John Lesson 16: John 14:1-16:33

For Thought and Discussion Question, Page 149(2)

Why does it glorify the Father when Jesus grants prayers offered in His name? (John 14:13)

NIV Footnote:  John 14:13: Prayers offered in His name is prayer aimed at carrying forward the work Jesus did, Prayer that He himself will answer. (3, page 1622)

 

Prayer brings us in line with Jesus and in accordance with God. Our purpose is to always be in alignment with God, for our prayers to be heard and answered.  Prayer in line with Jesus gives us a better understanding of how to pray, why we should pray and how prayer changes things. (1, page 44)

God gets glorified because of our relationship with Him. We know He answers all prayers that come from His son, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus. As we grow in our relationship with God our Pray life should grow as well.

John 14:6: I am the way and the truth and the life…

 

References:

  1. Helen Smith Shoemaker, The Secret of Effective Prayer, Word Book, 1967.
  2. John, Life Change Series, NavPress, 1987
  3. NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 2008 edition.
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Gospel of John Lesson 10 “The Light of the World”

When a patron enters a theater once the show has begun, an usher shines a light on the ticket and then shines a light on the path where one is walking, so the patron can get seated safely.  Jesus tells us in John 8:12 “…I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” This light comes from God, illuminates, reflects and directs our path to everlasting life.  Oh what a light!

Jesus opened the eyes of one who was born blind in John 9:1-6; another miracle that tells us who Jesus is. He asked the healed man in V.35-41, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” When he recognized Jesus as the one who healed him, he believed and worshipped Jesus. He truly could see the light that Jesus shined; he gained spiritual sight.  On the other hand, the Pharisees believed they already had spiritual sight. They implied this with their sarcastic question to Jesus (John 9:40), “What?  Are we blind too?”.  Jesus replied (John 9:41) “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains”.

If they had admitted to their blindness, Jesus would have healed them by forgiving their sins.  But they instead insisted they could see and therefore remained in their sin.  They rejected Jesus, rejected his light and this kept them in sin. Jesus by his very nature and by coming into the world shining his light, divided people into two camps; 1-those who are blind, who accept Jesus and gain spiritual sight and 2-those who believe they are not blind, who reject the light, are spiritually blind and remain in sin.

Bowing before and worshiping Jesus, I acknowledge He is lord and master, and by faith I will walk towards the light. I was blind but now Hallelujah, I can see.

References:

1- NIV Study Bible – Zondervan 2011 by Biblica, Inc

2- Life Change Series-Book of John – NavPress 2010 by the Navigators

3- Commentary – https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-53-blind-see-seeing-are-blind-         john-935-41         Steven J. Cole 201

Opposition Begins

Many of you can identify with the “Power of Faith.”  It can be different in each of our lives.  Lesson seven in our study on the book of John was centered on John 5: 1 – 47.  The title identified was “Opposition Begins.”  Some of the headings found in Chapter 5 in the book of John, in the bible are:  “The Healing at the Pool; Life through the Son; Testimonies about Jesus.

 

The many toils of strife were chronicled by the apostle John, among others.  John was the messenger who told of the Messiah.  Jesus was faced with opposition, even though he did good.  He healed the lame and cured the sick.  Even though he performed miracles, the Jews considered him a mere man.  Jesus realized that he would be fighting an up-hill battle at the very beginning.  Those in power did not want to feel challenged for their stations in life (positions).  They also wanted to limit anyone from gaining a position that they did not support.

 

Jesus saw an invalid lying by the pool at Bethesda.  Jesus learned that he had been an invalid for thirty eight years; which to many of us is a long time.  Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well. After listening to his reply, Jesus told him to get up and walk.  Ordinarily, Jesus would have healed the man based on his faith.  Faith would have been a requirement, a pre-requisite., for the man to be cured.  In this particular instance, the man did not even know who Jesus was.  Jesus is not limited by a person’s lack of faith, even though he usually heals in response to faith.

