Scriptures

Luke 7

Introduction

There are only two, possibly three people who were ever commended for their faith by Jesus, which incidentally were two, possibly three Gentiles, one or two Roman Centurions, Matthew 8:5-13 / Luke 7:1-10, and a Syro-Phoenician woman, Mark 7:24-30.

You may wonder why I wrote one, possibly two, Roman Centurions, the answer is simple, there are some who believe that the account in Matthew of Jesus healing the centurion’s servant, Matthew 8:5-13, is a totally different story from the one we find in Luke’s account, Luke 7:1-10. In other words, some believe that these are two accounts of two separate miracles.

Similarities

1. They both record that the event that happened took place while Jesus was in Capernaum, Matthew 8:5 / Luke 7:1.

2. They both record the centurion, Matthew 8:5 / Luke 7:2.

3. They both record the centurion’s servant who was seriously ill, Matthew 8:6 / Luke 7:2.

4. The centurion’s unworthiness is recorded in both accounts, Mathew 8:8 / Luke 7:6-7.

5. The centurion recognises his own authority and the authority of Jesus in both accounts, Mathew 8:9 / Luke 7:8.

6. The centurion’s faith is recorded as great and Jesus’ response of amazement is recorded in both accounts, Matthew 8:10 / Luke 7:9-10.

Differences

1. The Greek words ‘pais’, translated ‘my servant’, Matthew 8:6, literally means ‘a boy’ or ‘the boy of me’, in other words, this could be referring to the centurion’s own son.

The Greek words, ‘doulos’, translated ‘my servant’, Luke 7:2, literally means ‘slave’ or ‘bond servant’, in other words, this could be referring to the centurion’s slave.

2. Jesus has just finished his sermon on a level place, Luke 6:17, this isn’t the same place as the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5:1, as one is delivered on a level place and the other is delivered on a mount. These are two different sermons, delivered in two separated places, to two different audiences.

3. The main reason some think these are two different miracles is because Matthew records that the Centurion himself went to see Jesus, Matthew 8:5, while Luke records that the centurion sent some elders, Luke 7:3-5.

Answers in Genesis gives the following reason for believing that they are the same account.

‘When looking at the two texts in total, Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10, it seems quite likely that when Jesus came near to the centurion’s house, Luke 7:6, He was probably within shouting distance. Consequently, when Jesus was talking to the centurion’s friends, He either spoke loudly enough that the centurion could hear and was thus addressing him directly, or he spoke to the friends as people who were direct mouthpieces for the centurion.’

Luke 7:9 states that while talking to the centurion’s friends Jesus marvelled at him, i.e., the centurion, so it is quite possible that Jesus was talking to the friends of the centurion, but looking directly at and addressing the thoughts and intentions of the centurion.

The centurion may have been mindful that Jesus would be considered ceremonially impure if He came into a Gentile’s house (as mentioned in a different context in Acts 10:28, and therefore stood outside the house, so that if Jesus persisted in coming to the centurion, He would not be defiled.

Remember that on another later occasion, Matthew 16:23, Jesus addressed someone directly who was the controlling force behind another, even though they were not present, ‘get behind me Satan’ to Peter.’

MacKnight, in his commentary, gives the following reason for believing that they are not the same account.

‘There might have been two centurions. Both made the same speech to Jesus, one through his friends, and the other in person but this circumstance may be accounted for. As the faith of the first centurion, who was a heathen, took its rise from the extraordinary cure wrought on the nobleman’s son, John 4:46-54, the faith of the second centurion might have taken its rise from the success of the first, which could not fail to be well known both in the town and in the country. To conclude that two centurions should have had, the one his son, the other his slave, cured in Capernaum with like circumstances, is no more improbable than that the temple should have been twice purged, the multitude twice fed, and the fishes twice caught by miracle, and with the same circumstances.’

In the grand scheme of things, it matters very little if they are or are not the same account. It’s certainly possible that Matthew and Luke wrote about two different accounts, and it’s certainly possible that Jesus had a very similar situation arise in the same town with another centurion or the same centurion with another servant.

We’re going to look at Luke’s account, where we read that the faith of the centurion is incredible. This man, who was a Gentile and a Roman soldier, should have been one of the last people to trust Jesus, but yet, we read about him putting all of his trust in Jesus.

