Invading the House of Religion: When Sinners Honor Christ & Pharisees Esteem Him Not

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters seven and eight of this New Testament book. THE ROMAN CENTURION AND HIS SERVANT! [AND THEY THAT WERE SENT, RETURNING TO THE HOUSE, FOUND THE SERVANT WHOLE THAT HAD BEEN SICK]. A WIDOW AND THE DEATH OF HER ONLY SON! [AND HE THAT WAS DEAD SAT UP, AND BEGAN TO SPEAK]. THE QUESTIONING OF JOHN AND THE WORKS OF JESUS! [AND IN THAT SAME HOUR HE CURED MANY OF THEIR INFIRMITIES AND PLAUGES, AND OF EVIL SPIRITS; AND UNTO MANY THAT WERE BLIND HE GAVE SIGHT]. [GO YOUR WAY, AND TELL JOHN WHAT THINGS YE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD; HOW THAT THE BLIND SEE, THE LAME WALK, THE LEPERS ARE CLEANSED, THE DEAF HEAR, THE DEAD ARE RAISED, TO THE POOR THE GOSPEL IS PREACHED]. [AND BLESSED IS HE, WHOSOEVER SHALL NOT BE OFFENDED IN ME]. THE WITNESS AND GREATNESS OF JOHN THE BAPTIST! [HE THAT IS LEAST IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS GREATER THAN HE]. [AND ALL THE PEOPLE THAT HEARD HIM, AND THE PUBLICANS JUSTIFIED GOD, BEING BAPTIZED WITH THE BAPTISM OF JOHN]. [BUT THE PHARISEES AND LAWERS REJECTED THE COUNSEL OF GOD AGAINST THEMSELVES, BEING NOT BAPTIZED OF HIM]. THE SON OF MAN IS COME EATING AND DRINKING; AND YE SAY, BEHOLD A GLUTTONOUS MAN, AND A WINEBIBBER, A FRIEND OF PUBLICANS AND SINNERS! [WISDOM IS JUSTIFIED OF ALL HER CHILDREN]. WHEN THE FRIEND OF PUBLICANS AND SINNERS EATS IN THE HOUSE OF A PHARISEE! WHEN THE FRIEND OF SINNERS AND PUBLICANS EATS IN THE HOUSE OF RELIGION! A WOMAN IN THE CITY, WHICH WAS A SINNER, WHEN SHE KNEW THAT JESUS SAT AT MEAT IN THE PHARISEE’S HOUSE, BROUGHT AN ALABASTER BOX OF OINTMENT, AND STOOD AT HIS FEET BEHIND HIM WEEPING, AND BEGAN TO WASH HIS FEET WITH TEARS, AND DID WIPE THEM WITH THE HAIRS OF HER HEAD, AND KISSED HIS FEET, AND ANOINTED THEM WITH THE OINTMENT. [NOW WHEN THE PHARISEE WHICH HAD BIDDEN HIM SAW IT, HE SPAKE WITHIN HIMSELF, SAYING, THIS MAN, IF HE WERE A RPOPHET, WOULD HAVE KNOWN WHO AND WHAT MANNER OF WOMAN THIS IS THAT TOUCHETH HIM; FOR SHE IS A SINNER].

            WHEN THE FRIEND OF SINNERS ENTERS THE HOUSE OF RELIGION! WHEN THE FRIEND OF PUBLICANS ENTERS THE HOUSE OF RELIGION! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find a tremendous amount of language contained therein which describe some incredible moments within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. Perhaps the one event that sticks out to me the most is that which is found in the seventh chapter beginning with the thirty-sixth verse. IF and as you begin reading this verse you will find a narrative that is presented elsewhere in other gospels, and one that must be carefully understood, and one which must be taken to heart within the lives of each and every saint of the living God. What’s more, is that the narrative that is found in this passage of Scripture is of such a caliber and nature that there are countless churches and houses of worship which would benefit from reading and studying the words contained therein. In all reality, as you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find a tremendous narrative—not only of judgment, but I would also argue there is a powerful sense of cynicism that is presented before us within this passage. It is within these verses we encounter and come face to face with Jesus being invited into the house of one of the Pharisees during those days. WHEN RELIGION INVITES JESUS INTO ITS HOUSE! WHEN A PHARISEE INVITES JESUS INTO HIS HOUSE! If there is one thing that makes this narrative so incredibly captivating it’s what you find in the previous verses concerning the words Jesus spoke of John the Baptist. Upon reading the words in the previous set of verses concerning John the Baptist you will find Jesus declaring of him that he came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and yet they said, how He hath a devil. What’s more, is that concerning the Son of man Jesus would declare how they spoke of Him saying He came eating and drinking, and how they said He was a gluttonous man, and winebibber. Not only this, but you will find within this passage Jesus going on to describe how those during that day and generation declared of Him that He was a friend of publicans and sinners.

