In my Bible readings lately I have been spending time in the gospels (i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and especially in the gospel of Luke. My interest in Luke was sparked by a Bible teaching I heard about the Holy Spirit’s work in the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles as documented by Luke in his two part series – Luke and Acts. I started reading through Luke and the gospels and was overwhelmed by the Lord Jesus Christ again. I was repeatedly stunned as I saw how incredible Jesus is. He is so different than us, and yet so alike to us – two natures, true God and true man, in one Person. His teachings and miracles startled me as I saw the work and influence of the Holy Spirit in His life.
One particular passage that has tremendously impacted me the last few weeks was Luke 7:36-50. As I read and studied the passage I saw three truths about Jesus pop out from the text that we will look at over the next few blog posts before returning to God’s extraordinary ways of growing His people through seemingly ordinary activities. As you read through the passage over the next few weeks, focus on the ideas these three words contain – both, love, and who.
1. BOTH – Luke the doctor is investigating and writing about the man who is God. The first idea that sticks out in this passage is “both.” There are a couple of groups of people that Jesus Christ interacted with in His earthly ministry as recorded by Luke. The parable of the prodigal son and older brother illustrate these groups perfectly (Luke 15:11-32). The first group (i.e. the older brother in the parable) included the Pharisees and the scribes. They were very religious and had the appearance to all of looking really good spiritually on the outside. In this passage you see Jesus being invited and attending a dinner at the home of Simon, the Pharisee. The second group of people (i.e. the prodigal son in the Luke 15 parable) that Jesus interacted with was composed of sinners and tax collectors. Luke is clear that the woman who joins the party was a woman of the city and a sinner (v. 37, 39, 47).
One of the many amazing things about Jesus is that He came to save people from both groups. He didn’t just come for the religious OR the irreligious – instead He came to save people from both groups. Jesus is not content only to redeem the sinful woman, but He also desires to address Simon’s heart. Jesus could have let Simon think his wrong thoughts about Jesus (v. 39) – after all, Simon did “say to himself” instead of saying it out loud. No, Jesus came for sinners from both groups and died and rose again to redeem them.
There are a number of people around us that have lives that put them into either the religious or irreligious category. We should be encouraged by Jesus to seek to minister to both groups. To those who are more like Simon, we encourage them to repent of thinking that their morality has earned them pleasure from the God of free grace. To those who are more like the sinful woman, we offer God’s grace that tells them that there is nobody too far gone for the Lord Jesus to save. As the church of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us offer to all people, despite any appearances, the gospel of free grace to sinners – that Jesus Christ is able to save people who think they are good and people who know that they are bad.
Stay tuned into the blog over the next few weeks to catch part 2 and part 3.