The Centurion

‘When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. ‘The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.’ Luke 7:1-3

Capernaum was a large Galilean fishing village and busy trading centre and it appears that word got out that Jesus was in Capernaum because a Roman centurion sent Jewish elders to find Jesus. It’s possible the centurion didn’t come to Jesus himself because he would be classed as unclean, Acts 10:14 / Acts 10:28.

A centurion was a Roman officer who was in charge of one hundred men and there are several centurions mentioned in the Scriptures and most of them appear to have more than the Jews did, Matthew 27:54 / Acts 10:1 / Acts 27:3 / Acts 23:17-18 / Acts 27:43 / Acts 21:32. It appears that many of these Roman centurions showed more faith in God than the Jews did.

The Centurions Love For His Servant

Under normal circumstances, if a slave died, they would simply replace them because they were seen as a piece of property. But notice his love for his servant, he is highly valued in his eyes and he’s about to die. He probably already spent lots of money with the local doctors but he’s desperate and he comes to Jesus for help.

We don’t know exactly how he came to trust God, but no doubt his Jewish friends must have influenced him to some degree. When the Jewish leaders meet Jesus, they beg Him to come to heal a servant on behalf of the centurion.

The Centurion’s Love For God’s People

‘When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue. So Jesus went with them.’ Luke 7:4-6

Not only did he love his servant, but he also loves God’s people and even built a synagogue for them. A Gentile building a Jewish synagogue, who would have thought it. The Jews saw the Gentiles as unclean, but here, they are friends with a Gentile. It’s certainly possible the centurion used to be Jewish.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘In this appears one of the differences in the two similar miracles. The first centurion was a heathen, this one was evidently some kind of proselyte to Judaism, for it is hard to believe that he would have built the Jews a synagogue unless he was a follower of Judaism. This officer enlisted the elders of the people to convey his request to the Lord, in the case in Matthew, the centurion himself went to Jesus and made the request.’

The synagogue he built was probably the same synagogue where Jesus was confronted by a demon while He was teaching, Mark 1:21-27, and probably the same synagogue where Jesus gave His sermon on the bread of life, John 6:35-59.

It appears that the centurion’s love for his servant and his love for the Jews motivated Jesus to follow them.

The Centurion’s Unworthiness

‘He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.’ Luke 7:6-7

The centurion says that he was the least worthy of people in the eyes of the Jews. Instead of going on about his own worthiness or achievements, the centurion acknowledges Jesus as worthy and all-powerful.

He knows that Jesus has the power to speak things into being, just as He spoke the world into creation, Psalms 148:5 / Colossians 1:16.

The Centurion Recognises Authority

‘For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”. Luke 7:8

The centurion not only recognises his own unworthiness and how worthy Jesus is but he also recognises that Jesus has supreme authority.

Remember, this centurion had 100 soldiers under his command, he knows all about giving commands, he knows all about people obeying his commands.

He was wealthy enough to own at least one slave, he was wealthy enough to build a synagogue and so, like others in Jesus’ day, he may have tried to threaten Jesus, but he didn’t.

He believes that Jesus is who He says He is, and the centurion sees the authority he has as a gift from God, Daniel 2:21 / Romans 13:1, the One who is above all things, even above Roman officers.

Jesus’ Response

‘When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.’ Luke 7:9-10

When Jesus heard what the centurion said, he was amazed. Why? In all of Israel, the people who should have known better, the people who have read and heard all about God’s wondrous works, Jesus couldn’t find anyone with such great faith.

Notice that Jesus declared His amazement of the centurion’s faith to the crowd, just as He was amazed at the other centurion’s faith, Matthew 8:10, and just as He was amazed at the Syro-Phoenician woman’s faith, Matthew 15:28. Remember the only other time Jesus was amazed in the Bible, was when He saw the lack of faith in his hometown, Mark 6:5-6.

Notice that Jesus didn’t even have to go to the servant’s house for the miracle to happen. Many so-called ‘faith healers’ today tell us that they can’t heal anyone unless they come to their services, distance was no problem for Jesus.

Many so-called ‘faith healers’ today claim if a person doesn’t get healed, it’s because of a lack of faith on the persona’s part, however, the Bible doesn’t even tell us if the servant had any faith.