            I am absolutely and completely convinced that in order to truly understand the words which are found in this narrative concerning Jesus being invited into the house of religion, it is absolutely necessary that we think about and consider how during and throughout His public life and ministry Jesus would not only teach in the synagogues, and would not only teach in the Temple, but Jesus also wasn’t afraid to enter into the homes of certain of those which were present during those days. As you read the four gospel narratives you will find that there were several occasions when Jesus would enter into the homes of certain of those He would encounter during those days and within that generation. You cannot read the gospel narratives and not encounter and not come face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that Jesus was not afraid to enter into the homes of individuals during those days and within that generation. Jesus was never one who expected others to come unto Him in order to experience fellowship with Him, nor even to hear Him teach and speak concerning the kingdom of God. There were several times when Jesus the Son of God would enter into the homes of others—perhaps even if those during that generation would mock and accuse Him for doing so. The more you read and study the narrative surrounding Jesus’ life and ministry the more you will find Jesus being willing to do more than simply teach on mountainsides, and teach from ships, and teach in synagogues, and teach in the Temple, for you will find Jesus being willing to enter into the homes of various individuals He encountered throughout His time in the flesh here upon the earth. What I absolutely love is that Jesus wasn’t afraid, nor was He ashamed to enter into the homes of certain individuals—regardless of whether that home was the home of a Pharisee and the house of religion, or whether that home was the home of a sinner or publican. You cannot read the gospel narratives without coming face to face with the awesome and wonderful reality that Jesus was more than willing and able to enter into the homes and houses of individuals, and was not only willing to bring fellowship into those homes, but how He was also willing to bring healing and wholeness into those homes.

            The more I read and the more I consider the four gospel narratives the more I can’t help but be brought face to face with the absolutely incredible and powerful reality that Jesus was ready, willing and able to make the journey unto the homes of those He would encounter along the way, and would do so regardless of what those during that generation would think about such an action. Jesus was willing to enter into the homes of those whom He encountered during those days, and while He would not enter into the homes of absolutely everyone He encountered during those days, He would enter into the homes of enough individuals to paint a powerful picture concerning Jesus’ willingness to move beyond the synagogues and the Temple, and actually enter into the homes of those whom He encountered. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that Jesus was never confined to the four walls of the synagogues, nor was He ever confined to the court of the Temple, and was more than willing to live His life beyond borders, beyond boundaries and beyond walls. Jesus was not one who ever had a box in which He operated in, and was one who always lived outside the box. In fact, it was Jesus’ willingness to live outside of the box, the borders and boundaries of that generation—particularly and especially the borders, the boundaries and the boxes which the scribes, the Pharisees, the chief priests, and the elders of Israel lived in and imposed on others. Jesus was never afraid to live His life beyond and outside the box which others sought to put Him in, and He was willing to live His life beyond the borders and boundaries of Judaea and Galilee, for within the gospels we find Him entering into Tyre and Sidon, and even entering into Samaria—Samaria which was considered to be a social stigma during those days, and that which Jews avoided at all costs.

            I sit here today and can’t help but be absolutely and completely overwhelmed with the awesome and tremendous reality that it was said of Jesus that He was a friend of publicans and sinners—and not only that He was a friend of publicans and sinners, but also that He was willing to eat with sinners and with publicans. Those whom society and religion would reject, despise, ignore and marginalize during those days were the ones whom Jesus would seek to invite into the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven, and invite to experience healing, wholeness, repentance and forgiveness. Even those which society and religion thought did not deserve a second chance within life Jesus was willing to extend a hand of healing and wholeness to them, as well as a hand of fellowship. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome reality, for along the same lines of Jesus being viewed as a friend of publicans and sinners, He was also one who ate and drank with sinners, and one who was willing to enter into the homes of many whom He encountered during those days. It was in the preceding verses in the seventh chapter of the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke we find Jesus describing the views and opinions of those during that generation, and how Jesus came eating and drinking—and not only came eating and drinking, but was also a friend of publicans and sinners. This is evidenced first and foremost in the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, for when writing his own gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ the apostle Matthew would describe that moment when Jesus found and called Him—and not only when Jesus found and called him, but also that moment when Jesus entered into his home with His disciples that He might experience fellowship with him. You cannot read the gospel narrative written and recorded by the apostle Matthew and not come face to face with Jesus’ willingness to not only call this tax collector to walk with and follow Him, but in the process of calling and inviting this tax collector to walk with and follow Him, Jesus was also willing to enter into His home—and not only enter into his home, but was also willing to eat and to drink, as well as to fellowship with other tax collectors, and those who were viewed and vilified as sinners in that generation. Consider if you will the following narrative which is found in the gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus as was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew concerning that moment when Jesus called him:

            “And as Jesus passed forth from thence, He saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed Him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and the disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 9:9-13).