 

The Jews questioned the man who had been healed.  They wanted to punish him for performing work on the Sabbath.  Per the NIV footnote of John 5:10 and the Life Change study guide text notes on page 69; “The Law of Moses forbids work on the Sabbath. The rabbis minutely spelled out what constituted work (by 200 AD thirty-nine classes of work were defined). Nehemiah 13:15 and Jeremiah 17:21-27 condemn carrying loads for commercial business on the Sabbath, so the rabbis decided that “taking out aught from one domain into another”(1) was always work. This included carrying a mat. The rabbis had a theory that each commandment should be applied as widely as possible to avoid even accidentally breaking the law.”  They interpreted that the law forbade his carrying of the mat in his possession.  They interpreted that the law forbade the carrying of loads of any kind.  The Jews held Jesus accountable for permitting the man to carry the mat on the Sabbath.  The Jews then persecuted Jesus because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.

 

Jesus was prepared for the opposition.  He was ready to do what it took.  He understood what lengths humans would go to, to maintain their authoritative positions, and positions of power.  Jesus understood that prophecy had to be fulfilled.

 

Sources:

Life Change Series, A NavPress Bible study of the book of John, NavPress, 1987.          (1) Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to John, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Eerdmans, 1971).

NIV Study Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, 1995

 

Fathoming The mystery of God

In the Beginning GOD; God Created the Heavens and the earth, God told Moses that He was I AM; GOD, outside of time; GOD outside of the known and unknown universe.  GOD, we know He is, but to understand who God is, that is an entirely different thing.  Job speaks of God “Can you fathom the mysteries of God?  Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” (11:7). And Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “…He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

I have just finished reading a book by Walter Lippmann entitled Preface to Morals in this book Mr. Lippmann enunciates the various aspects that must be considered in understanding the morality of the modern life.  The book was written in 1929, yet much of what he has written is still very pertinent today.   Mr. Lippmann looks at how we see God in our modern world as opposed to the way that those who wrote the Bible looked at God.  When these men wrote the word King or Lord they had a current reference, a very accurate example of what that meant.  How do we understand that simple word in this Democratic, Capitalistic society that is ours here in the United States?  He writes, “The Omnipotence of God means something to men who submit daily to the cycles of the weather and the mysterious power of nature.  But the city man puts his faith in furnaces to keep out the cold, is proudly aware of what bad sewage his ancestors endured, and of how ignorantly they believed that God, who made Adam at 9 A.M. on October 23 in the year 4004 B.C., was concerned with the behavior of Adam’s children.”  And in saying this he is merely stating that as we have more and more machines to rely on, our daily lives require less faith in God to see to our needs, and in needing God less, we are forced to redefine who He is.  Even within the Bible, the book of Job is a fulcrum to reassess God and his association with man.  For in Job we see that God allows evil into our lives.  We see that Job is tenacious in his understanding of who God is, and that God asks only for our belief.  As a Jewish writer, Mr. Lippmann is unfortunate, for his insights are defined by a lack of faith in Christ, but I believe that his assessment of how modern man perceives God is not only accurate, but also extenuated by the world of electronics that now demand our attention second by second.

Who is God?  This is the question of the ages, but I wonder how many of us really try to put our mind around this mystery of faith.  I use the word mystery, because although we use terms that express the various aspects of God, we really don’t know or understand who God is.  The Bible tells us that God is Spirit (John 4:24).  In the poetry of the Psalms, God holds us safe beneath his wings and in Exodus 33:20 God himself tells Moses that “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.”, yet in the New Testament Jesus states that when we see the son, we see the father.  “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…” (John 14:9).

God created; therefore, he is larger than all the galaxies of the universe.  He holds together the smallest of molecules as they are ordered to create life and He is capable of destroying the entire planet.  Do you realize that if God were not conscious of each of us, the very molecules of our bodies would fly apart and we would no longer exist?  In prayer, I should submit myself in complete reverence to the God of creation. As a modern person, I don’t know or understand reverence.  The terms we use have no place in our modern world, yet those words are the thing that links us to the religious, the divine.  Reverence, Webster defines as, respect, admiration, awe, veneration, astonishment, amazement, yet when I think of God, all of these words do not begin to put me in touch with His real being.  We respect the right of others to have their own opinions; we admire a teacher who against all odds inspires children to excel.  It is popular now to say that God is Awesome.  Veneration, now there is a great word – I think of old China when I hear this word.  The young venerated the old, in a manner that is unknown in western culture.   Are we really astonished or amazed when we think about God?  We should be, but I think many times we are too busy to feel the full impact of these words, to allow ourselves to dwell on God’s majesty.