When the disciples couldn’t drive out a demon from a young boy, Jesus didn’t say it was because the young boy didn’t have any faith or enough faith but they would do it because the disciples didn’t have enough faith, Matthew 17:19-20.

The Centurion’s Faith

Essentially, the Centurion had the same kind of faith as Abraham had, Genesis 15:6, because he believed Jesus and took Him at His word, It was accredited to him as righteousness. A Roman centurion, who wasn’t even a Jew, had more faith than the people who grew up with Jesus and saw Him live a perfect life.

Taylor, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This centurion placed Jesus on the throne of the universe, regarding him as the ruler of the world, and as having all things under his command. He saw him, not merely as Messiah, but as God Incarnate, and therein lay the superiority of his faith to that of any of the Israelites. Not even any of the apostles, at that time, had reached the lofty altitude on which this Gentile soldier stood.’

The centurion came to Jesus with humility, acknowledging His authority by faith, Hebrews 11:1. Jesus proved the centurion’s faith was real and proved His own Deity when He miraculously healed the servant.

Jesus didn’t need to prove anything to anyone but He still chose to heal the centurion’s servant, who was highly valued and deeply loved.

As someone once said, ‘Faith honours God, and God honours faith!’

Jesus Raises A Widow’s Son

‘Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.’ Luke 7:11-17

Jesus now moves to a town called Nain, closely followed by His disciples and a large crowd.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘There are many ancient remains of Nain, proving that the place was once of considerable size. It is located ‘on the north-western edge of ‘Little Hermon’, where the ground falls into the plain of Esdraelon’. Just east of the city are the remains of rock sepulchres; and the extensive ruins disprove the notion that the place was merely ‘a humble village of mud-built houses near Nazareth’. Luke was altogether correct in calling the place a ‘city’. Today the village is a rather insignificant place called Nein.’

As he approached the town gate in Nain, he witnesses a funeral procession, where a dead boy was being carried out. He was the woman’s only son and she was a widow. With her husband being dead and now with the death of her son probably meant that all her means of support were gone.

It’s not surprising that the Lord’s heart went out to her and He tells her not to cry, Zechariah 12:10, that’s because with Jesus is hope, real hope, 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Notice that Jesus then goes on and touches the biers the boy was being carried on and the bearers stood still. Because He touched the biers, the object the boy’s body was being carried on, He would have made Himself unclean by doing so, Leviticus 21:11.

Maimonides, in his commentary, says the following.

‘They carry the dead upon their shoulders to the grave and the bearers of the bier are forbidden to put on their sandals, lest the latchet of any one of them should fail, and should be found to hinder him doing his duty.’

Jesus simply told the young dead boy to ‘get up’, Mark 5:41 / John 11:43 / Acts 9:40, and the dead boy obeyed the command, Matthew 11:5. The miracle happened immediately as the young man sat up and began to speak.

We can only imagine the joy that was going through the mind of the young man’s mother and Jesus gave him back to her, Isaiah 63:9.

All those who witnessed the miracle were filled with awe and simply praised God, there was no doubt in their minds that God was behind the miracle.

Jesus was indeed a prophet, but He was The prophet which God spoke about to Moses, Deuteronomy 18:15. There was no doubt in their minds that God Himself had come to help His people.

After this miracle of raising this young man back to life, news about Jesus and what He did spread like wildfire, throughout Judea and the surrounding country, Matthew 3:5.

Jesus And John The Baptist

‘John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else? When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’” At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind.” Luke 7:18-21

While the disciples went off on their own to preach, Mark 6:12-13 / Luke 9:6, Jesus went on to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee, Luke 7:18-35.

Whilst Jesus was preaching in this area, John the Baptiser, who was still in prison, and put there by Herod, Luke 3:19-20 / Mark 6:17-18, heard about what Jesus was doing, John 3:2, and wanted to confirm that He indeed was the Messiah.

Earlier in John’s ministry, he had no doubts whatsoever that Jesus was the Messiah, John 1:29 / John 3:27-36, but here it’s difficult to tell if John was lacking any faith or because he was in prison he just wanted some assurance that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, Genesis 49:10 / Daniel 9:24 / John 6:14.

‘So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Luke 7:22-23

Notice how Jesus responds to John’s question concerning His Messiahship, He doesn’t outright say yes or no, He simply tells John’s disciples to go back and tell them what they have heard and seen.

