Forgiven much, so love much: A sermon on Luke 7
Forgiven Much, so Love Much
or Was our Debt the Smaller One?
A Sermon on Luke 7
† I.H.S. †
The grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus will bring you such life that you will adore Him! AMEN!
A New Title:
There are times where the biggest struggle in a sermon is found in coming up with a title. This week, that was part of the struggle, not the only one, but a struggle none the least.
I mean, I couldn’t turn the gospel into a pastor parker parable, could I? The Kingdom of God is like a … Nah, that doesn’t quite work. Imitate a … well never mind, that still doesn’t work either.
But the title of the sermon sets where I am going with it, so I went with the Forgiven much, and was our debt smaller. It is a good simple basic sermon about forgiveness, basics for a Lutheran sermon.
On Saturday, I decided to put a Concordia spin on it, to focus more on the woman than on Simon, to see here as Jesus, and for us to see Jesus as she saw him. Which changed the sermon to:
Healed of so Much, So Worship and Adore Him And Let the Tears fall!
The challenge of dealing with our brokenness – Simon’s challenge
I should mention Simon the Pharisee for a moment, just to compose myself and explain why the prostitute at Jesus’ feet is more spiritually mature than he is. And why, in a way, we need to be more like here than like the religious professional who invited him to a feast.
Yes, I believe the lady balling was more mature than the calm collected Pharisee, who was devoted to serving God, and dedicated to living life as holy as possible.
It is seen in the parable he was told, about the two debtors. Not because he was able to guess correctly, that the one forgiven of much was the one who would love and adore more the man who forgave the debt.
He got that right.
What he didn’t understand is that he was the greater debtor.
We have a look into this as Simon’s thoughts are shared with us in verse 39
39 When the Pharisee, who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”
That is why Jesus tells the parable, and the mistake Simon makes is that Jesus knew exactly who the woman was.
Even more, he knew who Simon was, and that Simon’s debt wasn’t 1/10th of the lady’s debt, but that Simon’s debt was as great, therefore should his love for God should have been like the lady’s, and his welcome, as much in awe and adoration of Jesus, who comes into the presence of those who are sinners, of those who are broken.
The tears pour but why
This is what the spiritually mature lady knew, and I will explain why in a moment. She knew he would welcome her; she knew she could go to him, she so valued this love Jesus showed in forgiving sins, that she poured out her life, the perfume that would cost more than a year of her life, just to bring comfort to his feet.
He didn’t just forgive her of her sins, He healed her of her inability to love, and now, able to truly love, she did.
With tears that didn’t just roll down her cheeks, but poured out of her. Enough to bathe his feet, not just rinse them. She massaged those beautiful feet that brought her good news with her hair, again the cultural implications of this are staggering, for a woman’s glory was seen in long luxurious hair.
In her being forgiven of so much, she was healed to love so much.
To love without thought to cost or culture restriction, to love with every bit of her heart and soul.
That is what grace does. That is what happens when God comes and lives with us.
She’s not the only one…
I mention a moment ago that this lady didn’t come to Jesus without.. encouragement., without expecting something to happen.
I didn’t get this till I looked at the end of the reading, the part that comes from the next chapter,
He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; 3 Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.
You see, this lady wasn’t the first broken person that Jesus healed, she wasn’t the first sinner that was amazed at His grace and love. She wasn’t the first person who learned to adore him, giving of all she had and all she was, literally pouring it out at her feet. She knew He was her hope, even if she didn’t know what hope was. Someone brought her there, someone helped her, brought her into His presence.
I am not sure whether it was Mary Magdalene who led her into the courtyard at Simon’s house, or whether it was Joanna or Susanna or one of the disciples.
Her experience wasn’t a novelty; it wasn’t a single occurrence in the ministry of Jesus. There had been others before her; there have been millions since.
Who learned to love and adore Him, who learned to let the tears flow, who learned that worship happens, not in a controlled managed environment, but worship happens when we encounter the God, who dwells in our midst, and open to sinners coming to Him, and feasting with Him. This is who we are as a church, a people who’ve found healing in Christ, while helping others heal… and
This is our Lord, and He invites you to come, and as you do, do not be surprised at the tears that well up inside, or the healing that takes place, or that you find yourselves loving him, far beyond what you could have expected.
For those who are forgiven and healed of much love much, and this is you and I. AMEN.