            It is not enough to merely read and consider this particular event within the life of the apostle Matthew when Jesus called him to walk with and follow Him as it was recorded in the gospel of Matthew alone. I am absolutely and completely convinced it is necessary to read the words which John Mark and the physician Luke wrote concerning this same event, for both of these gospel authors would write concerning Jesus’ calling of Matthew, and how when passing by Jesus would call him from the receipt of custom to walk with and follow Him. With this in mind, I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel narratives which were written by John Mark and the beloved physician Luke:

            “And He went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto Him, and He taught them. And as He passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaues sitting at the receipt of customer, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him. AND IT CAME TO PASS, THAT, AS JESUS SAT AT MEAT IN HIS HOUSE, MANY PUBLICANS AND SINNERS SAT ALTO TOGETHER WITH JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES: FOR THERE WERE MANY, AND THEY FOLLOWED HIM. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto His disciples, How is that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, He saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:13-17).

            “And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:27-32).

            It is within each of these three passages we find and encounter the awesome and incredible truth concerning Jesus and the calling of Matthew, and how not only did Jesus call this tax collector to walk with and follow Him, but even after Jesus called him to walk with and follow Him, we find Matthew inviting Jesus and His disciples into his home to eat, to drink and to have fellowship with Him. I have to admit that I absolutely love how John Mark writes and records this event within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, for when Mark writes and describes it he does so writing how not only did Jesus sit in the house of Matthew a tax collector, but also how there were many publicans and sinners which sat together with Jesus and His disciples. What’s more, is Mark would also write how many publicans and sinners sat at meat together with Jesus and His disciples in the house for there were many, and they walked with and followed Him. While the four gospel narratives were written describing how Jesus entered into the home of Matthew who was a tax collector He invited to walk with and follow Him, they also describe something beyond just Jesus calling Matthew to walk with and follow Him, for they described how while Jesus was sitting down to eat and drink within the home of Matthew there were publicans and sinners who were also present within the house. Please don’t miss the awesome and incredible importance of this, for what we find within these narratives is more than simply Jesus calling a tax collector to walk with and follow Him, and more than just Jesus entering into the house and home of that tax collector, but also how Jesus was willing to sit down to meat and have fellowship with tax collectors and sinners. John Mark adds some additional commentary when writing the account of this particular event within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, for he would write how there were many publicans and sinners which sat together in the house to eat and drink with Jesus and His disciples. Not only this, but John Mark would also write how there were many publicans and sinners who not only sat together at meat with Jesus in the house, but they also walked with and followed Him. When Jesus called Matthew from the receipt of the custom—not only would He call this tax collector to walk with and follow Him, but Scripture also reveals and records how Jesus ate and drank with publicans and sinners, and how there were many publicans and sinners who also walked with and fellowshipped with Him.

            The more you read and study the gospel narratives the more you will be brought face to face with the awesome and tremendous reality that when Jesus came to the earth He came to seek and save those which were lost. The parables found in the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the physician Luke help describe this in greater detail and in an absolutely beautiful light. I realize the parables spoken by Jesus in the fifteenth chapter of this gospel written by Luke are yet to come in this series of writings, however, I am absolutely and completely convinced it is necessary for us to think about and consider them in light of the reality of Jesus not only eating and drinking with publicans and sinners, but also entertaining sinners as well. You cannot read the four gospel narratives written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome truth of Jesus entertaining sinners. What’s more, is that within the gospels you will even find Jesus exercising dominion and authority over sin within the lives of men and women, for there were times when Jesus would even speak to those who came into His presence for physical healing within their bodies, and would emphatically declare unto them that their sins were forgiven. Even further still, you will find within the four gospel narratives Jesus allowing Himself to be approached—and even worshipped—by sinners. It was this particular narrative of Jesus entering into the house of Simon the Pharisee that describes in great detail a woman who was a sinner entering into the house of a Pharisee without invitation, without advanced notice, and without any pomp and circumstance that she might humble herself before Jesus and worship Him. This particular passage found within the gospel narrative of Luke was written in each of the other gospels, and it is something we must needs pay close and careful attention to, for it speaks and reveals a wonderful and beautiful truth concerning Jesus’ interaction with sinners, and Jesus’ appreciation for that sinner who in humility would dare enter into His presence that they might bow before Him in worship. The gospels are replete with example after example of Jesus forgiving sins—and not only forgiving sins, but also allowing sinners to eat and drink with Him, and even to worship at His feet. There is not a doubt in my mind that the words we find in this particular passage of Scripture are so incredibly provocative when you take the time to consider them—almost as provocative as the narrative found in the eighth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John concerning the woman who was caught in the act of adultery.