The miracles which Jesus was performing, such as the bling receiving their sight, the lame are now walking, the lepros have been cleansed, the deaf can now hear, the dead being raised to life and the good news is now being preached to the poor, Isaiah 29:18-19 / Isaiah 35:4-6 / Isaiah 61:1, are all signs that Jesus is the Messiah, John 20:30-31 / Acts 2:22.

Dummelow, in his commentary, says the following.

‘By a reference to Isaiah 61:1, he declared plainly enough, and yet not too plainly, that he was the Messiah. He worked several miracles in their presence in proof of his Messianic claims, Luke 7:21, and finally sent them back to John with a message in which he expressly mentioned his miracles, and promised a blessing to those who should attach themselves to him. The spectacle of Christ’s miracles must have been particularly impressive to the disciples of John, who performed no miracles, John 10:41.’

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This verse might be rendered, ‘Happy is he to whom I shall not prove a stumbling block.’ That is, happy is he who shall not take offence at my poverty and lowliness of life, so as to reject me and my doctrine. Happy is the one who can, notwithstanding that poverty and obscurity, see the evidence that I am the Messiah, and follow me. It is not improbable that John wished Jesus publicly to proclaim himself as the Christ, instead of seeking retirement. Jesus replied that he gave sufficient evidence of that by his works; that a man might discover it if he chose; and that he was blessed or happy who should appreciate that evidence and embrace him as the Christ, despite his humble manner of life.’

‘After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ Luke 7:24-27

As John’s messengers go back to tell John what they heard and saw Jesus doing, He turns His attention to the crowd and begins to speak to them about John the Baptiser. He asks a series of questions, concerning the character of John.

Jesus declares that John wasn’t an unstable man in his beliefs, like reed being swayed by the wind, Ephesians 4:14. John wasn’t a rich man dressed in fine clothes which were fit for a king to wear.

John wasn’t just a prophet, he was more than a prophet, Matthew 14:5 / Matthew 21:26 / Luke 1:76 / Luke 20:6. He was the very prophet that Malachi prophesied was to come, Malachi 3:1.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘John was the last and greatest of the prophets, foretelling.

1. The near approach of the kingdom of God.

2. That Jesus would take away the sin of the world.

3. That the Jewish nation would be destroyed for rejecting him, Matthew 3:10.

He was more than a prophet in that he did not merely foretell the Messiah but presented him to the people and identified him. He was greatest also in his proximity to Christ, which is the final, ultimate test of greatness.’

‘I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Luke 7:28

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the kingdom.

‘By the kingdom of heaven in this verse is meant, the fulness of the blessings of the Gospel of peace, which fulness was not known till after Christ had been crucified, and had risen from the dead. Now the least in this kingdom, the meanest preacher of a crucified, risen, and glorified Saviour, was greater than John, who was not permitted to live to see the plenitude of Gospel grace, in the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.

1. That the kingdom of heaven here does not mean the state of future glory, Matthew 3:2.

2. That it is not in holiness or devotedness to God that the least in this kingdom is greater than John.

3. That it is merely in the difference of the ministry.

In Matthew 11:11-15, Jesus declares that there ‘has never’ been a greater ‘man’ than John the Baptist, Job 14:1 / Job 15:14 / Job 25:4.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the kingdom.

‘By the kingdom of heaven in this verse is meant, the fulness of the blessings of the Gospel of peace, which fulness was not known till after Christ had been crucified, and had risen from the dead. Now the least in this kingdom, the meanest preacher of a crucified, risen, and glorified Saviour, was greater than John, who was not permitted to live to see the plenitude of Gospel grace, in the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.’

1. That the kingdom of heaven here does not mean the state of future glory, Matthew 3:2.

2. That it is not in holiness or devotedness to God that the least in this kingdom is greater than John.

3. That it is merely in the difference of the ministry.

The prophets pointed out a Christ that was coming, John showed that Christ was then among them and the preachers of the Gospel prove that this Christ has suffered, and entered into his glory and that repentance and remission of sins are proclaimed through his blood. There is a saying similar to this among the Jews, ‘even the servant maid that passed through the Red Sea, saw what neither Ezekiel nor any other of the prophets had seen’.’

