Summary: What we need to realize is this: we share the fact that none of us are saved by anything we are or do. We are saved and forgiven by our loving relationship with the risen Christ.
I Have Something To Say To You
Intro: It was rush hour. The woman was late for an important appointment. She cursed the drivers around her as she weaved in and out of traffic. When a car wedged in front of her, she laid on the horn and slipped the offending driver off. She shook her fist at the driver moments later when she zoomed past him. She was pleased with herself when she scooted through the intersection just as the light turned red, that is, until the red and blue lights lit up her rear view mirror. The officer walked to her car, told her to get out and when she did, he handcuffed her, dropped her into the backseat of his cruiser and took her to the station. Two hours later, the same officer opened the cell door and said she was free to go. He apologized saying, “I saw how you were driving and how rude you were to other drivers. I also saw the “I Love, Jesus,” “Jesus is My Co-Pilot,” and “Honk If You Love Jesus,” bumper stickers on your car and I assume that the car was obviously stolen.
I. Recently a colleague wrote me saying, “I find it intriguing that many Americans want the US to be a "Christian" nation...but they fight to keep the US from being Christ-like.”
A. This intriguing story recorded by Luke is the result of the story that precedes it in verses 36 – 39. That passage resembles the anointing storied found in Mk 14: 3-9; Matthew 26: 6 – 13; and John 12: 1 – 8.
B. Description of the woman: “A woman who had lived a sinful life in that town” / “A woman in the city who was a sinner” The Greek word used is hamartolos – and is also used by Luke later to describe Peter in Luke 5:8 – “But when Simon Peter saw [the large catch of fish], he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.’”
C. When we read that word here, we assume some moral failing or sexual sin as do many Biblical scholars. We jump to conclusions that have no basis in fact. As assume . . . and not just here!
II. We make assumptions about people just like Simon made the assumption that the woman was “beneath” him. We make not only make assumptions about others; but about ourselves as well.
A. Victims of public shame often become objects of ridicule and shunning and are dismissed, pushed to the margins of society where no one will miss them. The underlying factor in great social tragedies such as addiction and violence is often shame.
B. Our culture is plagued by social tragedies like addiction, domestic violence and eating disorders. Sometimes we are shamed by making poor choices and failing others, especially the ones we love.
C. Jesus uses a parable about the forgiveness of two debtors to help Simon and us understand the depth of gratitude experienced when one’s costly heavy burden is lifted.
III. Jesus said, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” What follows is the centerpiece of the entire text and important words for us.
A. Jesus proclaims that the moneylender forgives the debt freely, not because of anything the debtors said or did. VS. 47 – “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven---for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
B. The forgiveness Jesus extends to this woman and to us lifts the burden of shame, to give value and worth in spite of her feelings of unworthiness.
C. Every congregation has within it, people like Simon who look down on others in the congregation who are like the woman in this story. This church is no exception! The distinction here is more subtle: those who have a very long family history here and the more recent additions to the church family.
Conclu: What we need to realize is this: we share the fact that none of us are saved by anything we are or do. We are saved and forgiven by our loving relationship with the risen Christ.