Monday, April 26, 2010

Luke 7:36-50, “Don’t Call Jesus a Chump,” A Bible Study Devotion.

Luke 7:36-50, “Don’t Call Jesus a Chump,” A Bible Study Devotion.

Read Luke 7:36-50

When I first read this passage I assumed I would write a typical devotion about the situation and the lesson it is teaching. However, something else just jumped off the page. I tried to put myself in the place of the Pharisee to gauge his motivations. He has invited Jesus to his home for a meal. Why? Is it because he wants to spend time with him? Is it because he respects him and wants to learn from him? I'm not sure, it does not say. But look at the chain of events:

The pharisee invites Jesus to his home.
There is a woman at Jesus feet.
The pharisee has negative thoughts about Jesus.
The pharisee has negative thoughts about the woman.
Jesus calls his name.
The pharisee responds with the respectful term "teacher."
Jesus tells him a parable.

Let's break this down. We will have to jump back and forth between the chain of events to make some sense out of this scene. Look at how the pharisee responds to Jesus and the woman at Jesus' feet. He says in verse 39, "If this man were a profit, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is - that she is a sinner." In that one sentence he is saying: Jesus is a liar, Jesus is only a man, the pharisee is a judge and judges that Jesus should not allow a sinner to touch him, the woman is beneath the pharisee because she is a sinner, and the pharisee is not a sinner by comparison. Wow, pretty arrogant, huh? Notice that it also says that the pharisee said this under his breath. Not only is the pharisee making all these judgments, but he is also not man enough to say them out loud, which shows contempt. So a few questions are: Why did he invite Jesus at all? This is in his house right? So why is the "sinner" in there at all? Is this some kind of set up?

Jesus then says to the pharisee, "Simon, I have something to tell you." The pharisee then says, "Tell me, teacher." Tell me teacher? So is this guy two faced? He is thinking all these rotten things about Jesus and the woman, then snaps to attention, puts on a fake smile, and calls Jesus "Teacher?"

Jesus then goes on to tell him a parable about sin and forgiveness. Imagine sitting in the room. There is a woman weeping, running her hair all over Jesus' feet, and pouring perfume on them. You would think that the conversation with the pharisee would halt and attention would turn to the woman. The awful sinner. However, Jesus goes on to tell a parable, directed to the pharisee that is speaking to the condition of the pharisee, even though he does not understand.

When you read this now and you can see the whole situation, and it is about someone else, it seems crazy that the pharisee cannot see the irony in Jesus' words. However, has this happened to you too? Have you ever looked at the sin of someone else and not been able to see your own? And don't miss this one... Have you ever had Jesus speaking to you in a story that is surrounding you and missed the whole message because you were too important to "listen?" What if the Holy Spirit is speaking to you at this time in your life in a parable?

To miss what God is trying to teach you is one thing, but to have you ever been two faced to God? What the pharisee did, mumble disdain under his breath, and then paste an "Eddie Haskell" type persona smile on and pay Jesus respectful lip service is obvious. But do we do the same thing; only it's not so obvious? Have you ever shaken your head in disgust and asked God why he made someone the way he did? Have you ever prayed or left church and within minutes willfully walked right out of God's path? If you have done these, you are basically calling God a chump... If you really expect to try and get one past God, you are saying he is a chump. Would you call God a chump to his face? Would you call him one under your breath with prettier words? I bet the answer to the first one is "NO!" I bet the answer to the second one is "maybe???"

Written by Chris Vasecka

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