God is Father.  Who is the father of our modern life?  Fathers don’t have the same authority as they had when Moses brought the commandments down from Mt. Sinai.  Then Father was the total authority of his home, he had the ability to give blessings on his sons and daughters that had not only financial, but also spiritual meaning. The authority of father has been changed in our modern society.  These changes are not bad, but they have redefined what we comprehend when we hear the word.  In prayer, as His child, I don’t bow, or prostrate myself to be heard, I speak to my Father in a way that may be considered in light of the historic term, wreck loose.

If you spend much time with me, you will know that I cry easily at things religious.  I love God for so many reasons, but I don’t think it is the love that sets me off, it is the torture of my soul to be united with my creator.  As body and blood, we can’t know God, but in that day when we move from this realm into the realm of spirit we will “understand as we are understood” (1 Corinthians 13:12).  Like so many people in our society today, I am without family.  I am blessed that God has given me friends, so I am not lonely or anxious about that aspect of my life.  The truth is we are all alone.  We are never known fully, even by our most intimate friend or spouse.  We touch the world through our own experiences and those experiences create for each of us a different world, a different understanding even when we are together in it.

We are asked to go to God in a prayer closet and I know why.  Only in a closet, a small place devoid of the daily distractions of living can we quiet our brain enough to try to touch even a small essence of who God is.  Just as we all experience things with more than one of our senses, I am conscious of this in me and it has a tendency to put me into overload.  I have a contemplative spirit, and am forced by my own excesses to escape to solitude and quiet, yet even in that quiet place, I am constantly avoiding the question of God.  I want to experience Him in a sensory way, but I know there is something internal, in my soul, that needs to be released to ever begin to comprehend Him.  And if I give my spirit completely, turned myself over to this Spirit of God, I will become a puddle on the floor, unable to express except through tears the magnitude of His presence.

There is a song by Casting Crowns that defines us as vapor in the wind, a drop within the ocean.  How can we possibly know the total of God?  I only ask that you take time to try.

All Scriptures are New International Version

WHO IS JESUS?

In Lesson 9 of the Life Change Series of the Book of John 7:1-52, the question is raised, Who is Jesus? Despite the earlier signs and miracles performed by Jesus, there continued to be division and doubt as to Jesus being the Messiah. John states that even the brothers of Jesus did not believe in him (John 7:5). Jesus’ brothers advised him to show himself to the world; (John 7:4) No one who wants to be a  become public figure acts in secret. Jesus responded, (John 7:10) However after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. Jesus stated earlier (John 7:6)My time is not yet here, for you any time will do Jesus statements and his subsequent actions were in accordance with the will of God, not the will of the Jewish people, and not the will of his brothers.   

One of miracles contested by the Jewish leaders was Jesus’ curing of the lame man on the Sabbath. Jesus responded in (John 7:21-24) that Jewish leaders circumcise on the Sabbath. He concluded in V.24 Stop judging by mere appearance, but instead judge correctly. Jesus asked them to look truthfully at his good and righteous act and not judge harshly because of their anger at him.

Who is Jesus? He is the son of God, teaching the word of God and doing the will of God, following what God wants him to do, in His plan and timing. .Jesus act of healing the lame man on th Sabbath was also the will of God allowable beacuse of its worth and merit to restore healing to a broken man.

References:

NIV Study Bible, Zondervan

Life Change Series, the Book of John,  NavPress

Jesus a man of Integrity

Matthew 22:15-22

In an attempt to trap Jesus there was an alliance formed between the Pharisees who were strong Nationalists, supporting a Jewish nation and the Herodians, Jews supporting the Roman rule of the Herods. They visited Jesus and posed the question in verse 17 “Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? ” As you can quickly recognize, this is a loaded question because, if Jesus says “yes” the Pharisees will regard him as a supporter of Rome, and untrue to the Jewish Nation. If he says “no”, the Herodians will regard him as a traitor and have him executed. (NIV footnote 22:15-17)