            It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the parables which Jesus spoke concerning that which was lost—parables which the beloved physician Luke wrote and recorded in this gospel narrative. I am absolutely and completely convinced that these parables must needs be presented and considered that you might understood more fully and completely that which is found in the account of Jesus, the Pharisee and the sinner. Pause for a moment and think about that concept found within this passage, for this passage wonderfully and powerfully puts on display two individuals being found within the presence of Jesus with one of them being a sinner, and the other a Pharisee. What’s more, is that when and as you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will encounter and come face to face with the beautiful truth that there in the house of religion Jesus would praise the actions of this woman and her worship of Him, while at the same time rebuking the Pharisee and indicting him for his inaction and lack of concern for Jesus the Christ. There is within this passage of Scripture a clear and present distinction between the sinner and the Pharisee, and one that is front and center in the house of religion, and in the house of this Pharisee. Even more than this, I am absolutely convinced we must needs consider Jesus’ comparison of a publican and a Pharisee—both who entered into the Temple of the Lord to pray before and unto the one true and living God, and yet both with entirely different responses before the Lord in prayer. It is absolutely impossible for us to miss and lose sight of this wonderful truth and reality, for it helps us to fully understand and appreciate the words found in this passage of Scripture concerning the Savior, the Pharisee and the sinner. With this in mind I invite you to not only consider the parables Jesus spoke in the fifteenth chapter of the gospel narrative written by Luke, but also the parable Jesus spoke concerning the publican and the Pharisee:

            “Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And He spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when He cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying, unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke 15:1-7).

            “Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends, and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:8-10).

            “And he said, A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: but as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, and thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:11-32).

            “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14).

            We must needs pay close and careful attention to these passages of Scripture, for perhaps one of the greatest manifestations within the gospel narrative written by Luke was the demonstration of Jesus being willing to seek and save that which was lost. What’s more, is that within this gospel there is this strong underlying theme and current that flows throughout it suggesting Jesus is absolutely unafraid and unashamed to be associated with sinners and with publicans. You cannot read this gospel narrative and not encounter the awesome and wonderful reality that Jesus the Christ did in fact come to seek and to save the lost—and not only did Jesus come to seek and to save the lost, but Jesus also came eating and drinking, and entertained publicans and sinners. It was this willingness to entertain publicans and sinners that caused the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of Israel, and the Pharisees to take great offense with Jesus, and to murmur and complain against Him as a direct result of it. The more you read the four gospel narratives the more you will find the Pharisees—not only arguing, complaining, murmuring and grumbling within themselves concerning Jesus’ declaration of sins forgiven, but you will also find the Pharisees taking great offense with Jesus’ willingness to eat and drink with sinners. The four gospels are replete with example after example of Jesus being willing to eat and drink with sinners, and to allow them to enter into His presence. You cannot read the four gospel narratives written by the gospel authors and not come face to face with the wonderful and powerful truth that Jesus was more than willing to sit with and entertain publicans and sinners, and this was a reality which we see as early as His calling of Matthew (also known as Levi the son of Alphaeus). It is when Matthew was called and invited by Jesus to walk with and follow Him that we find in the very next moment Jesus entering into the house of this same tax collector and publican—one who was perhaps despised by those during those days and within that generation. Not only this, but we find within that house many publicans and many sinners coming unto Jesus as He sat at meat with His disciples. It was this sight of Jesus sitting with publicans and sinners that so angered and upset the scribes and the Pharisees and caused them to not only judge these publicans and sinners, but also Jesus Himself, and His actions and motives.

            As I sit here today thinking about and considering these truths I can’t help but feel compelled to bring you face to face with, and confront you with the powerful truths Jesus spoke concerning judgment and judging others. What’s more, is that I would also say that not only did Jesus speak of judgment and judging others, but He would also address cynicism and the false narrative we present unto others, and the false narrative we project and cast unto others. There is within the judgment and judging of the Pharisees a powerful sense of accusation and condemnation, but directly linked and connected to that judgment and judging is the undercurrent of cynicism. The more you read the narrative concerning Jesus’ interactions with the Pharisees the more you will encounter and come face to face with the narrative which these scribes and Pharisees projected—not only upon Jesus, and not only upon His disciples, but also upon publicans, and sinners, and those who would enter into the presence of Jesus. You cannot read the gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with the absolutely captivating truth that Jesus not only entertained, ate and drank with sinners, but He was also willing to confront head on the judgment, the judging, the condemnation, the accusation, the grumbling, the murmuring, and the cynicism of the scribes, the Pharisees, and the religious community of that day. In fact, I would dare say you cannot read the gospel narratives found within the New Testament and not find within it a strong and powerful current of cynicism running parallel and side by side with Jesus’ interaction with sinners. What’s more, is the gospel narratives are replete with example after example of the scribes, the Pharisees, the chief priests and the elders projecting their opinions, projecting their narrative, and projecting their judgment and accusation against many whom Jesus associated with—and not only against those whom Jesus associated with, but also against Jesus Himself. It’s important to note that their judgment, their accusation, their condemnation, and their cynicism wasn’t merely directed toward those whom Jesus interacted with, but was also directed toward and against Jesus Himself as they projected their narrative concerning and about Him on Him, as well as their apparent expertise and knowledge of His motives and intentions. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found within the Scripture concerning judgment and judging others—and not only judging others, but also the cynicism that can be found within our own hearts and minds:

            “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).

