Re:Verse reading–Luke 15:1-2, 11-32 (day three) 

“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”  As it turned out, Jesus would do even worse than that.  But that’s because he understood people were lost.  In the days before that word denoted a demographic or a class of persons who don’t subscribe to a particular version of theology, Jesus felt the giant wound of the human race.  He sensed acutely, agonizingly, that people were missing.  You can hear it in his story of the two brothers.  You can hear it in his metaphor of the lost sheep.  You can hear it in his parable of the banquet.  Jesus is grieved at a great absence.  What do you think about that?

Wrong Path

Re:Verse reading–Luke 15:1-2, 11-32 (day two) 

But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! vs. 17

It happens at some point to all of us. We come to that moment where we realize our inability to go on. We have done all we can do on our own, and we are struck with the truth that it will never be enough. For you it may not be the absolute rock bottom like the prodigal son in this story, but we all get to the point where we look up and ask “why have I been on this path for so long?”

The story doesn’t end there. In what is becoming a familiar narrative for Dr. Luke the son’s first words to his father are complete contrition and humility.

And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ vs. 21 

When we experience that moment of brokenness and confess our utter need and dependence upon Jesus he does something very unexpected. He celebrates our return. We never get what we deserve when we submit to Jesus.

Why would He do it?

Re:Verse reading–Luke 15:1-2; 11-32 (day one) 

“This man receives sinners and eats with them.”–v 2.

I would probably have been uncomfortable.  You?  Jesus received sinners.  Ate with them.  Didn’t that blur the line of moral certainty?  Communicate acceptance or approval?

Why would He do it?  Great question!

In three brilliant stories Jesus provides the answer.  Lost sheep.  Lost coin.  Waiting Father.  The bottom line of each is the same.  Joy!

The reason that Jesus ate with sinners is rooted in the nature and purpose of God.  Heaven rejoices over repentance.  Even a single case!  The great purpose of God is evangelism and rescue and repentance and restoration.  Nothing makes Him happier.

To aim for your own happiness is one kind of life.  To aim for the joy of the Father is another.  “Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him.”–2 Corinthians 5:9.  And the way we do it is evangelism.

Dinner Party

Re:Verse reading–Luke 7:36-50 (day seven)

If you were given the opportunity to invite anyone from history to a dinner party who would you invite?  Jesus, of course, George Washington, King Tutankhamun might be fun, and famed musician Bryan Richardson would round out the table nicely.  Once we got past the language barrier it would be incredible to hear what they think of the world today.

The most important response wouldn’t come from one of them though, it would come from you.  How are you going to treat Jesus?  The Pharisee from this week’s text treats Jesus like an honored dinner guest.  I’m sure his thought process was like ours.  We would anticipate holy credit for giving Jesus a prominent seat at our table.

The Pharisee didn’t get much credit though, in fact, he is put to shame by an unnamed sinful woman.  This sinner’s response is the only authentic response to Jesus.  Jesus deserves far more than a seat at our table, he deserves our tears, our humiliation, our total worship.  You could put Jesus at the head of the most lavish king’s spread this world has ever seen and it would not be enough.  Nothing will ever equal humble worship.

(Greetings from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic!  Larry and I are on a trip with South Texas Children’s Home doing the Lord’s work in the Caribbean.  We will be back with you next week.)


Re:Verse reading–Luke 7:36-50 (day six)

What I admire most about this woman is her shear guts, her no-one-is-keeping-me-from-Jesus courage. She wasn’t walking into friendly territory; she had been marked with a letter s, for sinner. The pharisees were smug; they would never come in contact with such a sinful woman. She was a dark stain, the other, the one that doesn’t belong; she was the, “that’s what wrong with our society.” She was walking into a room full of daggers for eyes,..and she couldn’t have cared less, because in the heart of that room was her Jesus!

I don’t know what having her kind of guts would mean for me; I know I would likely be different in how I talk about Jesus to others, how I worship, how I love the least of these. All I know is that I want more of it! Guts!

One Affects the Other

Re:Verse reading–Luke 7:36-50 (day five) The story of the Pharisee in Luke 7 starts off on a high note. He invites Jesus to eat at his house. This is gonna be a good night. Time with the savior, teaching from the Master, and the potential for life changing encounter. Yet, the great start quickly turns into a train wreck for the Pharisee. He has clearly missed it. Look at verse 39. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”
So, what happened? First and foremost, He didn’t understand who Jesus was. And in turn he couldn’t see the woman thru Jesus’ eyes. Interesting how one affects the other.

Before we have any hope or potential to see and love others as Jesus would want, we must acknowledge and understand at the deepest personal level who Jesus is and His love for the human race (begins with a sinner like me finding salvation and love- then translates into love for others that sees the potential power and change finding Christ can make).

By Faith

Re:Verse reading–Luke 7:36-50 (day four)

Be careful what you think!  Jesus knew the thoughts and intentions of the Pharisee’s heart.  This religious leader, who held strictly to the letter of the Law, undoubtedly wanted to trick Jesus into saying or doing something that could be used against Him.  An uninvited guest interrupted his plan though.  This sinful woman was overcome with emotion…her tears flowed freely.  She was lavish with her attention to Jesus’ needs as she anointed His feet with perfume.  “Your sins have been forgiven.”

Was it her emotional feelings or her works to serve Jesus that brought her forgiveness?  Many believe if they have more good works than bad ones, they will be judged righteous and forgiven by God.  This woman’s actions were the overflow of something else…Jesus gives us the answer.  Verse 50 says it was her faith that saved her.  Remember…Jesus knew the intentions of the heart.  “By grace you have been saved through faith; not of works, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; lest any man should boast.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9)


Re:Verse reading–Luke 7:36-50 (day three)

“He who has been forgiven little loves little.”  So. Love demonstrated is a function of forgiveness received.  That would explain a lot.  You want to love, but you just can’t get there.  Your workaround is to settle for an appreciation of the idea of love, which most of the time looks like our definition of niceness.  Or, it takes the form of fondness for the collective—humanity, people groups, “the lost”, etc.  But the daughter outgrowing your expertise, or the boss emailing you, or the colleague besting you—these are problems you’re left with solving.  Good luck with that.  How about this: If nobody can love like a person forgiven, start there.


Re:Verse reading–Luke 7:36-50 (day two) And standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. vs. 38

Here we have another personal encounter with Jesus that completely shatters our need to be anything other than broken before him. Like Peter in chapter 5 this woman has recognized Jesus as Lord, and likewise, her insufficiency. What I find most beautiful about this story is her focus and attention on Jesus. Luke does not record her complaining or asking him to fix something. This encounter is absolute devotion. Worship at its most beautiful. Worship that completely adores our savior. This is where we need to be. We bring nothing to him. His has been and will ever be our all. Consider acknowledging that as you pray today. Let this inform how you worship next Sunday.

Dinner and disagreement

Re:Verse reading–Luke 7:36-50 (day one)

“Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went.”–v 1.

It was a pattern for the Lord.  A choice.  An example for us.  He stayed in contact and conversation with his critics and opponents.  Dinners not distance.  Opportunities for friendship.

The Pharisees had a different “wisdom”.  Their name is derived from a Hebrew word (prs) which means “to separate or detach”.  They shunned people who strayed.  Disagreement was disloyalty.  Their  “go to” moral instinct was to get as far away from sin and sinner as possible.  (Note the host’s astonishment when Jesus did not apply this “separation policy” to the sinful woman).

But as long as the Pharisee was open to friendship, Jesus was willing to enter in.  The same being true for the woman.

Question–how will people believe unless they hear the message?  Question 2–how effective will our words be if we are not friends?