Jesus turns this attempts to trap him, into a moment to teach the Pharisees and the Herodians by taking the high ground. He doesn’t advocate ignoring one or the other and gives a “yes and yes” answer in verse 21 and says ….. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s.” In short, he reminds them that there are two kingdoms. There was the kingdom of Caesar with earthly rules, where all needed to give as required, or face the consequences. Likewise, there is the Kingdom of God that is often ignored, and has its’ consequences for ignoring.  One of the reasons I feel we often ignore the kingdom of God is because, we don’t understand the consequences of ignoring the kingdom of God.  In many cases there is no immediate consequence. By avoiding immediate consequences we feel there are no consequences at all, but eventually the consequences catch up with us. However, we must all admit that as soon as the consequence of ignoring Caesar or God hits, and trouble visits out door, we run back immediately to the kingdom of God for help.

Jesus reminds both groups that as Caesar had a standard, God has a standard. In this text, both groups of men were Jews who were there very knowledgeable of the Scriptures, noting that only the Old Testament existed at that time. They were very familiar with and understood Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Does it sound familiar to you? Of course it does because it is the foundation for Jesus’ statement “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after these things, and your heavenly Father knows you need them. But, seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “  Matthew 6:31-33. In other words for Christians, seeking God is the standard to all life. Seek the higher ground. Seek the “Jesus Way” first as Jesus was the representative of his Father in heaven.

The strange thing about this text is that in attempting to trap Jesus, the Pharisees and Herodians had to be complimentary. “They had to admit, however unwillingly, that Jesus was candid, faithful in speaking God’s truth, fearless before any man, whether a mob or king. “ (TIB Vol 7, pg 517-18). In Matthew 22:16, The King James Version states “… Master, we know that though art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men”. In the same verse, The Revised Standard Version says “….’Teacher we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men. ‘…. However, I like the way the New International Version shows it in saying “….Teacher, they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance to the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are….” Here, the key is “a man of integrity”.

In this passage, the English word integrity is translated from the Greek word alethes. The Greek word alethes, when it translates to the English word integrity, has five attributes or descriptions and they are True, Genuine, Reliable, Trustworthy and Valid.  A highlight of these attributes in Jesus, gives us examples of how we as Christians can strive to be “Jesus Like”.

  1. True – Jesus was true. There is nothing false about Jesus. In John 1:6-9, The Apostle John wrote about, Jesus to distinguish Jesus from John the Baptist. The Apostle said There is a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The TRUE light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. “ Who is the TRUE (non false) light? Of course it is Jesus.
  1. Genuine or Actual – Jesus is true with nothing false about him as he was the ACTUAL Son of God. John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Who was the Genuine/Actual Son of God? Of Course, Jesus.
  1. Reliable – Jesus can be trusted because he is not only God’s Son but God’s agent. Jesus is reliable because his source is reliable. In John 8:26 Jesus said, “I Have much to say about judgment of you. But he who sent me is RELIABLE, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” Who had reliable information because he had a reliable source? Of course, Jesus.
  1. Trustworthy Able to be trusted to do or provide what is needed. Who can you depend on in a time of need or a time of joy? Who is there whenever you call on his name? Of course, Jesus. Have you ever depended on Jesus and He let you down? No!
  1. Valid – Valid is the quality of being officially acceptable. Jesus is officially accepted as God because He is God. John 1:1 says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John the apostle opens his gospel with a clarification of who Jesus is. Jesus is the official, factual son of God. John said it, the Bible consistently proves it and I believe it.

Referring to Jesus as a man of integrity was meant to be a trap. But, He is a True, Genuine, Reliable, Trustworthy and Valid Jesus. With the attributes of True, Genuine, Reliable, Trustworthy and Valid, we can only reach one conclusion. Jesus on Earth, was definitely a man of integrity. The Pharisees and Herodians, in their attempts to be tricky, were more correct that they ever knew. Jesus was and had to be an earthy “man of intergrity” because, He is in fact the God of integrity. Psalm 118:29 says Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; and his love endures forever.” The God of integrity is the source of honesty, the source of morality, the source of righteousness, the source of truthfulness and the source of sincerity. Jesus, the son of God was honest, moral, righteous, trustworthy and sincere. He was not only full of integrity, He is the God of integrity. He is the only one that Father God accepted as a “purification for our sins” (Hebrews 1:3). He is the Jesus, crucified, died, buried and arose from the dead. Jesus was a man of integrity because he is the God of integrity.

