And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. —Luke 7:37-38 ESV
This week, associate pastor Neal Nelson, walked us through Luke 7:36-50. When you turn there, you may notice that these passages have been titled, A Sinful Woman Forgiven. Neal encouraged us to use our imaginations as we listened to this woman’s story.
Imagine Jesus reclining at the table, his feet tucked under him (Luke 7:36). Imagine a woman entering, weeping so hard that her tears were literally able to wet the feet of Jesus (Luke 7:38). This leaves Simon and his other guests looking on in awkward silence, for this woman had a reputation. Luke tells us, “Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner (Luke 7:39).”
Simon’s comment revealed his impression of Jesus. For Simon, Jesus was a prophet, or at least a man claiming to be a prophet. You and I may have our own impressions of Jesus. Neal shared this from Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, “Pictures we see of Jesus can leave us with the impression that he was the world’s nicest guy. Mister Rogers with a beard (Eldredge, 24).” Like me, you may have been a bit shocked by this thought at first. (Jesus was not a nice guy! I’m pretty sure you can’t say that about Jesus!) But as Neal walked us through the rest of the story, we see Jesus go on to reveal to Simon, to the others gathered there, to you and I, the listeners of this story, that He was and is much more than our limited impressions of Him.
The remaining passages (Luke 7:40-50) reveal Jesus to be the truth to puffed-up Simon, a redeemer for the woman. And to those gathered around, looking on, He no doubt leaves them with the impression that He is much more than a nice guy claiming to be a prophet. “Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins (Luke 7:49)?”
Who is this? Who is this Jesus? John Eldredge concludes this in his book Wild at Heart, “Jesus is no ‘capon priest,’ no pale-faced altar boy with his hair parted in the middle, speaking softly, avoiding confrontation who at last gets himself killed because he has no way out. He works with wood, commands the loyalty of dockworkers. He is the Lord of Hosts, the captain of angel armies. No questions about it-there is something fierce in the heart of God (Eldredge, 31).”
In John 11, we find a saddened and brokenhearted Martha. Her brother, Lazarus has died. Martha cries to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died (John 11:21).” Jesus tells Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this (John 11:25-26)?” I love Martha’s reply to Jesus, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world (John 11:27).”
Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, He is Redeemer, He is truth. He is so much more than a nice man. He is the Son of Man. Do you believe this?
At the conclusion of church on Sunday, we sang Resurrection Power by Chris Tomlin. I thought this to be the perfect song for the woman in our story. She was no longer bound by sin and darkness. Jesus forgave her. He gave her freedom. And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven (Luke 7:48).”
At the end of his message, Neal extended an invitation to each of us. An invitation to know Jesus. It is my prayer now that you can praise Jesus as you sing this song knowing Him to be your redeemer. And if you don’t know Jesus as your redeemer, it is my prayer that you cry out to Him, confess your sins to Him. He will be quick to forgive, just He forgave a sinful woman that day. Invite Him be your redeemer, your resurrection power, your freedom.