Summary: Quick outline message of the sinful woman who anointed Jesus with perfume, and the Pharisee Simon’s response to it. Some simple thoughts of how Jesus wants us to worship.
Luke 7:36-50 – Who Loves Jesus the Most?
During the tenure of the great orator Henry Ward Beecher, a visiting minister (Beecher’s brother) once substituted for the popular pastor. A large audience had already assembled to hear Beecher, and when the substitute pastor stepped into the pulpit, several disappointed listeners began to move toward the exits. That’s when the minister stood and said loudly, “All who have come here today to worship Henry Ward Beecher may now withdraw from the church. All who have come to worship God keep your seats!”
Jesus used this woman’s adoration to teach those around Him about worship.
This woman was likely not Mary in John 12, although there were similarities.
Each time, people questioned the worshipper… They questioned the woman’s character, and the woman’s priorities.
The critics were more concerned about the person than about Jesus. They wanted to criticize rather than worship. Some come to church nowadays for the same reasons.
It’s because we were bred with the wrong worship model.
Bonhoeffer: “In most churches we have the preacher performing, with God as the prompter, and the people as the audience. In truth, worship should be the people performing, with the preacher as the prompter, and God as the audience.”
But who is really the Audience?
Is it others, or God?
Whom are we worshipping?
There’s a story of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri, who was deeply immersed in meditation during a church service, and he failed to kneel at the appropriate moment. His enemies hurried to the bishop and demanded that Dante be punished for his sacrilege. Dante defended himself by saying, “If those who accuse me had had their eyes and minds on God, as I had, they too would have failed to notice events around them, and they most certainly would not have noticed what I was doing.”
Which is why Simon had debts in the parable. The sinful woman had more, perhaps, but no-one is debt-free. In fact, it seems Jesus wasn’t even going to mention it until… Simon stewed on it, brooded over it, got bitter about it. That’s when Jesus corrected him and showed him his sin as well.
And in the end, it’s not how much you’ve been forgiven of, (it’s the same for all of us), but it’s how much you realize what you’ve been forgiven of!
So, what Jesus was saying is this:
- don’t criticize someone else’s worship
- keep your eyes on Jesus yourself
- don’t worry about what others think of how you worship