When we look at people what do we see? Do we see others as a super righteous person might or as Jesus would?
Let’s discover how to see people as Jesus sees them, for the love in their hearts and not for the mistakes they may have made.
Let’s look at Luke 7:36-8:3 and that love that Jesus discovered in a former immoral woman’s heart.
Luke 7:36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. 37 When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. 38 Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. 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!” 40 Then Jesus answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.” “Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied.
41 Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. 42 But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.” “That’s right,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. Luke 7:47 “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?” 50 And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
8:1 Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, 2 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.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
What May a Forgiven Sinner See? (vs. 36-38)
The polarization between the super righteous Pharisees and sinners is a familiar contrast. We have similar contrasts in our day in politics and religion and the media is well-known for highlighting the differences to make a story. The sinner here is a woman with an immoral reputation. She intrudes where she would not normally be welcomed and performs an extreme act. Do we readily dismiss such people in our world? Jesus did not. Do we not even consider that the need to eat may have driven her into immorality? A Pharisee does not care about the poor, but only about doing what is right according to the letter of the law. What do the woman’s actions reveal about her heart?
What May a Righteous Person Not See? (vs. 39-43)
How can a righteous person lack insight into Jesus’ purposes? There are two kinds of righteousness, a righteousness of the law and a righteousness of faith. The righteousness of the law opposes God’s purposes. The Pharisee asked how could Jesus be a prophet and allow such a woman to perform an act with suggestively erotic overtones? Jesus proves that he was a prophet by knowing Simon’s thoughts. Jesus also saw what Simon did not, a broken heart and tears of repentance. Jesus explained it using the familiar economic system of enslavement to debts which as in our day is not a system based on love. Speaking of forgiving debts, Jesus contrasts the greater love of one forgiven a large debt.
What Kind of Love Can Former Sinners Have? (vs. 44-47)
The woman that Simon wanted to reject had one of life’s most important lessons for him. Is that also true for us? Simon saw the sin. He did not see her love. He did not see the boldness and the gratitude of one who is forgiven much. How would Simon treat the woman from that day forward? Would he continue to treat her as a sinner or as an equal among God’s people? We do not know. The woman’s extravagant love revealed her new life. The Pharisee’s judgmentalism revealed that he had not yet experienced new life. Would he recognize God as one who cancels debts or would he continue to hold others’ sins against them as an unforgiven debt?
When we look at others, do we see what they were or what they are in Christ? How much do we see their mistakes as a judgmental Pharisee might, and how much do we see what God is doing in their hearts as Jesus does?