McGarvey, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Jesus here pictures the kingdom of heaven as a besieged city. The city is shut up, but the enemies which surround it storm its walls and try to force an entrance. The gates of Christ’s kingdom were not opened until the day of Pentecost, Acts 2, but men, hearing it was about to be opened, sought to enter it prematurely, not by the gates which God would open, but by such breaches as they themselves sought to make in its walls.’

The prophets and the law both told the Jews that John would come, Malachi 4:4-6. Jesus tells the crowd that if they are willing to accept it, they would understand that Elijah was to come, Matthew 17:10-13 / Mark 9:11-13.

John wasn’t Elijah, despite some claiming he was raised from the dead, John 1:21, John would come in the spirit and power of Elijah, Luke 1:17.

Jesus encouraged the crowd to listen very closely to what He had just told them, Matthew 13:9 / Mark 4:9 / Luke 8:8 / Revelation 2:7.

‘(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John.  But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)’ Luke 7:29-30

It’s interesting to note that everyone, including tax collectors. believed Jesus’ words and acknowledge that God’s way was right except for the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. These were the very people who should have known better, Matthew 11:16-19, refused to listen to John and Jesus.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘In this passage lies the reason why the publicans and harlots entered into God’s kingdom, whereas the Pharisees did not enter it. Another significant reason also appears in the next episode where the sinful woman is presented as ‘loving’ Jesus more than the proud Pharisee and, as Jesus said, ‘If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments’, John 14:15.’

‘Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: “‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’ For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” Luke 7:31-35

There’s no doubt that Jesus loved children, and later will tell us we must become like them to enter the kingdom of heaven, Matthew 18:1-6 because God’s kingdom belongs to the children, Matthew 19:14. It’s interesting here because Jesus now compares that generation to unruly children, who are misbehaving in the marketplace.

It appears that this generation was playing games, while some wanted to play happy wedding songs, but they were considered too happy, others wanted to play sad funeral songs, but they were considered too unhappy and mournful.

Gill, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The allusion is to Jewish children, who having seen their parents and friends at their festivals and weddings, some play upon the pipe, and others dance to them, mimicked the same in their diversions and also having observed, at funerals, the mourning women, making their doleful ditties, and others answering to them, acted the part of these persons, expecting their fellows would make their responses but did not.’

John’s life was one of self-denial and yet the people said he had a demon, he was a madman. In contrast to John, Jesus tells the crowd what the people are thinking about Him. The Son of Man came eating and drinking and yet they called Him a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following

‘The following criticisms were directed against Christ.

1. He was called a glutton.

2. He was called a winebibber.

3. They said he cast out demons by the prince of demons, Matthew 9:34.

4. They called him Beelzebul, Matthew 10:25.

5. They called him a sinner, John 9:24.

6. They said he had a demon, John 7:20.

7. They said he was a Samaritan, John 8:48.

8. They charged him with violating the sabbath, Matthew 12:2.

9. They referred to him as a ‘deceiver’, Matthew 27:63.

10. They accused him of friendship with publicans and sinners, Luke 15:2. In that last calumny, they overreached themselves, because what they intended as slander is, in fact, the glory of our Lord, namely, that he is a friend of publicans and sinners.’

Wisdom would tell people that both John and Jesus were carrying out the will of God and teaching God’s will to the people, Matthew 11:19.

Jesus Anointed By A Sinful Woman

‘When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.’ Luke 7:36

Before we get into the text, we must remember that this account of Jesus being anointed isn’t the same account we read of John 12:1-8. John’s Gospel records that it was Mary who anointed Jesus’ feet in Bethany just before Jesus’ death.

We know that from reading the Gospels, Jesus spent a lot of time with the downtrodden and the outcast of society. However, there are other Gospel stories where Jesus was with the well-heeled or the well to do of society.

Just because Jesus was interested in the rejection of society, didn’t mean he was uninterested in the respect of society. So, when a rich, well-respected man, like Simon, says, ‘I’m having a party in my house, will you come?’ Jesus said, ‘yes’.

This wasn’t the only occasion when Jesus went in and ate in a Pharisee’s house, Luke 11:37 / Luke 14:1. We need to remember that not all the religious leaders were of the evil heart of those who eventually sought to kill Jesus. John 3:1-2 / Acts 6:7.

‘A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 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. 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.’ Luke 7:37-39

So, Jesus went to Simon’s house and dinner was served in the courtyard, where anyone could have walked in to hear the wisdom of the Rabbi and Simon was the host.

