Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Excerpt from a Funeral Sermon

In Luke 7:36-50, we find a lady who is sitting at Jesus’ feet. She brought with her a pretty thing—perfume. Crying, Luke the gospel writer tells us that the lady, “began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and poured perfume on them” (Luke 7:38).

Now the man who was hosting Jesus for dinner was a very religious man—a Pharisee. He was brim and proper. And I’m sure he was surprised when this down-and-out woman comes up to Jesus.

Back in the first century, when important people at a meal together, they often ate in the center of an open courtyard—and people would gather around—at the outer edges—to watch. So when this lady leaves the outer edges, breaks the social norms, and sits down by Jesus’ toes, at the celebrity table, he’s a bit offended. And he says to himself, “If this man Jesus were really a prophet know-it-all, he’d know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a low down sinner.”

The religious man is saying all this to himself, but Jesus knows what he’s thinking, and so he says to the Pharisee, “Simon, I have a story to tell you. Two men owed money to a lender. One owed 500. The other owed 50. Neither of them could repay the money, so the lender canceled the debt.” Then Jesus asked, “Which one will love him more?” Simon gets the point and replies, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” And Jesus says, “Yes, you got it.”

And then, Jesus does something bold. In fact, what Jesus does next is what makes him unique and worthy of our attention. Jesus takes Simon deeper. He reveals to Simon—a religious man—what true spiritual need looks like. He points to the woman at his feet and says, “Simon, this is what real spirituality looks like. It’s admitting your need.”

... Our greatest need is a Savior— someone who will forgive our sins— and restore us to a right relationship with God.

The lady who kneeled at Jesus’ feet— she found the right person. And when you admit your need and kneel at his feet— you too find the right person—for in Jesus, you find God himself.

And at the feet of Jesus, you too can hear these words: “Your sins are forgiven... Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Dear friend, the Bible declares that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Three days later, he rose again. In doing so, he showed the world that God indeed has forgiven us.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you have humbly confessed to Jesus your need—for His forgiveness—of your sins? If so, let this be a day of rejoicing. If you have not yet made this decision, the arms of Jesus are open. He welcomes anyone who will trust in Him. For God delights in forgiving the debt that none of us can repay. Amen.

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