What is your faith worth? Pastor Troy Murphy posed that question before unpacking the story of the sinful woman who anointed Jesus in the home of a Pharisee (Luke 7: 36-50). Here are some key points from Troy’s message on Sunday, Oct. 15:
*The sinful woman in this story recognized her need for Jesus and was willing to use an expensive bottle of perfume, which was worth a year’s wages, to anoint Jesus. How much is Jesus worth to you? The value of something is directly proportional to your need. So greater the need, the greater the value for something. If we recognize our great need for Jesus, we will understand how valuable He is.
*The woman in this passage used her tears to wipe Jesus’ feet, a sign of honor and love. When Jesus entered the house, the Pharisee who lived there didn’t bother to wash Jesus’ feet, which would have been a sign of respect. It’s interesting that the religious leaders of the day looked down on Jesus, while the sinners understood his worth.
*The woman in this story made herself vulnerable by entering the Pharisee’s home. She could have been thrown out, or even stoned. But she humbled herself before Jesus. Are you willing to be humbled for your faith? We must be willing to step into a place where we are exposed and not worry about the consequences. Our faith should be so valuable that we are willing to be humiliated or humbled. Many people believe in God but don’t want to lay their pride on the table and be humbled.
*The Pharisees didn’t like to hang out with so-called sinners. They looked down on Jesus because he did just that, hung out with those who were down-and-out in society. Is your faith worth loving sinners? We should have grace and love for sinful, broken people because God calls us to do that and because we are sinful and broken ourselves. We should love those who don’t operate in the same moral fashion as we do. We should love those who appall us by their actions. Jesus looked beyond the behavior of people and saw their hearts. When we radically love sinners, we set up the opportunity for radical transformation to occur in their lives. The gospel message says we are to love all sinners, regardless of the severity of their sins.
*When debts are forgiven, those with bigger debts are likely more grateful than those with smaller debts. When we consider the debt of our sins, we should be grateful for the price Jesus paid to pardon our debt. Is your faith based on gratitude? It’s in the midst of pain and suffering and loss that we more fully recognize the debt that was paid on our behalf.
*The sinful woman displayed her love for Jesus, she didn’t just talk about it. Your faith should be evident. It’s a reaction and shows itself out of a thankful heart. We need to do more than just know about God or learn more about him. The Pharisees were good at knowing a lot of religious information. We need to put our faith into action. If all we do is talk about Jesus, our faith is dead.
*Many people trust in God for their own outcome. They’ll trust in God as long as He comes through for them. They fit God into their agenda, rather than fitting their lives around God. Does your faith have a limit? You must be willing to pour out everything and lose it all for Him. Jesus told the sinful woman that her faith saved her. She was willing to give up something of great value (expensive perfume) for Jesus. She put her faith into action and didn’t worry about the cost. That is the kind of expression of love God wants from us.
*Our faith cannot become like punching the clock on Sunday morning. It cannot become an obligation to show up once a week to church. We can’t look at Sunday mornings as getting a little bit of God, or getting our weekly spiritual fix or boost. How does your faith reflect salvation? Our life should be lived out in worship to God every day of the week. It’s not about doing good works to earn favor with God. It’s about living joyfully and gratefully out of response for what he has done for you.