As we continue in the “Conversations with Jesus” series, Pastor Joe reminds us of why this message is important for Christians and Non-Christians alike. For those who are not Christians, it gives them a chance to see Jesus for who he truly is and hear how he interacted with the people around him. For those who are already Christians, it reminds them to look closer at Jesus’ heart and open theirs in response, over and over again.
In Luke 7:36-50, we are introduced to two very different people: Simon, the Pharisee, and the “Woman of the city.” Simon was proud and pious. The woman was humble and heartbroken. Both were sinners, but only the woman was branded as one. Both had a debt that they could never repay, but only the woman sought the one who could pay it. Simon invited Jesus to the table, with a skeptical heart. The woman sought Jesus at the table, with a sober heart.
So, Pastor Joe presents us with two critical questions: What was the difference between the two? Which one are you? As outlined in the message, there are three main differences between Simon and the woman:
- The way they saw themselves.
- The way they responded to Jesus.
- The way Jesus responded to them.
And, this framework will inform how we see the big picture of Christ as well.
Let’s look at Simon’s view of Jesus. Simon invited Jesus over and scrutinized what he could bring to the table. He fit him into his dinner plans but was undecided if he would fit into his bigger plan. He felt confident in his convictions and needed convincing that Jesus offered him more than he could provide for himself. He saw this sobbing woman anointing Jesus’s feet and could hardly contain his disgust. He scoffed at this woman, a known sinner, and sat in self-righteousness as he watched Jesus’s reaction to her.
But then, we are shown the woman’s view of Jesus. She was unnamed, uninvited, unwanted, and yet she sought Jesus’ presence and went to find him. She knew that what Jesus had to offer was far more valuable than anything she could ever gain in her own strength. She pursued him despite the world’s conviction of her. Approaching with an alabaster jar, she anointed him and honored him with all she had to give. The woman acted out of an overflow of love for her Savior. And Jesus’s response to her was to love and forgive.
Through his parable, Jesus tried to show Simon the bigger picture: “her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47).
Simon saw his debt as insignificant in comparison to the woman. The woman did not see the debt of Simon. She only saw the crushing weight of her own sin and rushed to the feet of Jesus. As Pastor Joe so profoundly put it, “One owed a little. One owed a lot. But, neither could pay.” But as long as Simon could not fully see the weight of his own sins, he would never fully see the Savior for who he truly is either.
Sometimes, we may view Jesus as Simon. We may wonder what he has to offer us or we may hold back because we are afraid of what he will have to say about the direction of our lives. But other times, we may view Jesus as the woman did. We will see our sins and our need for a Savior, and we will give anything to find him and sit at his feet.
When we see ourselves clearly for who we really are, we see Jesus clearly too. We see his heart for us and the love, mercy, and forgiveness he has to offer. And, we leave that table knowing that we are fully seen, fully loved, and fully forgiven by our Lord, who never stops talking to us and never stops opening our eyes to see more of him.