But the amazing thing is, even though Simon was the host, somebody else gave the hospitality. Into the courtyard walked a woman off the street. And we’re talking not about a homeless person, but a woman who earned her living off the street.

But notice that she came to Jesus. You see, it doesn’t matter what we’ve done in the past. We don’t know what our individual reputations are with people right now. But this woman wasn’t prepared to let her past or reputation keep her from approaching Jesus and we shouldn’t either.

So, she came to Jesus, and it would appear that she was going to anoint His feet with perfume, but as she got closer and closer to Him, her emotions got the better of her and she broke down. She just began to weep, not just sobbing, but crying her heart out.

She began to cry so hard, she splattered his feet with her tears and she wanted to clean it off, but she couldn’t touch anything in a Pharisee’s house, because she was an unclean woman.

So, she just took her hair and started wiping the tears off His feet and then she took the perfume and began to pour it over His feet and kissed His feet constantly. She just kept crying.

Often Jesus would stop someone from crying but here, He doesn’t stop this woman. It could be that she is weeping because she is repenting, instead of running toward sin, she now wants to run away from it.

And we should be doing the same, running away from sin, not towards it. Aren’t we glad that Jesus is willing to publicly admit that he is a friend of sinners? He is standing up saying that, He is a friend of people who has sinned, 1 Timothy 1:15-16.

Now there is a lot of speculation about the identity of this woman, but the truth is, nobody knows who she was. Her remorse over her sinful state was manifested in this most humble gesture of anointing and washing of Jesus’ feet. Her repentance was expressed by the outpouring of her emotion.

Notice that those present said, ‘if He was a prophet He would know what kind of woman this was’. These are the word of judgement concerning Jesus, not just the woman.

He was right in judging that a true prophet would know the character of the past life of the woman. However, he was wrong in assuming that Jesus didn’t know, Luke 15:2.

‘Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to tell you.’ ‘Tell me, teacher,’ he said. ‘Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?’ Luke 7:40-42

God’s grace is poured out on all who will receive such. Only God can forgive sins because it is against God that sin is committed. Therefore, in forgiving sins, Jesus was claiming to be God. God’s forgiveness through grace motivates a loving response, 2 Corinthians 4:15.

Christians love because God first loved them, 1 John 4:19. The disciples of Jesus are motivated into action because of the loving action by which God moved toward them, 1 Corinthians 15:10 / 1 John 4:19. Love is the primary motivation that moves one toward obedience to the commandments of God. John 14:15 / 1 John 5:1-3.

‘Simon replied, ‘I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.’ ‘You have judged correctly,’ Jesus said.’ Luke 7:43

Jesus wanted to make public His patience and mercy for sinners, but Simon didn’t think that this was a display of patience and mercy.

Simon thought it was a spectacle, of shame and compromise. And he thought to himself, ‘if this man was really a prophet, if He was really a holy man and not just some con-artist, He would know she is a wicked sinful woman.’

Simon’s view of righteousness demanded that you keep yourself away from sinners like her. And to Simon, the whole scene was an amazing disgrace.

In fact, Simon concluded that Jesus’ offer of grace was disgraceful. He thought it was disgraceful that he would be in the company of that kind of woman.

He annoyed Jesus, over how grace should be extended, and Simon isn’t alone. Not only does he have a lot of company in the Bible, but he also has a lot more company today. People are constantly confused over how grace should be extended to others.

Remember in Matthew 20, the story of the vineyard workers? Some worked all day, some only worked a few hours and they were all paid the same amount. But those who worked all day complained that it was unfair.

The owner had been too gracious, and he says to them in verse 15 ‘Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Or do you resent my generosity towards others?’ The owner tells them he can do what he wants with his own money and asks, are you envious because I’m so generous? Is that the problem?

Some people today are annoyed because Christ is just too generous with the wrong kind of people. That’s exactly how the older brother felt in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

He thought it was disgraceful that his dad was giving grace to his sinful brother who had squandered money on women and booze. The older brother was absolutely fizzing with anger and he was bitter about the grace his father had given to his younger brother.

It was exactly the same with Jonah. In the Old Testament, Jonah disobeyed God’s command to go to Nineveh, to get the people to repent, because Jonah was afraid that God would forgive those people. Jonah accused God of being irresponsible to people who didn’t deserve it, Jonah 4:1-2.