            “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:37-38).

            “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despises thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart trasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immorality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God…” (Romans 2:1-11).

            “Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will, and approves the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preaches a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, doth thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:17-29).

            “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: but if have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy: and mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (James 2:1-13).

            I am absolutely and completely convinced we must recognize and understand these passages of Scripture concerning judgment, concerning judging others, concerning accusation, concerning condemnation, and concerning cynicism, for all of these work together within our hearts and our minds to project our own false narrative concerning others onto them. It is absolutely impossible to separate judgment from a projection of a false narrative we impose on others, as the basis of our judgment upon others is our own belief and what we think we know about them. This is extremely critical and crucial when seeking to understand the account that is found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel written by Luke, for it is within this passage where directly on the heels of Jesus speaking of Himself as being one who was known for eating and drinking with publicans and sinners, we find a certain Pharisee inviting Jesus into his home. If you begin reading with and from the thirty-sixth verse of this passage of Scripture you will find one of the Pharisees desiring Jesus that He would eat with him. What I so love and appreciate about this parable is that as much as Jesus would enter into the home of Matthew who was a publican and tax collector, and as much as Jesus would enter into the house of Zacchaeus who was another tax collector, so also would Jesus enter into the home of a Pharisee. The four gospel narratives make it perfectly and abundantly clear that this was the only account where a Pharisee would actually invite Jesus into the place of fellowship with them—this outside of Nicodemus who would come unto Jesus by night that he might ask of Him questions, and hear and listen to Him speak. We know from the four gospel narratives how Nicodemus would be that nighttime Pharisee who would come unto Jesus that he might hear and listen to him speak, and we know that Simon was that Pharisee who actually invited Jesus into his house that he might eat with Him. Please do not miss this, for this would be the only account of any Pharisee actually inviting Jesus into their home that they might have direct fellowship with Him.

            As you read this narrative, however, you will find Jesus went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat with him, and as Jesus sat down to meat with this Pharisee there would come a woman in the city, which was a sinner, who would enter into the house. What I so love and appreciate about this particular narrative is the fact that Scripture doesn’t sugar coat who this man was, for Scripture clearly states and reveals that he was a Pharisee. What’s more, is that Scripture doesn’t sugar coat who this woman was, for she was a woman in the city, who was a sinner. There is a clear and present dichotomy and contrast between these two individuals as the one would invite Jesus into his home to eat with him, while the other would enter into the home of that Pharisee that they might come into the presence of Jesus. Perhaps the single greatest reality surrounding this passage of Scripture is that it reveals that Jesus was not only willing to sit down to meat with a Pharisee within his own home, but even though this woman who was a sinner in the city was not invited—nor perhaps would she have been able to enter into the house of this Pharisee under any other circumstance—she would enter the house of this Pharisee when she knew and heard that Jesus was present in the house. I find it absolutely fascinating to think about and consider the awesome truth that Scripture doesn’t sugar coat, nor does it diminish the identity of either of these individuals. Scripture makes it perfectly clear that this man who invited Jesus into his home was a Pharisee, and Scripture also made it clear that this woman was a sinner. If there is one thing I find so absolutely captivating and intriguing when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that although this woman was a sinner, and although this woman was a sinner in the city, and although this woman undoubtedly would have had a reputation as a sinner, she dared enter into the house of a Pharisee. This woman whom Scripture clearly paints a picture as being a sinner within the city was willing to enter the house of one who under any other circumstance and at any other time would not have been permitted to make it through the front door. What I can’t help but wonder when reading this passage is whether or not anyone made any attempt to stop this woman from entering into the home, and whether or not there was even anyone near the door who would have prevented her from entering in. Scripture is unclear how this woman came to enter into the house of Simon, and it is unclear whether or not there was any resistance to her coming into the house of this Pharisee.