1. Edward W. Goodrick and John R Kohlenberger III, The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance, Zondervan, 1993                                                                                          2.The NIV Study Bible, The Zonvervan Corporation, 1995

Testimony – John 1:6–8, 19-51

Are you being a good witness for God?  Are you providing a good and accurate account of God’s Grace and Mercy?  Looking at the scripture, John 1: 6 – 8; 19 – 51; the focus is on John the Baptist, as he testifies and witnesses of the coming of The Messiah.  In verses 6 – 8; he states; “There was a man sent by God whose name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.  He himself was not the light.  He came only as a witness to the light.” This gives us insight into the mission of John the Baptist, concerning the coming of the Messiah.  Through his testimony and witnessing; a road map has been provided as to how to be a good witness for God and to insure that your testimony is edifying God’s Grace and Mercy.  The next time that you are reading this chapter of John; think about some things that you can input, improve, and express when you are witnessing and providing your testimony of God’s Grace and Mercy, in your life.

Bible Study Notes from The Gosple of John – Lesson One

 

Overview Summary of  Lesson One

Life Changes Series by NAVPRESS (1)

Who is John?

John describes himself only as “ the disciple whom Jesus loved.” (John 13:23 plus ft.nt., 19:26, 20:2; 21:7, 20; see also 21:24).

John was  the son of Zebedee, a Fisherman (Mark 1:19-20); his mother was Salome (Mark 15: 40, Matt. 27:56).  He was the brother of James (Matt. 4: 21-22).

He was prominent in the early church but is not mentioned by name in this Gospel—which would be natural if he wrote it, but hard to explain otherwise. (NIV pg. 2177)

The book for this study is outlined simply, to give us a tour of the book of John.  The author gives the students the time to slowly get use to the author and how he (John) writes and teaches us about the gift of eternal life Jesus offers to all who believe in Him.

The study guide has work book exercises. Some important workbook exercises for this lesson were:

Outlining JOHN – One of the important guides in understanding the Bible is to identify the author’s intent in writing the book. In this study, on page 11, the author asks the student to, as you initially read the book, make a broad outline of the book by giving a title to each chapter or themes within a chapter.  Pages 11 and 12 provide assistance with a chapter/verse guide of important sections.

Question 5 on page 12 – “What do you learn about John’s intent and purpose for writing John from 20:30-31? “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Four Gospels (page 14) – The group was given enough information to compare and contrast the gospel of John with the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke by reading “Four Gospels” on pages 14-15.

  1. Life Change Series, JOHN, The Navigators, NavPress,1987
  2. Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV), Zondervan Corporation, 2002

 

 

 

 

Study of John

The Book of John

Life Changes Series by NavPress

We discussed How To Use This Study.  You want to get the most from your study and grow in your relationship with God.  Start each lesson with Prayer and end each lesson with Prayer

Here are a few Study tips you may find helpful:

Objectives: This is what you should gain from the Study.. all found on page 5

  1. A firm foundation of understanding and a desire to continue the study
  2. To teach you how to study a Book of the Bible
  3. To provide historical background, word definitions and notes, so you only need the Bible
  4. To help you understand the message of the book
  5. To teach you to allow God’s Word to transform you into Christ’s image

Flexibility: Be of open heart, mind and spirit when you study God’s word, let Him reveal what he wants to teach you. Every-time you sit with Him he will reveal more and more of Himself.

More details on page 5 for using the Optional application, For thoughts and Discussion and For Further Study areas of the book to gain more insight into your study.

Overview and Details: Ask yourself “Why did the author (and God) write the book? What did they want to accomplish? What is the book about?

Each lesson will take you through chapters, sections and versus of the Book.

Study Aids: This Book is designed so you really only need the Bible as your reference source. Be careful where you get sources, references, commentary and concordance from, make sure that it stays focused on God’s word in the Bible.

