Summary: We’ve all used labels. We stick them on jars and manila folders so we’ll know what’s inside. We also stick them on people for the same reason.
Intro: When I was in Bible College I meet an interesting young man by the name of Shannon. What made him interesting were his looks. His hair was a different color each week, his ears were loaded with earrings, and he wore the big loose grunge style clothing. But the most interesting point of style was his shorts, and he always wore shorts regardless of the weather. What made his shorts so odd was the way he wore them. You see he always wore his shorts backwards. As you could imagine anyone who dressed like that at a Bible College stuck out like a sore thumb. One day I couldn’t stand it any longer and my judgmental sarcasm got the best of me and I had to make a crack about his shorts. To my surprise he was ready for my criticism. Shannon turned to me and said, “I’ll tell you Grand Saline (that’s what everyone called be in this certain class) just like I tell everyone else who ask me why I wear my shorts backwards. I tell them that God turned my life around so fast that my shorts couldn’t keep up. Something interesting happened as that semester progressed I began to see through Shannon’s actions, class participation, research papers and prayers that he was a very spiritual man. My initial reaction to Shannon was on of rejection, but when I saw past my bias to his heart, my rejection soon turned to respect.
We’ve all used labels. We stick them on jars and manila folders so we’ll know what’s inside. We also stick them on people for the same reason. This past week I was picking up some Baptism certificates for the church and the clerk asked me if I worked with the youth or something. When I told her I was the pastor I could tell by the expression on her face that she thought I looked a little too young to be a pastor. Then with her eye brows furrowed she enquired to my age, with an option not to tell her just in case I was too embarrassed. When I told her I was 32 her face relaxed and she gave me an approving “oh ok then”, while handing me the sack and releasing me out of her custody.
Transition: In our text today we look at a person who approached Jesus who was labeled with a sinful lifestyle. We learn from this text that we not only need to be careful not to judge a person’s outward appearance as well as their heart. Not to say that we shouldn’t be discerning but we need to be careful not to condemn others because only God knows the heart.
The reason we label others is very simple, because it’s easier to label than to love.
Isa 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
1. Only one thing could cause a “sinner” to come into a Pharisee’s house – DESPERATION. (v. 36-37)
The intrusion of this woman was intolerable to the respectable Pharisee because of her evil reputation and because she was not an invited guest. Whenever a Pharisee or an upstanding person in the community would give a party such as this either in the outer courts or around the house or the streets the common people would gather to listen to the conversations of the affluent. In the streets or the outer courts of the Pharisee’s house would’ve been the proper place for this sinful women, for her to enter in without an invitation is the first sign of her heart. For she wouldn’t let the labels that everyone put on her keep her away from Jesus. Her desperation was greater than her fear and her worries of what others might think or do in response to her approaching Jesus.
2. She approached Jesus in humility, sacrifice and adoration. (v.38) To kiss a persons feet was the greatest act of humility known to the pagan. When foreign ambassadors would approach Roman rulers seeking peace with them they would fall to the earth and kiss the feet of the council. Her tears were a sign of her penitence, as she approached the savior she was overwhelmed by her sinfulness and her adoration poured out through her emotions. The sinful woman’s sacrifice is seen in the perfume she willingly poured out on the Lord’s feet. No one asked her to do this, it wasn’t required of anyone who approached Jesus, and she simply poured out the best she had because she wanted to.
2 Cor 9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.