DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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Unchanging Relationships
 

Relationships depend on two things - Decisions and Choices.

1. Decisions

Luke 7:36-39
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.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is--that she is a sinner."


Here we see a sinful woman. Many of us are familiar with this incident in the Bible. But do we ever connect this woman's life with our own lives also?

May be some of us may think about her and some may not!

We see this woman used her freedom in two ways.

Here the scripture says in Luke 7:37, 'A woman in that town who lived a sinful life'.

This woman was not good. She was a sinful woman. She was involved in probably immoral relationships. To the society she was not good. The society knew here as a sinful woman because who she was and what she did was not acceptable to the moral standard of society.

This woman misused her freedom.

She didn't care about anyone in her life. She never thought of her family or society. May be society and her family forbade her bud she didn't listen to anyone. May be she was a beautiful woman and everyone was attracted to her.

Her decision to live her life gave her temporary joy, but this joy led her to guilt, fear, anger, sorrow, shame and pain.

She was leading her life as a slave.

How are we using our freedom today? May be whatever this woman did, she did it openly. That's why people knew about her.

But society doesn't know about us. We know about ourselves very well.

How are we using our freedom in our daily lives? Do our Facebook accounts or mobile chats reveal who we are and what relationships we have?

What kind of status are we posting on Facebook?

In Luke 7:37-38, we see her second decision to come to Jesus. Thing about this.

Simon was a Pharisee and it was in Pharisee's house this kind of sinful woman came to meet Jesus. How courageous! How bold!

V38 says she wiped his feet with her hair. At that time according to the Jewish law a woman was forbidden to uncover her head. Only prostitutes and women of doubtful character had their heads uncovered. But this time she was defying all the rules. She had decided to change. She didn't think that her sinful past would never be forgiven. She could have continued hopeless but she decided to repent and trust in Jesus because he could change her sinful past.

Sometimes this kind of attitude comes in our mind. Sometimes we do want to change from our sinful lives but we also see our society and our circle of friends and we wonder how they will accept 'me'.... Will I be an object of mockery among them?

But here we see this woman with such humility, she wet Jesus's feet with her tears, she wiped them with her hair and kissed and poured perfume on Jesus. She gave her best and all that she had to Jesus.

Luke 7:48
Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

That's how she received forgiveness of her sins.

Let us look at our lives. Today how much are we making decision to repent of our sinful past?

It was difficult for that woman to be humble but when she became humble she got forgiveness of her sins. And God helped her to overcome all her pain, fear, guilt and shame and may be anger also.

Today's good news is that when we make a decision to change, God will help us to overcome all the sinful emotions of our lives. Even if we are the worst of all sinners.

He will forgive our sins and will give us a new life. But the step we have to take is to come to Jesus.

2. Choices

Let us look at the story again. There are three characters, Simon the Pharisee, the sinful woman and Jesus our hero.

Simon's choices

Simon the Pharisee represents most of us. We all are church going people. We all are God believers. We all are God lovers. We all are God-sekers. Simon the Pharisee himself was a God lover; otherwise why he would invite Jesus? Pharisees didn't like Jesus, because this man Jesus went about breaking the law. He always did something wrong against the law. He would heal people on the Sabbath. He would touch sinful people, touch the leper, he would sit with all the sinful people. Most Pharisees didn't like him. But Simon made a choice. He used this freedom to invite Jesus to his house which was a daring thing. It is commendable that he invited Jesus.

But we don't know whe he invited and with what motive he invited. May be he thought he is a religious leader. He also knew that Jesus was popular. May be people would have appreciated him for inviting somebody like Jesus in his house. But did he really make the right choice? He had a choice after inviting Jesus, to listen to Jesus and to follow Jesus.

Simon was a Pharisee. He knew the law inside out. But what did he use the law for?

He used the law to teach others. To tell how people have to do the dos and don'ts of religion.

But the law was not made for that. The law was not to tell people to do this and don't do this. The law was made for people to look into their hearts. Because if people broke one law they would be able to understand how far they could get from God. But did Simon see the law? He didn't see the law for himself. He thought the law was for others.

Luke 7:39
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is--that she is a sinner."

What did he do? He was sitting there judging Jesus. He respected Jesus as prophet. Yes, it is true. Jesus knew the woman was a sinner. Jesus knew what she was involved in. Jesus knew all this and yet sat quiet there. Allowing this woman to touch his feet. Take away her head covering. Use her hair to wash Jesus' feet. A Jewish woman doing this to a Rabbi, to a holy teacher in front of all these men and all these religious people. Yes, Jesus knew what Simon was thinking. Jesus knew he deliberately allowed it.

But what choice did Simon make? The choice he made was to judge son of God, Jesus. He questioned Jesus' moral values. He questioned Jesus' motivation. He questioned Jesus' divinity. How could he allow this woman to touch him? How could he allow this woman into the house? Why is he not saying something? He questioned Jesus' silence. That was the choice Simon made. Look what religion had taught him. Religion actually taught him to question his Saviour instead of understanding God. He questioned the very son of God.

Jesus' choice and decision

Let us look at Jesus' heart. He had a choice, choice to both condemn these people, the sinful woman and also Simon the Pharisee and he could condemn this woman because of her sinful life. He could condemn this man because of his religious pride. Sometimes what the woman did seems a bigger deed because it is obvious but what the man had in his heart was not considered sin by everybody, but God knows all the secrets of our heart. Religious pride is one thing that never allows us to come towards God. It only makes us judge even God, our creator. Jesus could have judged both, but look at the choice that Jesus had made. He had the freedom to condemn; he had the freedom to judge. He used his freedom to forgive.

He even extended his freedom to Simon the Pharisee. The Bible doesn't say that he condemned Simon the Pharisee. It only said that Simon didn't know, he didn't understand him but the one who understood him was the woam because giving somebody the freedom also means willing to see our own hearts. Jesus freely forgives, but he didn't freely forgive without confronting the truth. He confronted the truth of the woman's life and the truth of this man's life. The one who understood the confrontation trusted Jesus and took it in the good meaning.

Understand the freedom of forgiveness.

The woman took that freedom to be forgiven and forgive others. She walked away like a free woman. She didn't even belong to that house. She walked out more free than Simon the Pharisee who invited the Lord of freedom into his house. He could not be free because he was a slave of his own pride, his own religious law.

Jesus wants us to be free not be religious but actually to be spiritual. Spiritual people can actually see the truth. What do you want to see? What are the choices you want to make? Let us make the choice of knowing Jesus and making a decision to know his word which is the ultimate truth.