgiveness. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Luke chapter 7 verses 36-50.
• A man asked his wife what she would like for her birthday.
• She replied; “I would love to be eight again!”
• On the morning of her birthday;
• He arose and made her a great big bowl of Cocopops.
• Then he took her off to the local theme park.
• What a day it was! He put her on every ride in the park:
• The Death Slide, The Wall of Fear, The Screaming Monster Roller Coaster,
• The Octopus Whirl, The Tower of Terror and then more, much more!
• Five hours later they staggered out of the theme park;
• Her head was reeling and her stomach felt upside down.
• Right away they drove off to a McDonalds where her loving husband ordered;
• A Happy Meal with extra fries and a refreshing milk-shake.
• Then it was off to the movies to watch the latest Walt Disney blockbuster;
• Accompanied by hot dogs, pop-corn, ice-cream, sweets and all the coke she could drink!
• What a fabulous adventure;
• Finally she wobbled back home with her husband and collapsed onto the bed exhausted.
• Feeling pleased with himself,
• He leaned over to his precious wife with a big smile and lovingly asked;
• “Well dear what was it like to be eight again?”
• Her eyes slowly opened and her expression changed
• “I meant my dress size you blithering idiot!!”
• The moral of the story (came from a ladies magazine) is;
• Even when a man IS listening; he’s still gonna get it wrong!
• Mistakes of course are part of life;
• And some of us seem to make more than others!
One mistake Jesus was accused of making was to keep the wrong company!
• Quote George Washington:
• “Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation”.
• Quote Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes:
• “Tell me what company thou keepest, and I’ll tell thee what thou art”.
• Both these people are plainly telling us,
• “That a man is known, by the company that he keeps”.
That was the problem for the Pharisees (religious leaders) in these verses;
• At the time of Jesus there were about 6,000 Pharisees,
• The word "Pharisee" meant "separated one".
• A Pharisee was a member of a particular a sect or party among the Jews.
• They were known for a very strict and formal observance of the Jewish Law.
• Pharisees were ordinary Jews, not priests.
• Equivalent to a modem day politician.
• Alongside the religious leaders the scribes and the priests,
• They held power of all the people and no-one in their right minds argued with them!
• Pharisee’s always came from good families.
• One did not get to become a Pharisee without a lot of money;
• And without certain family connections.
• A Pharisee was expected to be refined and to exhibit a certain kind of social grace.
• The Pharisee was well connected, he knew how to act in sophisticated circles.
• He had a sense of being on top of society.
• So these Pharisees are looking at Jesus and the company he keeps;
• And there is a problem,
• They are putting 2+2 together,
• Only the answer they are coming up with is 5!
The previous verses in this chapter (i.e. verse 34);
• Show to us the criticism Jesus experienced;
• He was accused of spending time with the “tax-collectors and sinners”:
• “Tax-collectors” were considered the lowest of the low, by the Jewish people.
• E.g. They worked for the enemy (Roman oppressors) and they also cheated their own people.
• “And sinners”
• (ill: chose to live outside the law ill: work on the Sabbath).
It is true to say:
• That Jesus did not care too much for his reputation,
• And he did not care too much for the company, the circles in which he mixed.
• He mixed with the religious and the non-religious,
• The rich and the poor, the Jew and the Gentile.
Note: For Jesus accepting Simon the Pharisee’s invitation is a courageous act:
• Simon may have been indifferent regarding Jesus,
• But you could bet that many of his religious colleagues were not.
• i.e. Pharisees are mentioned 28 times in Luke’s gospel,
• Each time they are seen in hostility to Jesus.
The Pharisee in this story is a man called Simon:
• His Invitation would appear to be a sincere one,
• He did not seem to have any ulterior motive for having Jesus in his home.
• If he did, his plan backfired,
• Because he ended up learning more about himself than, perhaps, he cared to know!