Summary: This sermon shows us that if we love Jesus, we will demonstrate it ... and we will care about what Jesus cares about.
“Love – A Visible Response”
INTRODUCTION: We continue in our series on ‘Great Events In The Life Of Jesus’.
TONIGHT – We take a look at a prostitute who has an encounter with Jesus.
7:36 – The Pharisee’s name was “Simon” – 7:40. Pharisees were self-righteous Jews … separatists who thought they were better than everyone else. AND … they WERE … as far as their outward actions were concerned. They took pride in the fact that they obeyed God’s Law to the nth degree. BUT … their hearts weren’t right with God. They did it to earn points with God … to impress Him … to look good.
Simon had heard about Jesus. Jesus had recently healed a Centurion’s servant … raised a widow’s son from the dead. Simon wouldn’t be caught dead in one of the crowds gathered around Jesus (too many sinners there!). SO … He invites Jesus to a dinner party at his house (Jesus was a popular teacher at the time). THIS WAY, he could control who was around … not have to associate with the “riff-raff”.
STORY – A lawyer, defending a man accused of burglary, tried a creative defense to get his client off the hook. “My client,” he told the judge, “merely inserted his arm into the window and removed a few paltry items. His arm is not himself, so I fail to see how you can punish the whole individual for an offense committed solely by his arm.” “Well put,” the judge replied with a grin. “Using that same logic, I sentence the defendant’s arm to one year’s imprisonment. Your client can accompany the arm or not, as he chooses.” The defendant smiled. With his lawyer’s help, he detached his artificial limb, laid it on the bench, and walked out.
The Pharisees are like the man in this story … he wanted to detach himself from the “riff-raff”.
Jesus accepted the invitation … He always saw such events as opportunities to minister.
7:37 – A dinner party, tho private, was always open to the public to gather on the fringes. No sense in throwing an expensive shin-dig, if no one knew about it … if you couldn’t impress those who weren’t invited. OFTEN, the poor would come and eat the left-overs after the guests had left.
This prostitute had heard that Jesus was there … so she comes to see Him. She had heard Jesus preach before … and had trusted Jesus to save her from her sins … which were many. NOW … she sees the opportunity to get close to the One whom she believed to be the Son of God … the Savior … the Messiah.
“alabaster box of ointment” – a perfume jar … the most valued possession she had. She no longer needed it for her occupation. She had used the perfume in her profession to entice men … BUT NOW … she had left the old life behind. She wanted to start her life all over.
7:38 – “stood at His feet behind Him” – In Bible times, they didn’t sit at a table like we do today … they RECLINED on a mattress on the floor (NOT like the picture of “The Last Supper”). When she got close to Jesus, she began to cry uncontrollably … her tears fell on the feet of Jesus. She dried them with her hair.
CUSTOM: Women wore their hair in a bundle. It was a shame for a woman to put her hair down in public. For a married woman to do this, it was grounds for divorce. It was only to be done in the privacy of home. BUT … she was an outcast anyway … she didn’t care how it looked. She had come to honor Jesus!
“kissed His feet” – They were dirty, smelly, rough. BUT … she didn’t care. She had come to honor Jesus.
“anointed them with ointment” – She was pouring the same perfume that she had used to seduce men, onto the feet of Jesus … ALL OF IT. The aroma must have permeated the whole house. If she hadn’t been noticed before, she was noticed NOW!
LESSON: This woman wasn’t ashamed of her worship of Jesus. She didn’t care what anybody thought. She outwardly expressed exactly what was in her heart.
Last week in our Revival Services, we witnessed extravagant joy in Andy Cook. Some of you might have been offended. Others might have been shocked. Still others might have been envious. BUT … one thing I think we all observed … it was GENUINE.
Haven’t you ever WANTED to shout “Amen” … but held back … BECAUSE … you were too embarrassed to express your true feelings? Last week, some of you shouted “Hallelujah” for the first time in Church, when you found the Scripture passage that you were to turn to. It felt GOOD, didn’t it? And you weren’t embarrassed, were you? WHY? Because everybody else was shouting “Hallelujah” when THEY found the Scripture passage.