            WHEN A SINNER ENTERS THE HOUSE OF A PHARISEE! WHEN A SINNER INVADES THE HOUSE OF RELIGION! WHEN SINNER INTERRUPTS DINNER BETWEEN THE SAVIOR AND A PHARISEE! The more I think about and consider this particular narrative the more I find myself wondering what made this woman a sinner. Scripture clearly indicates that this woman was a sinner within the city, as well as made it clear that this woman might very well have had a reputation within the city. Later on in this encounter between this woman and Jesus we find Simon thinking and speaking within himself stating and believing that if Jesus was truly a prophet he would have known who and what manner of woman this was that touched him, for this woman was a sinner. There is not a doubt in my mind that this woman was not only a sinner, but this woman also had a reputation within the city as being a sinner. We know within the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke that there is a strong connection and relationship between Jesus and publicans, as well as Jesus and sinners, for Luke makes it quite clear and obvious that Jesus not only ate with sinners, but also entertained sinners, and allowed them to fellowship with Him. ON this particular occasion, there was more to it than merely Jesus eating and drinking with sinners, and more than simply Jesus sitting down to meat and fellowship with sinners and publicans. On this particular occasion we find Jesus allowing a woman who was a sinner, and who was undoubtedly perceived and understood to be a sinner being able to get up close and personal with Jesus. It’s one thing for Jesus to eat and drink with sinners—it’s another thing for Jesus to actually allow one who was known to be a sinner to come up and approach Him, and to display a powerful sense of worship and humility. It’s one thing for Jesus to eat and drink with sinners, however, it is something else altogether and entirely different for Jesus to allow a sinner—one who was perceived, recognized and understood to be a sinner—to touch Him. This woman was described as being a woman in the city who was a sinner, and yet not only did she dare enter into the house of religion and a house of a Pharisee, but she also dared reach out and touch Jesus. This woman who was a sinner risked the shame, the scorn, the mocking, the accusation, the condemnation and the judgment just so she could enter into the presence of Jesus—and not only enter into the presence of Jesus, but also engage in an act of worship which the gospel authors would write and speak about. What’s more, is this woman’s act of worship would also be praised by Jesus the Christ and was emphatically declared to be one which would be spoken of in direct connection with the gospel.

            When I consider this narrative of this woman who was a sinner, and this woman who undoubtedly had a reputation of being a sinner, I can’t help but find it absolutely breathtaking the amount of courage and boldness she would have within her heart, within her spirit, within her soul to be able to enter into the home of a Pharisee—a home she would at any other time and under any other circumstance not have entered. Scripture reveals how the only reason this woman entered into the home of this Pharisee was because Jesus was present in the midst of the house and sat down to meat with the Pharisee. This woman was willing to enter into the home of one who had perhaps despised, ignored, mocked, rejected, scorned and vilified her time and time again simply because she heard that Jesus was present in the house. What’s more, is that this woman chose to display this powerful act of affection, humility and worship in the house of a Pharisee rather than doing it anywhere else. Perhaps this woman felt within her heart and spirit this was the only way she would be able to engage in this act of affection and worship before Jesus of Nazareth, and she was willing to risk the ridicule, the scorn, the glances, and perhaps even the cruelty of others just so she could draw near to Jesus and engage in this act of affection, this act of humility, and this act of worship and reverence. What’s more, is this woman who was a sinner was willing to enter into the house of religion that she might engage in worship at the feet of Jesus. This woman who not only was a sinner, but who people knew to be a sinner would enter into the house of this Pharisee that she might express her humility, that she might express her worship, that she might express her affection, and that she might express her repentance before and in the sight of this one called Jesus. This woman was not only willing to enter into the house of religion as a sinner, but she was willing to enter into the house of religion as a sinner because of who was in it. We would like to think that this woman would have been welcomed into the home of this Pharisee regardless of whether or not Jesus was present in the midst of it, however, the truth of the matter is that this simply would not be, and perhaps was not even the case. We would like to think this woman would have been able to enter into the house of this Pharisee without any accusation, condemnation, criticism and judgment, and yet the truth is that she would have undoubtedly been unwelcome in the house of this Pharisee. What’s more, is that this woman would enter into the house of the Pharisee simply and solely because Jesus was present within it. This woman risked the scorn, risked the ridicule, risked the judgment, risked the condemnation and accusation just so she could enter into the presence of Jesus and worship at His feet.

            What I find to be truly captivating when reading the words contained within this narrative is that this woman was referred to as a sinner, which not only indicates that she was known to be—and perhaps even considered to be a sinner, but she undoubtedly knew she was a sinner as well. We would be hard pressed to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and not think about and consider the fact that this woman knew herself to be a sinner, and it was in direct response to her being a sinner that she chose to enter into the house of religion that she as a sinner might express her affection, express her repentance, and express her worship in the presence of Jesus. This woman would enter into the house of religion without invitation and without any advanced notice, and I can’t help but wonder what people thought as they watched this woman enter into the house and then head straight toward Jesus. Within this passage we find Jesus revealing and speaking unto those things which Simon didn’t do having invited Him into his home, and yet this woman would do those very things which were customary during those times. What’s more, is I can’t help but wonder where Jesus actually sat when He entered into the house of the Pharisee, and whether or not He was given a place of esteem and honor in the house of religion, or whether He was given a place of lower status and stature within the house of religion. This is actually something this is quite intriguing when you think about it—particularly when you consider the words which Jesus spoke concerning the scribes and the Pharisees. Not only this, but I also find this to be incredibly captivating when you think about the words which James wrote in his epistle found in the New Testament. Although Scripture is not clear where Simon the Pharisee sat and positioned Jesus when He invited Him into his home, I would dare say that based on Jesus’ description of what he didn’t do for Him, Simon would have placed Him at a lower place within the house. It would be within and from that lower place within the house this woman who was a sinner would come into the presence of Jesus and engage in this powerful act of worship and affection. I would dare say, and I would strong propose to you that although Simon invited Jesus into his home that he might sit down to meat with Him, he would not place Jesus in a place of honor and prominence within that house. I fully realize and recognize this might seem like a shock and might not make sense when you read this passage, however, consider the following passages and consider the high probability and likelihood that Simon would have placed Jesus at a place of lower status and class within his house and at his table:

