Thursday, February 21, 2013

Luke 7 - Faith and Forgiveness

LINK: Luke 7

BACKGROUND

68. A Roman officer demonstrates faith: Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10

At this point, Jesus' fame increases, and He begins to place a greater emphasis on repentance.  


This healing was significant because it was a Gentile Roman centurion (a commander of one hundred soldiers) who approached Jesus as Lord. He was a man of great faith and recognized Jesus' authority because He believed that Jesus had the power and authority to heal his servant from a distance. This story is important because it demonstrated the need for faith to enter the kingdom and that even a Gentile could enter if he had faith. This flew against conventional wisdom that said that you had to be a Jew to enter. Salvation is by faith alone. The Luke account records the sending of messengers.

69. Jesus raises a widow's son from the dead: Luke 7:11-17

Nain was 25 miles southwest of Capernaum. This miracle is unique to the gospel of Luke and emphasizes Jesus' compassion for the needs of people. The only means of support for a widow was an offspring. Without her son, she would have been destitute and had to resort to begging for food.  Many commentators believe that Luke recorded this so that the interchange between Jesus and the disciples of John the Baptist in Luke 7:18-23 would have more impact. His ability to raise her son from the dead authenticated who He was.


70. Jesus eases John's doubts: Matthew 11:1-19, Luke 7:18-35

Who was Jesus? 

News of Jesus' fame had reached Herod's palace at Machaerus in Perea where John had been imprisoned for nearly a year. The expected kingdom had not yet come. Was Jesus the promised Messiah ("coming one") from Old Testament prophecy who would set up that kingdom? John sent some of his disciples to find out. Jesus revealed that He was the fulfillment of Isaiah 35:5 and 61:1


Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
Because the LORD has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And freedom to prisoners . . .

Jesus' miracles authenticated that He was the "one who was to come"! Jesus also confirmed that John was the one prophesied in Malachi 3:1:


Behold, I am going to send My messenger, 
and he will clear the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek,
will suddenly come to His temple;
and the messenger of the covenant, 
in whom you delight,
behold, He is coming," 
says the LORD of hosts.

In spite of this, the Pharisees and lawyers still rejected God's purpose for themselves! John was an ascetic, and Jesus was a glutton. So they rejected both and Jesus condemned them. 

72. A sinful woman anoints Jesus' feet: Luke 7:36-50

This woman is often confused with Mary of Bethany (John 12:1-8) or Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2), but she was a different woman of a bad reputation. She would not have been welcome in the home of a Pharisee, but this woman might have responded to Jesus' invitation to "Come to Him" which would have just happened prior to this event (Matthew 11:28-30). 

To follow up the previous words in Luke 7:18-35, Jesus contrasted the Pharisee named Simon with the sinful woman, who received forgiveness (Luke 7:47) and salvation (Luke 7:50). A sinful woman's touch would have made a person ceremonially unclean, but Jesus taught that a person who is forgiven much loves more than a person who is forgiven little. 

Jesus' forgiveness of the woman caused the dinner guests to wonder who Jesus was since He forgave sins since no one could forgive sins but God alone (Luke 5:21). 


REFLECTION and APPLICATION

Respond in thanksgiving to God for His forgiveness of you!


"Come now, let us reason together:
Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red as crimson,
They shall be like wool."
 (Isaiah 1:18)
PRAYER

Thank You for Your forgiveness of my sins, Lord. Amen. 

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