Here are a few references: Biblos.com, Matthew Henry Commentary or Wycliffe Commentary and Strong Concordance by James Strong and the Bible Gateway www.biblegateway.com and @biblegatewayapp.

  Scripture Versions: The Bible quotations are from the NIV ( New International Version) unless otherwise noted.  Other versions used are KJV( King James Version), RSV (Revised Standard Version) and NASB (New American Standard Bible) Although there are many other Bible versions, these will give you most from your study.

 Memorizing and Meditating: We all learn differently, some by talking through it, some have to write it down and some need to read it, however you learn is fine, this is about your relationship with God.

Above anything else, start your Study with Prayer, asking God to center your spirit to focus on Him to get the most from this study. And end it with Prayer thanking Him for revealing Himself to you. Have fun and enjoy the fellowship with your group

Reference sources: Life Changes Series: John- navpress 1998, 2010.

  THE WOMAN WHO LIVED A SINFUL LIFE

Bible Study Lesson 6/25/2016 Key Scriptures: Luke 7:36-50

Supporting Scriptures: Luke 19:2-3; Romans 3:23; Is. 55:8; Rom. 6:23;

Matt. 7:1; Matt.23:2-3,13-14; Rev. 3:20; Zec.1:3; Matt. 28:19-20; John 3:16; Matt.22:37-38; John 14:23; Matt. 10:33; Prov. 3:6; Hebrews 8:12

  1. THE TITLE:

Many times in scripture the main character is named, such as Zacchaeus, a man of short stature who climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus. (Luke 19:2-3). Other times, as in this lesson, no name is given. While pondering the reason why, consider this: any name would be appropriate; male or female. Romans 3:23 tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

  1. HER CHARACTER:

“She was a notorious sinner, possibly a prostitute or adulteress. Rather than trying to defend what was indefensible in her life, she admitted her sin and made a spectacle of herself in a passionate display of love and gratitude.”  WOB, pg. 171.

In our humanness, we often attempt to categorize sin. For many a “LITTLE SIN” like lying is insignificant, while a “BIG SIN” such as murder is unforgiveable. In opposition to our thinking, let us look at Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”, declares the Lord. We know that God hates all sin, for He tells us “the wages of sin is death…”. (Romans 6:23) Therefore, as we look at the character of the lady in this lesson; ourselves; and the many others in which we come in contact, let us remember “Do not judge, or you too will be judged”. (Matt. 7:1)

  1. HER SORROW:

“That she had offended God so grievously”. (biblegateway.com)

  1. HER JOY:

“That Jesus forgave her sins and commended her great faith and love.” (biblegateway.com)

  1. THE INVITATION:

One of the Pharisees named Simon invited Jesus into his home for dinner and Jesus went and reclined at the table. (Luke 7:36) Based on scripture, we know that the Pharisees were experts in the law. They believed in God, but not that Jesus was the Messiah. Repeatedly, they attempted to entice Jesus into saying something they could use to bring about his arrest, imprisonment and crucifixion. In regard to the Pharisees, Jesus stated “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach”. (Matt. 23:2-3). Repeatedly, he referred to them as “hypocrites”. (Matt. 23:13-14)

Initially, we don’t know why Simon extended the invitation or why Jesus accepted; we simply know that it was done. Here is something we do know in full detail, Jesus has extended an open invitation to all of us. He says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me”. (Rev. 3:20) We can rejoice in the knowledge that God’s invitation remains open even when we err and fall into sin, if we will sincerely repent (as the woman in this lesson). Let us remember the words of the Lord in Zechariah 1:3, “Return to me”, declares the Lord Almighty, “and I will return to you”.

  1. SHARING THE GOSPEL:

A woman in town who lived a sinful life heard that Jesus was dining at Simon’s house, so she arrived uninvited with an alabaster jar filled with perfume. (Luke 7:37)

Apparently, the woman had already heard Jesus speak or at least had heard about Him. She had seen or heard of His many miracles, healings and teachings. After hearing, she responded by seeking Him out and going to where He was. Obviously, she desired to connect with Him, learn more and pay homage to Him since she brought along a gift- love offering.

