29 June, 2022

April 10 | Application

by | 4 April, 2022

What We All Have in Common

By David Faust

They appeared to have nothing in common at all. People treated him like gold and they treated her like dirt.

Scripture mentions her reputation but not her name, identifying her simply as a “woman in that town who lived a sinful life” (Luke 7:37). Was she a prostitute? Perhaps. Simon, on the other hand, was a well-regarded Pharisee. Their social circles never intersected. Her group of friends never interacted with his, and he meticulously avoided people like her. But when Simon hosted a dinner party with Jesus as a guest, she slipped into the house uninvited.

Jesus’ words and deeds that evening moved the woman to cry and moved the Pharisee to criticize (see Luke 7:36-50). The woman wept so hard that her tears poured down on Jesus’ feet, and she grabbed the only towel available (her own long hair) to dry them. Spontaneously, she kissed Jesus’ feet and poured perfume on them. The Pharisee looked on with disdain, angry at the awkward way this uninvited guest had interrupted his dinner party with all her weeping, wiping, and wailing.

Answering Unspoken Questions

Notice Simon’s train of thought and his faulty conclusions. “If this man were a prophet,” he said to himself . . . but Jesus was a prophet, and more! “He would know” . . . ah, but he did know! . . . “who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

Jesus knew exactly what kind of woman she was. He came to seek, serve, and save people like her. The real problem? Simon didn’t realize what kind of Savior Jesus was, nor did Simon recognize what kind of sinner he himself was.

 “Jesus answered him” (v. 40), although the Pharisee hadn’t spoken his skeptical thoughts out loud. How startled Simon must have been when Jesus directly addressed his unspoken criticisms! The Lord told a little story to illustrate a practical point: Someone who has a large debt canceled appreciates it more than someone who has a small debt canceled. The more we recognize the magnitude of our sin-debt, the more we appreciate God’s forgiveness.

Our Common Problem

The unnamed woman and the self-righteous Pharisee had more in common than it appeared, for they were both sinners. And by the end of the evening, Jesus surprised everyone by turning the situation around. The man most viewed as righteous turned out to be the one who failed, and the woman known for her sin was commended for her faith. That evening, Simon hadn’t even shown Jesus common courtesies, but the woman honored the Lord by washing and kissing his feet. Forgiven more, she loved more.

This story is a wake-up call when we’re tempted to slip into self-righteousness. Without Christ, we are all in the same boat and it’s sinking. Some sins are more obvious than others, but we all desperately need God’s grace. How will we respond to Christ, the grace-giver? Will we be like cynical Simon, looking down our noses at others and even daring to criticize the Lord himself? Or will we be like the tearful woman, moved to sincere and uninhibited repentance?

This story teaches us to lay aside our pride and fall humbly at Jesus’ feet. Only then can we fully appreciate the Master’s words: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (v. 50).

Personal Challenge: How much has God forgiven you—a little, or a lot? How deep is your love for the Lord? How much do you appreciate his forgiveness? If you had attended the Pharisee’s dinner party, would you have joined the woman at Jesus’ feet, or would you have kept your distance and silently found fault?

Christian Standard

Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com


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