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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#980. What our attitude to others reveals (31/1/24)

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 perfume in Luke 7. If you find these devotionals helpful, do feel free to pass them on to others. 

‘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,’ Jesus said. Then he turned towards the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”’ (Luke 7:39-47)

Lesson: Our attitude to others reveals our understanding of God and the gospel. 


You can listen to this devotional at:


I remember, many years ago (and at a different church!), having parents being very concerned about a young person coming into the church community and going to the youth work. Whilst I understood their concerns about this ‘worldly’ teenager mixing with their children, I also couldn’t help being perplexed that we would feel more threatened than we were hospitable and nurturing toward a young person who needed to be welcomed, shown patience and discipled. None of us are beyond self-righteousness and forgetfulness of how God saved us in our sin and continues to be gracious in our ongoing sin. 

How we treat or think of others is a great revealer of our understanding of God’s grace. This woman has come to understand that God is one who cancels debts. However, these religious leaders condemned this ‘sinful woman’ - likely a prostitute - because they didn’t think that they were sinners. 

It’s revealing to note that although ‘he [Simon] said to himself…’ Jesus was fully aware of his condemning attitude toward this woman and toward Himself, Jesus knew his thoughts! To this attitude, Jesus confronts Simon with, ‘Simon, I have something to tell you…’ and He proceeded to tell him this parable of the two debtors. They both have a debt that cannot be paid; one man owes 500 denarii, roughly a year and a half’s wages, while the other owes only one tenth, 50 denarii, about fifty-days wages, and neither can pay. Jesus’ point is to level everyone as sinners; even those who seek to obey God by keeping His Law have an un-payable and condemnable debt to God!

We are being taught to behave like our debt-paying God. As God has been gracious to us, we are to treat others. We are to love and forgive as we have been loved and forgiven. 


Response

Our attitude to others reveals our understanding of God and the gospel. A great measure of how well we understand God and the gospel is to be mindful of how we treat others, particularly those who offend us. We may be very upset by others objectionable attitudes and lifestyles but, fundamentally, do we love and have concern for them? As those who have experienced immeasurable grace, we are being called to do as we read earlier in this gospel: 


‘“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.“‘ (Luke 6:35-36 )
 

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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