            “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, AND LOVE THE UPPERMOST ROOMS AT FEASTS, AND THE CHIEF SEATS IN THE SYNAGOGUES, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, rabbi” (Matthew 23:1-7).

            “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sist here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich  men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: but if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors” (James 2:1-9).

            It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand these particular passages of Scripture, for they help provide a powerful backdrop for the narrative we have in the gospel of Luke. The more I think about and consider this reality the more I can’t help but think and consider that this Pharisee would have indeed invited Jesus into the house, however, even though he invited Jesus into his house he would not place Jesus in a higher place than himself. When speaking of the scribes and the Pharisees Jesus declared of them they loved the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, which suggests that Simon the Pharisee would have given himself the highest place of honor in the house, and if there were other Pharisees which were present in the house, they too would have had places of honor and prestige within it. What makes this narrative all the more alluring is when you consider the fact that it comes directly on the heels of Jesus referencing His eating and drinking with sinners and publicans. Now, instead of having Jesus eating and drinking with publicans and sinners we find Him eating and drinking with a Pharisee—one of the same group of individuals referenced in the parable of the publican and the Pharisee. It’s quite intriguing to think about and consider the fact that although Jesus would have been invited into the house of religion—not only would He have undoubtedly not been seated in a place of honor, but neither did Simon do for Him what was customary for guests within the homes of men and women during those days. There is within this narrative a powerful truth concerning Simon most likely seating Jesus in a place of lower stature, rank, class and honor within the house, and Simon’s reluctance and refusal to do for Jesus that which this woman who was a sinner would do. It’s worth noting that this woman who was a sinner would do for and unto Jesus in the house of another what Simon this Pharisee should have done. This woman who was a sinner would do for Jesus that which religion itself would not do, for not only will religion esteem any honor upon Jesus, but neither will religion display any humility before Jesus. Not only will religion not elevate and exalt Jesus in a place of prominence, but neither will religion show and demonstrate worship, humility, affection, and repentance before the Lord. This Pharisee not only would not seat Jesus in a place higher than himself within the house, but Jesus would also declare unto him that which he would not, and that which he refused to do. Consider if you will the following words which Jesus spoke unto Simon in response to the thoughts which he spoke within himself:

            “And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” (Luke 7:44-47).

            This narrative concerning Simon the Pharisee and this woman who was a sinner is one that is absolutely and utterly captivating and astonishing when you take the time to think about it, for there is not a doubt in my mind that not only did Simon not honor Jesus within his own home, but neither did Simon exercise and do unto Jesus that which was customary during those days. What make this even more fascinating is when you think about the fact that we know the name of this Pharisee who allowed himself to become consumed with cynicism, judgment, criticism, condemnation and accusation, and yet we know nothing about this woman—especially and particularly here name. In certain portions of Scripture we find the narrative of a woman performing this same act at the feet of Jesus, however, in this passage of Scripture we aren’t given her name. The only thing we know about this woman was that she was a sinner, and that she was a sinner who entered into the house of religion and anointed Jesus’ feet with the ointment from her alabaster box, washed his feet with her tears, and dried and wiped his feet with the hairs of her head. This woman who was a sinner did more for and more unto Jesus than this man who was a Pharisee—and not only did she do more for Jesus than Simon the Pharisee did, but she also did it within the house of Simon the Pharisee as opposed to perhaps her own house, or in the streets, in the synagogue or in the Temple. I find it incredibly tragic and indicting of Simon the Pharisee who would invite Jesus into his house to sit down to meat with him, and yet Simon would not esteem him with deserving any place of honor within his home. Simon invited Jesus to enter into his home to sit down to meat with him, and yet there is not a doubt in my mind that he would place Jesus in a place of low stature, low honor, and low position within his house. It is important for us to realize and understand this, for I am convinced that the house of Simon clearly represents and is a powerful picture of many of our churches, and many of our houses of worship which might invite Jesus to enter into them, and might invite Jesus to sit down for fellowship in the midst of them, and yet these churches do not esteem, nor do they ascribe honor, majesty, glory, reverence and respect before and unto Jesus. Oh it is true that they might invite Jesus into their churches and into their church buildings, however, when it actually comes to ascribing unto Jesus glory and honor they place themselves in a higher place than they do Jesus the Christ.