As children of God, it is our responsibility to spread the good news telling others about Jesus. He commands us to “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20)

Like the woman in our lesson, after hearing about Jesus our desire should be to make that connection with Him. We can rest assured that “God desires a continuing love relationship with us that is real and personal”. (Experiencing God; Henry and Richard Blackaby; pg. 52 2007).  In Matthew 22:37-38, Jesus says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment.”  While requiring our love, remember that God first demonstrated His love for us in that “…..He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16)  How appropriate is that age-old childhood song: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so”.

  1. WE SHOULD DEMONSTRATE OUR LOVE FOR JESUS OPENLY!

After entering Simon’s home, the woman stood behind Jesus at His feet weeping; wet His feet with her tears; wiped them with her hair; kissed them and poured perfume on them. (Luke7:38). Her love for Jesus was shown through her humility (the washing of His feet); tears (outward display of love and devotion); and unselfish giving (the alabaster jar filled with  perfume). Scripture doesn’t indicate that she ever spoke a word, but her love and devotion was evident.

As believers, we should demonstrate our love for Jesus openly by living righteously and loving others as He commands. He tells us in John 14:23 “anyone who loves me will obey my teaching”.  He further states in Matthew 10:33, that, if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before His Father.

  1. HATERS WILL HATE

When Simon saw what the woman was doing, his mind went straight to the negative. He thought to himself, “If Jesus is a prophet he would know that the woman touching him is a sinner”. (Luke 7:39)  Now Simon reveals his true character and doubt of who Jesus is. How quickly he was ready to judge, placing himself above the woman, as though he was not also a sinner. Additionally, he seemingly places himself above Jesus, believing that he knows more because he recognizes the woman as a sinner while Jesus does not.

  1. IGNORE STUMBLING BLOCKS

Jesus knew Simon’s thoughts and responded by explaining a parable about two men who owed a debt, one 500 denarii and the other 50. Neither man could repay the moneylender, so he forgave both debts.  Jesus then asked the question, which of the debtors would love the most (be the most grateful). Simon answered the one who owed the most and Jesus replied that he was correct. (Luke 7:43-44)

The parable was meant to teach a lesson. Both Simon and the woman owed a debt that could never repay. Consider this summarization from Bible Gateway: “Though Simon’s sin was less obvious, it was the more dangerous. He was like a man who was following a map he was certain would lead to heaven—but when heaven came down and walked into his house, he didn’t even know it. The woman on the other hand, realized just how lost she had been. Forgiven much, she loved much. She found heaven at the feet of Jesus.”

Jesus went on to point out all the expected amenities Simon had failed to offer as a proper host, such as water to clean His feet; a welcoming kiss; or oil for His head. The woman, however, had done all these acts of love by washing His feet, kissing them and anointing them with oil. (Luke 7:44-46)

In our daily lives, there will be stumbling blocks. There will people who question our commitment to God; criticize our actions; intentionally place obstacles in our way, and even slander our name and more. Remember that God is omniscience, omnipresent and omnipotent.  Trust completely in Him, stand firmly on His promises and “in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths”. (Prov.3:6)

  1. JESUS RESPONDS TO OUR FAITH

Jesus supports the woman and says to Simon, “Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown”. (Luke7:47). He also says directly to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven”. (Luke 7:48)

We know that the woman was not saved because of her actions or the expensive perfume, for it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us”. (Titus 3:5) Jesus makes it perfectly clear in Luke7:50 when he says to The Woman Who Has Lived A Sinful Life, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace”.

  1. STANDING ON THE WORD

God has promised, “For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more”. (Hebrews 8:12)  “This story isn’t included in scripture just so we can see the forgiveness given to one sinful woman, it is included so that we can know that no matter how sinful, how broken, how entrenched in error we might be, forgiveness is available if only we seek it in faith—he’s promised.”  biblegateway.com/devotionals/women of the bible/2014/09/29.

Bibliography:

Holy Bible, New International Version, (NIV) Study Bible, Copyright 1985, Zondervan Corporation

Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Copyright 1999,2002 by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda; Zondervan

Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing the Will of God, Henry and Richard Blackaby, Claude King; Copyright 2007, Reprinted 2015

biblegateway.com/devotionals/women-of-the-bible/2014/09/29