Summary: Miracle of Faith, Pt. 7
THE ECONOMICS OF FORGIVENESS (LUKE 7:36-50)
Every Saturday, a man goes into his barber shop. So this one Saturday he told his barber that he was going to Rome. The barber asked what flight he was going to take. The man responded “A-1.” The barber yelled, “A-1!? Are you crazy?! That plane’s food is horrible! And, you’ll never get a wink of sleep ’cause the engines are so noisy!”
After a moment of silence, the barber politely asked, “What hotel are you staying at?” The man replied “The Grand Hotel.” The barber again yelled, “Why are you going there?! The place is infested with roaches and the mattresses are as hard as a rock!” Then after another moment of silence, the man said, “Oh, and guess what I’m going to do!?” “What?” asked the barber. The man said, “I’m going to see the pope!” The barber literally screamed, “You’ll never get to see the pope!! No one ever gets to see the pope up close!”
Two weeks later the man came back and said that the plane and the hotel were great. The barber was astonished. The barber asked if the man got to see the pope up close. The man stretched his arms about 2 feet apart and said, “I got to see the pope and I was this far away and he talked to me personally.” “No way,” said the barber. “What did he say to you?” “Where’d you get the dumb haircut?” the man replied.
In Luke 7, an uninvited sinner entered the house of Simon the Pharisee, who roundly criticized her appearance and her actions. Simon the Pharisee was uneasy with her presence, embarrassed by the commotion, irritated, annoyed and mortified with her actions. In truth, behind the negative attitude, shallow thinking and harsh words was a self-righteous, self-centered and self-sufficient Pharisee.
Is life a dead end for sinners? Why did God in Christ forgive the worst sinners’ sins, receive them into his presence and give them a new life? What did Jesus see in repentant sinners that a man like Simon did not?
Jesus Came for Those Stricken in Heart, Not Those Stiff in Neck
36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38 and 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. (Lk 7:36-38)
A man dreamed he was going to church with an angel as his guide. He saw people at a worship service singing hymns and songs of praise to God. Though he strained to hear the lyrics of the song but none came out their mouths of the congregants. The musicians were playing their instruments, but no music sounded. Even the prayers were muffled too.
The man asked the angel why he could not hear the musical instruments, the singing, the preaching or the prayers. The angel explained, “What you are hearing in the service is the God heard it, for God only hear what comes from the heart, not what comes from the lips alone.”
The man then heard a child on the last row praying the Lord’s Prayer. Excitedly, the man said, “I hear a prayer, I hear a prayer, but how can it be? The prayer seems to come from a child who hardly knows her right hand from her left hand.” The angel spoke, “You are hearing the only part of the service that God hears. He hears this little child’s prayer because she means what she says and puts her heart and soul in it.” (Adapted, Adult Bible Study Teacher, SBC, 10/31/93)
The woman wept for her sins. She was the only person in the Bible who cried from the bottom of her heart, from the depths of her being, from head to toe for her sins. She did not cry because people labeled her a sinner or that Jesus was blamed for her presence and that she was unwelcome, insulted and misunderstood. It didn’t matter to her who were there – the Pharisee, the disciples or other men. She cried for and was stricken by her sins - its onslaught, venom and ruthlessness. Her tears trickled steadily, evenly, unpleasantly, uncontrollably and unattractively down her face.
The woman considered herself unfit to stand before Jesus, to anoint His head, to speak to Him. So she stood meekly behind him, held her breath and poured perfume on his feet. She felt condemned not before Her Savior, but in her own eyes, by her own past and before the men. Her dismay with sin had changed to disgust and despair. No one needed to convince her of the heaviness and the consequences of sin, her responsibility for her conduct and the need for accountability. She cried non-stop, back and forth, wailing and howling.