Yesterday we saw Jesus being treated well, really well, by a woman who was a known “sinner”. Now, everyone’s a sinner, so what does that mean? It was probably a euphemism for a prostitute, or she had an affair. IT was likely a sexual sin, and she was known for it.
When a religious legal expert, whose home this happened in, saw this he thought that Jesus couldn’t be any kind of religious teacher if he allowed this to happen. Jesus calls him out on his lack of hospitality, and tells a story about two people forgiven for their debt, and asks which would be more grateful, the one with a bigger debt or a smaller debt. Jesus says this woman is so thankful because she’s been forgiven for so much, and Simon is being all uptight and angry because he doesn’t think he needs to be forgiven for anything.
This isn’t about money, it’s about forgiving her sins, which are apparently numerous. Here’s what Jesus said:
Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:47-50 ESV)
Now, it’s quite possible one of the main things you know about Jesus is that he came to forgive our sins. You may not think it strange at all, but it is actually a strange thing.
First of all, what did she do? Who did she hurt, that she needed to be forgiven? She didn’t obviously hurt Jesus. She may well have hurt other men and women, their marriages and families, maybe her own husband, family or children. But why is Jesus forgiving her, isn’t it the right of those offended to forgive?
Jesus did this more than once. He went around forgiving people who hadn’t obviously hurt him. But believe it or not, they had.
When we sin, we are breaking God’s laws. Put another way, we’ve walked away from God’s plan for our lives, and pursued another plan. For this woman, the wording of the Bible suggests it was God’s plan for our sexuality that she left behind. For Simon, it was the commandment to love his neighbour that he’d clearly forgotten, as he became a cold-hearted, self-absorbed legalist. For you, it may be something different, but we’ve all done this in one way or another.
When we do this, we alienate God. We tell him that we don’t need him, want him, or love him. God is hurt.
When the other people around the table start asking “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” they are right on the cusp of realizing what this woman already knows.
Question: What do you think the Pharisees are about to learn about Jesus? Who is he really?
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]