Friday, March 16, 2018

The Woman Who Lived a Sinful Life

Today's study is all about this woman who lived a sinful life.  Before we go any further into this study, raise your hands if you haven't lived a sinful life.  Anyone? Exactly! We study these women because we want to see how we can apply the Bible to our lives. God has given us 66 books that He expects us to know and apply.  This story is about us. Maybe your sin isn't the same as this woman's sin, but sin is sin is sin is sin. 

Luke 7:11-50 
Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd.  Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizable crowd from the city was with her.  When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep.”  And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!”  The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother.  Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and, “God has visited His people!”  This report concerning Him went out all over Judea and in all the surrounding district. 

The disciples of John reported to him about all these things. Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” When the men came to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, to ask, ‘Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?’”  At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind.  And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sightthe lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” 

When the messengers of John had left, He began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who are splendidly clothed and live in luxury are found in royal palaces!  But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and one who is more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, 

Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ 

I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John. 

“To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like?  They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another, and they say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’ For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” 

Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the tableAnd there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.” 

And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 

 “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?”  

Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” 

And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” 

Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.  You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.  For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  

Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”

 Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” 

And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” 

"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." 

There is a lot happening in this text, so let's break it down.  You will see in this text that Jesus is in the heart of His ministry on earth.  Just prior today's main event, Jesus had raised a man from the dead (verse 14) and had cured many people of sickness, evil spirits, and blindness (verse 21).  The people who are watching Jesus' ministry unfold had the amazing privilege of seeing all of these miracles right before their eyes.  For some, that meant that their faith was much stronger.  For others, it meant that they were continuing to search for ways to deny Jesus as God.  How about you? Do you see the miracles of God today?  Does that increase your faith? God is still at work around us.  Sometimes we need to open our eyes to take in all of the wonderful things that He does for us. 

After these miracles happened, we see a question posed to Jesus and two very distinctly different responses by two very different groups of people. Jesus is asked about John the Baptist and if Jesus was the Expected One.  The Scripture says that "at that very time" Jesus performed many miracles, and then He told the crowd to look at what just happened.  He reminded them that John was sent to prepare the way for the Expected One.  The answer to the crowed was right in front of their very eyes, yet it was received very differently. 

The people and the tax collectors responded by acknowledging God's justice. 

The Pharisees and lawyers responded by rejecting God's purpose for themselves. 

The people and tax collectors were the average people.  Perhaps they were not as educated, and they definitely did not know the Mosaic Law as well as the other group.  These were the people who didn't have as much as the others here on earth, but they were willing to gain so much more in heaven.  The Pharisees and the lawyers knew the Law and everything else, too. They had many possessions and wealth on earth, but they were hesitant to put it all away and gain what was offered for them in heaven, through faith in Jesus Christ. The people and tax collectors were willing and able to humble themselves and follow Jesus.  The Pharisees and lawyers were too proud and lofty. They knew "too much" to be able to humble themselves, and they did not want to humble themselves.  instead, they wanted to prove Jesus wrong. 

Jesus told the Pharisees and lawyers that the answer was right in front of their faces, but they were choosing to ignore it.  Jesus told them that "wisdom was vindicated by all of her children."   

Proverbs 9:10 
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 

Jesus is telling them that all of the people who have seen and believe prove that Jesus is telling the truth.  Jesus is all but making the Pharisees and lawyers believe.  He is giving them every bit of truth and proof that He can give them.  They are choosing not to believe.  Salvation is very simple.  All you have to do is believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  That's it! Just believe that Jesus is Christ, that Jesus is King, that Jesus paid the penalty for your sin so you don't have to die and go to Hell.  Give God the glory, and live your life bearing fruit for Him.  Salvation really is so simple.  It was right in front of the Pharisees and lawyers faces, and they chose not to believe. 

Now, after all that, we are going to meet our woman for today.  One of the Pharisees invited Jesus over for a meal.  I imagine that this is one of the Pharisees that was in the crowed that we have already discussed today.  I imagine that the Pharisee wants to bring Jesus to his house to question Him further and try to disprove Him. 

As the events play out, the woman who was a sinner came and anointed Jesus feet with oil and wiped them with her hair.  This woman is humbling herself to the lowest of a servant low.  She is acting out her worship right there for everyone to see. The was humble and lowly. 

As Simon had thoughts in his head, Jesus answered Him out loud.  (Side note – Jesus knows our thoughts.  Just sayin'…) Jesus took the opportunity to compare and contrast Simon the Pharisee to the woman who lived a sinful life. 

You invited Me in but gave Me no water for my feet 
She used her tears and hair to wash my feet 
You gave Me no greeting, no kiss 
She has not stopped kissing my feet 
You did not anoint My head 
She is anointing my feet 

The woman humbled herself before Jesus.  She had a lot of sin, and it was all forgiven.  Simon the Pharisee did not humble himself before Jesus. He did not ask for forgiveness for his sins.  I wonder if he thought that he did not have much sin in his life to be forgiven. 

Jesus ends this event by telling the woman that her faith is what saved her, and that she could go in peace.  All salvation takes is faith in Jesus. It is as simple as that. Have you placed your faith in Jesus? Have your sins been forgiven? If so, praise the Lord! If not, please use today to make sure this is done. Reach out to me or someone you trust who can help you with this.  This decision is the most important one that you will ever make in your life.  Please make it today! 

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