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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#978. Jesus welcomes all (29/1/24)

This week, we continue in our Luke - Exploring Who Jesus is series. We will be reflecting on Jesus’ welcome to the sinful woman who anoints Him with oil in Luke 7. If you find these devotionals helpful, do feel free to pass them on to others. 


‘When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.  A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.  As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.’ (Luke 7:36-38) 

Lesson: Jesus celebrates over all who come to Him so can we also celebrate over all who come to Him? 


You can listen to this devotional at:


Luke, in his gospel, has an emphasis on how Jesus welcomes outsiders and the unexpected. In this chapter, we have seen him healing the servant of one of Israel’s oppressors - the Roman centurion; this is followed by His raising of the destitute widow's son. Finally, we have this account of Jesus welcoming and receiving worship from ‘A woman in that town who lived a sinful life.’  Jesus is completely aware of her condemnable history, but rather than condemn, He welcomes her and God, in His sovereignty, chooses to include her story in the Bible. 

This is a wonderful promise and challenge to all of us; do we come to Jesus, aware that we are unworthy sinners? And do we welcome all, no matter their history, to Jesus and into our church community? 

To those who are scathing of Jesus’ seemingly permissive attitude to sin and sinners, He uses this parable about two debtors to challenge and correct their attitude:

‘When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”Jesus answered him, :Simon, I have something to tell you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. "Two people owed money to a certain money-lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven." "You have judged correctly."

This account reminds us of a similar incident when Jesus uses parables to correct judgmental attitudes; later in Luke we read:

”’Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering round to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.”’(Luke 15:1-2)

 To this self-righteous and condemning attitude to sinners coming to Him, Jesus gives the three parable of The Lost Sheep (Luke 15:3-7), The lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10) and The Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32). These three parables, and this account of the woman anointing Him with oil test our attitude and correct us so as to celebrate all, no matter their background, who come to Christ; and it also releases us to come to Christ no matter our failure and shame! As He declares over all who come to Christ:

“Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep… Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin…Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son [or daughter] of mine was dead and is alive again; he [or she] was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate.“ (Luke 15:3-32)

Response

Jesus celebrates over all who come to Him so can we also celebrate over all who come to Him?  How can we show an overflowing welcome and hospitality to every kind of person who is exploring faith or who is joining our church community? 

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

This week is SIV Week so in this study, we will focus a bit more time on how we can bring our community to Jesus through Serving, Investing and inViting.


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals.


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

This week is SIV Week so in this study, we will focus a bit more time on how we can bring our community to Jesus through Serving, Investing and inViting.


What is SIV?

SIV stands for Serve, Invest, and Invite. This is our very simple strategy to help bring our community to Jesus. We believe that God has placed us in relationships and in specific locations to be 'salt and light.' We can effectively bring people to Jesus by 'Serving' them, demonstrating the love of Christ in practical ways; by 'Investing' in the people to whom we feel the Spirit is leading us; and by 'Inviting' them into our homes showing hospitality and inviting them to church events, to Alpha, and ultimately, inviting them to come to Jesus through the gospel. 


Let's spend this time sharing, thinking and praying about how God wants to work through us to help our communities to come to Jesus.

Please read Luke 7:36-50

Note: Firstly, encourage the group to use the devotionals so as to cover more aspects of this text.

  1. Why were these religious leaders so unwelcoming to this woman and how can the church fall into a similar attitude?

  2. What does this account tell us about the gospel?

  3. From this account, what can we learn about bringing our community to Jesus?

  4. Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  5. How, as individuals and as a group, will you seek to bring your community to Jesus? Pray and talk about ideas in order to make a plan.

  6. Who are you regularly praying for to come to Christ?

  7. Lets now pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV.

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