He’s telling God that grace is too good for some people and he’s telling God that he and his friends are down here to make sure that God doesn’t get irresponsible with grace.

Just like Jonah, Simon believed that grace was just too good for some people. He thought to himself, ‘Jesus didn’t know what kind of a woman she was’.

Well, guess what? Not only did Jesus know what kind of woman she was, but He also knew what kind of man, Simon was. And for every person that disagrees with God about how He dispenses grace, He has one question, ‘What right do you have to be angry?’ Jonah 4:4.

Those of us who had a lot of sin in our lives before we came to Christ are usually the ones who appreciate their salvation more than others.

We understood our great need for forgiveness and we are forever thankful to God for forgiving us. When we feel truly forgiven, we live truly thankful lives, 2 Corinthians 4:15.

‘Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not kiss me, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.’ Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ Luke 7:44-48

Who are we to say that it’s disgraceful the way God dispenses grace when we need it so much ourselves? That’s what Jesus was trying to say, when he said, ‘Simon, do you see this woman?’ That’s a weird question, how could Simon not see the woman, she was right there!

But there was another way Simon saw the woman. Simon saw a Tramp, Simon saw a sinner, Simon saw a woman that wasn’t good enough for the love of God.

You see Jesus was saying, ‘Simon, you think you see this woman, but you don’t see the woman. And the reason you don’t see the woman is because you still don’t clearly see yourself.’

Remember this, nothing so blinds a person as a vision of their own sufficiency. Jesus said earlier in the parable that, ‘neither man had the ability to pay’. It doesn’t matter what size of debt we have individually accrued before the Lord, we don’t have anything to pay it off. Nothing.

Simon had failed to perform the customary duties of a host that showed respect to a guest. The humble actions of the woman went far beyond what even a host would perform toward his guest.

She did more for Jesus than those who considered themselves righteous in the eyes of God. She manifested her great love, and thus, she received forgiveness.

When anyone responds to the grace of God that was revealed on the cross, Titus 2:11, and then obeys the Gospel by immersion in water, God forgives that person’s sins, Acts 2:38 Acts 22:16.

‘The other guests began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’ Luke 7:49-50

There were evidently other Pharisees who were guests at this particular meal. They thought it presumptuous of Jesus to forgive sins, Luke 5:21 / Matthew 9:6.

The woman’s faith in who Jesus was, moved her to submit to Jesus. She didn’t have a simple belief in Jesus. Her actions were the manifestation of her great faith, Matthew 9:2 / Matthew 9:22.

Jesus said, ‘Your faith has saved you’. Somewhere in the past, she has heard Jesus teach. She has heard the Good News, that God loves sinners, that God wants people to be with Him, that people matter to God and she believed it.

She came to find Jesus because when you really believe in God and receive His gift, the response is always praise and worship and love. Always. That’s what she was doing, she was pouring out on Jesus.

Look at something else here, the things that she used to seduce men with, she used her hair, she used her lips and she used her perfume and now the things she used to sin, she’s given to honour God, Luke 7:47. She lavished love on Jesus because of what she had received from Jesus.

Simon’s been counting the wrong things, just like you and I. He’d been counting on how many times he’d been going to worship, how much money he’d given to the temple, how many verses of the Bible he knew, and all of these things are good and noble, but Paul says that we need faith which expresses itself through love, Galatians 5:6.

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Simon didn’t love much because Simon didn’t think he needed much. That woman knew she needed a lot and she received it and her love was overflowing.

The irony is, if Simon and that woman walked into any one of many churches today, he would be made an Elder and she wouldn’t even be allowed to teach Sunday School.

In the eyes of Jesus, which one was the amazing disgrace?

Our misunderstanding of how God sees us determines how we see others. How we think God sees us, affects how we see other people. Anyone, who sees themselves as a good person paying off a small debt, will look down on others.

On the other hand, those who see themselves as debtors in need of grace to be saved will be a friend to sinners, Ephesians 4:32 / 1 John 10-11.

It is disgraceful for a Christian not to look at others, as we want God to look at us. ‘Be merciful as your Father is merciful.’ Luke 6:36. When we see an unsaved person, just remember this, ‘there but for the grace of God go I’. Any other view is a disgrace.

Go To Luke 8

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

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