            One question I can’t help but ask as I sit here today is if Jesus showed up in many of our churches and houses of worship would He show up in vile raiment, or would He show up in gay apparel. I would dare say that if Jesus were to show up within our houses of worship and in many of our churches today He would not show up in gay apparel or in fancy clothing, but would instead show up in vile raiment, and perhaps that which we would not recognize—much less respect. It’s important for us to realize and recognize this, for while many of our churches might boast of their invitation of Jesus into their presence, and into their buildings—the true and underlying question is how many churches would actually invite Jesus into the midst of them and esteem unto Him honor, glory, respect and reverence. IN the case of Simon the Pharisee we find him inviting Jesus into his home to eat and dine with Him, and yet it was a sinner who entered into that house uninvited and perhaps even not welcomed who would revere and honor the living and eternal God, nor even Jesus His Christ. There are churches which may make the boast that Jesus is welcome in their midst, however, that does not mean that He is welcome as a Person of honor, as a person worthy of worship, as a person worthy of reverence, as a person worthy of respect. IT’s interesting and worth noting that Simon the Pharisee would invite Jesus into his home, and would sit down to meat with Jesus, and yet Scripture reveals how he gave Him no water for His feet, how he gave Him no kiss, and how his head with oil he did not anoint. What’s more, is that what Simon failed to do—perhaps even what Simon would not do—for Jesus, this woman who was a sinner would do for Jesus. WHEN JESUS GETS MORE RESPECT FROM SINNERS THAN FROM PHARISEES! WHEN JESUS GETS MORE RESPECT FROM SINNERS THAN FROM RELIGION! WHEN JESUS IS HONORED MORE BY SINNERS THAN HE IS BY RELIGION! That which we must needs recognize and realize when reading these words is that Jesus would receive more honor and more reverence and respect from this woman who was a sinner than He did from this one who was a Pharisee. Not only this, but Jesus would go on to declare that this woman’s sins which were many were forgiven unto her, for she loved much. Moreover, Jesus would turn unto this woman and declare unto her that her sins were forgiven. Not only this, but Jesus would declare unto her that her faith had saved her, and then instructed her to go in peace.

As I conclude this writing it’s worth noting that this woman dared enter into the house of religion, and dared touch Jesus with the hairs of her head—and not only the hairs of her head, but also with her heart, with her spirit, and with her soul. This woman would enter into the house of religion and would find forgiveness there in the midst of that house. This woman would enter into religion’s house and would find and experience salvation, for Jesus would declare unto her that her faith had saved her. Not only this, but this woman would also enter into religion’s house and find peace as Jesus emphatically declared and encouraged her to go in peace. PEACE, SALVATION, FORGIVENESS! This woman who was a sinner would enter into the house of religion—a house which she was not invited into—and it would be there in that house as a result of her honoring of Jesus the Christ, and as a result of her worshipping the Son of David she would find and experience peace, forgiveness, and salvation. Perhaps the one thing we need to guard ourselves against when reading the words found in this passage is cynicism, is criticism, and condemnation—that which we have the tendency to project upon others. There is a growing temptation within our hearts and our minds to want to project our false narratives on others, and as a result of projecting our false narratives on others we allow ourselves to be caught up and consumed with cynicism, criticism and condemnation. We must be willing to take an honest and hard look at ourselves and truly ask whether or not we have allowed the sins of cynicism, criticism and condemnation to creep into our hearts, and to cause us to accuse and judge others. With this being it’s worth noting that Luke referenced this woman as a sinner, and even Simon spoke of her as a sinner, which indicates that although this woman was perhaps indeed a sinner, and even though others thought they knew her and her story, she would find forgiveness and salvation—even in the midst of a false narrative that was projected onto her by Simon the Pharisee. Even though this woman was a sinner Simon undoubtedly projected a false narrative upon her and treated her as though he knew her. This takes on a whole different meaning when you find the One who truly knew this woman, this One who knew what this woman had done, and this One who knew what manner of woman this was would not only allow her to worship at His feet, but would also bestow unto her forgiveness, salvation and peace. Oh that we would read this particular narrative and not only seek to guard our hearts from and against cynicism, criticism and condemnation, but also that we would allow ourselves to reach the place where we are willing to honor and esteem Jesus as being of so great worth, and so great value that we are willing to humble and abase ourselves that He might be exalted. Even if Jesus was seated in a lower place within this house, this woman who was sinner would place herself even lower than where Jesus was that she might bestow unto Him glory and honor. Oh that we would follow the example of this woman and would humble ourselves in the sight of the living God that we might bestow unto Him glory, honor, majesty, reverence and respect.

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