In 2017 the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in 7th game to win the World Series. However, it was found out that they had been stealing signs to the pitcher and communicating to the batter by banging garbage cans in the dugout. Yet, no players were suspended, the team kept their title, and no apology was admitted. Last Spring he simply said that the sign stealing “didn’t alter the game.” Within the last few weeks, he has apologized. He even apologized for their lack of remorse.
We recognize that people do wrong. But when they don’t admit their sin, or have no remorse for the things they do, it really bothers us. If someone loves you, they should feel bad when they hurt you.
In Luke 7:36-50, three people meet. Jesus, a sinful woman, and a critical Pharisee. We discover what love does when it sins. It repents in sorrow and devotion. But we also discover that others have no recognition of their sin and criticize others.
Love will repent of sin with sorrow and devotion.
What reaction does love have toward sin?
A Pharisee invited Jesus to a banquet. A sinful woman, probably a prostitute, entered and began to express to Jesus repentance through her tears and devotion through her actions. She let down her hair to wipe the tears from his feet and anointed them with oil. She then passionately kissed his feet – the same Greek word is used for the kiss of the father gave his prodigal son when he returned home (Luke 15:20).
Love will sorrow over sin.
A story is told of a man who came to the country preacher to announce that he wanted to become a Christian. He was ready to pray. The preacher knew he wasn’t ready. So, he told him, “Go to the pig pen, get on your knees, and ask God to forgive you. Then you’ll be ready.” The man refused. Surely he could do something more respectable, like kneeling at the front of the church. But the preacher was insistent. You must kneel in a pig pen. Finally, under deep conviction, the man ran to the preacher and began to go to the pig pen. The preacher then exclaimed, “You don’t need to kneel in the pig pen. But you must be willing.”
This woman was humble. She cried tears of remorse. She gave expensive oil. But none of this saved her. It was her faith that saved. She came to Jesus with her sin and he forgave her.
“Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.” – Jesus (Luke 7:50)
Each of us must realize our sin and express sorrow for disobeying God. We must trust Jesus to forgive us of our sin.
Simon, the host Pharisee, saw the woman’s actions of repentance and love and concluded that Jesus could not be a prophet. If He were, He would know how sinful she was and would not have let her ‘touch’ him. The word he used refers to sexual intimacy. Jesus not only knew all about the woman, he knew Simon’s thoughts and answered him by telling a story. Two men owed money. One owed 50 days salary ($3,7000 today) and the other owed 500 days salary ($37,000 today). Both owed more than they could pay and both were forgiven. Jesus wanted them to understand that Simon and the woman were both sinners. Hers were public, but his were private. Simon was just as much a sinner, but she expressed greater love than Simon. The question is not about the presence of sin in a life but the awareness of sin. If you don’t love, you become critical.
Love will not criticize others.
Recently we have had some celebrities that have expressed faith in Jesus Christ (Chris Pratt, Kanye West, Justin Bieber, to name a few). I’m not a fan of celebrity Christians. But I do believe that Jesus saves famous people just like he saves normal people. I don’t want to question the validity of their salvation. Today I want to question why we are so critical of their salvation.
“I love making music, creating art that gives people joy! I love following the plans god has for me! I love walking with Jesus as he leads me into green pastures! I love that Jesus gave his life so that l can now walk in freedom! I’m thankful that god loved me far before I did anything to earn or deserve it! Which is why I am honored to spend my life giving him the RECOGNITION AND PRAISE HE DESERVES !! Thank you for loving me at my worst! YOU ARE A GOOD GOD !! Thank you Jesus!!”
If we aren’t careful, we will lean toward criticism toward others rather than acceptance of others. We should obviously be guarded concerning false professions. Not everyone who says they are Christian is telling the truth. But let’s try to welcome new members into the family.
Recognize your own tendency to be critical of others. Whether it is out of jealousy, envy, or pride, think the best of others before you think the worst.
Jesus chose to compare the woman and Simon. Simon was ready. He was more socially acceptable than her. But she was more spiritually accepted than Simon. So, Jesus turned to the woman and spoke to Simon. It was a normal greeting to kiss a guest, provide some cool water to wash their feet and scented oil for their hair. Simon provided none – no kiss, no water, no oil. But the woman provided all this in utter humility. Though she was a sinner, she was forgiven. Three times Luke mentions that this woman was a sinner. Yet, three times He mentions that Jesus forgives sin.
Love forgives sinners.
You are never any stronger than when you love a sinner.
Amazing Grace was written by a former slave ship captain, John Newton. He experienced God’s forgiveness through Jesus and it changed his life. He wrote those words “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found; was blind but now I see.”
How did this woman know she was forgiven? Jesus told her. How do you know if you’ve been forgiven? God’s Word tells you. “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Choose to love sinners. Simon saw the sin, Jesus saw the sinner. Simon saw the offense, Jesus saw her need. Simon saw the depth of her depravity, Jesus saw the depth of her devotion.
One of the biggest problems most mature Christians have is we do not recognize the sinfulness of our sin. We are no longer sorry for our sin. I hope today that you will see that your sin is exceedingly sinful and you must repent and turn to Jesus for forgiveness.
Who are you more like? The sinful woman needing forgiveness – or – the critical Simon judging other sinners. Both need to come to Jesus for forgiveness.
So, what should we do?
- Express your love to Jesus for saving your soul.
- Show love to the least lovely.
- Stop being so critical of others. Show compassion.
- At age 28 Paul became a Christian (33AD)
- At age 50, he said, “I am the least of the apostles” (1 Cor. 15:9)
- At age 55, he said, “I am the least of the saints” (Eph. 3:8)
- At age 59 (soon before he was martyred), he said, “I am the worst of sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15)
The more mature in his faith the more sinful he saw himself. The more sinful you see yourself, the more loving you are to God and others.