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FURTHER UP AND FURTHER IN

AS WE GROW IN HIM, WE’VE ALSO EXPERIENCED CLOSER

RELATIONSHIPS WITH ONE ANOTHER.

HOW I LOVE AND RESPECT OUR FELLOWSHIP HERE!

AND I AM EAGER, AS C. S. LEWIS PUT IT,

TO GO FURTHER UP AND FURTHER IN.

Further-Up-Further-InLISTEN TO THIS TWO MINUTE BROADCAST:

FURTHER UP AND FURTHER IN

 

FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, BEFORE WE BEGIN A SUMMER STUDY,

I WANT TO CONSIDER SOME WAYS TO GO FURTHER UP AND FURTHER IN  THE SHADOWLANDS — RIGHT HERE AND NOW

WITH THE LORD AND WITH ONE ANOTHER.

MAY IS ALMOST AS BUSY A TIME AS DECEMBER,

SO THE LESSONS WILL BE SHORTER.

             i’VE BEEN PONDERING WHAT LARRY CRABB

CALLS “RELATIONAL SIN.”

WHAT IS IT? HOW TO OVERCOME IT?

THIS CAN BRING US FURTHER UP AND FURTHER IN

WITH THE LORD AND WITH ONE ANOTHER.

Relational sin is moving towards you with my will being in mind at any cost to you. Relational Holiness is moving towards you, with your will being in mind, at any cost to me. That’s how God relates.

Larry Crabb

When I read that I felt convicted — I realized how often I am not listening deeply, forgetting completely about myself, and hearing, really hearing them. Crabb, in his book SoulTalk talks about hearing their deepest need and not their surface need. Our surface need could be any problem under the sun we’d like fixed, but our deepest need is intimacy with Christ and resting in Him. In fact, God may use our surface need to get to our deepest need. Crabb gives the example of a couple with a troubled marriage coming to him for counseling. The husband has been unfaithful and she has been unforgiving. The temptation for the counselor is to try to fix the surface problem — to get him to commit to faithfulness and to get her to forgive. But Crabb says that is just “the surface” problem. (Remind you of our idolatry study?)

iceberg

Crabb says that what he really needs to do as a counselor is to listen carefully to discover what is underneath the infidelity and the unforgiveness. To make a long story short, he finally tells the husband “What is hurting your wife more than your infidelity is your lack of passion for Christ.” And to the wife, “This tremendous pain you are experiencing is an opportunity for you to experience intimacy with Christ.”

Crabb says that all of us, as children of God with the Holy Spirit, can help each other by engaging in “soul-talk.” This takes careful listening. It also takes avoiding “relational sin.”

One night after the cruise, as the four of us from my church, The Orchard, stayed at a hotel before catching our early flight home, we decided to try our hand at “Soul-Talk.” I agreed to be the guinea pig. This is a condensed version of our conversation.

Dee: The problem I will be facing soon and which is already making me anxious is that I am going to be finished with this book on The Song of Songs, and in the past that has been a restless time.

Twila: What do you usually do when that happens?

Dee: I want so badly to be writing that I have often tried to write before the Lord has really given me something.

Vicki: And then what happens?

Dee: It either goes in the trash or a I press on and write a mediocre book.

Pregnant Silence.

Debbie: What if you didn’t try to write but just spent time with the Lord?

Dee: I know that is the answer. It is hard for me to do, for I have fears that He will never give me anything, but I even know that I must be content if He does not. For my joy, my identity, and my meaning must be found in Him, or writing has become an idol. I do know this — but it is helpful to articulate it and have you confirm it.

quote-the-purpose-of-a-man-s-heart-are-deep-waters-but-a-man-of-understanding-draws-them-out-bible-338450

They didn’t tell me anything that the deepest part of me didn’t already know, and yet they did draw those deep waters out.  My goal is to help each of us grow in understanding one another and in our listening skills so that we might help one another go further up and further in —  in our face to face relationships, and even RIGHT here on this blog. Do you think that is possible?

Sunday:

  1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
  2. How has the Lord moved closer to you at great cost to his own will?

Monday-Thursday Bible Study: Soul-Talk

3. Meditate on Proverbs 20:5

        A. To what does Solomon compare the purposes of a person’s heart? What does this mean?

        B.  What can a person of understanding do?

        C.  Whom do you know who is good at this? What makes him (or her) good at it?

Jesus was always doing it. Granted, He had the power to read minds, yet still, He provides a model in moving toward the real need of others and helping them to see it themselves. In this passage we see him invited into the home of Simon the Pharisee. Offering hospitality was significant, and Simon seems genuinely curious about Jesus, wanting to know if he is a prophet. Perhaps Simon was a skeptical seeker, like Nicodemus. Yet he thought his real need was finding out if Jesus was a prophet, because if he was, Simon wanted to be on the right team. Jesus listens to Simon and then helps him see his real need. The situation occurs when a sinful woman comes into Simon’s home to anoint Jesus.

 

sinfulwoman-anointing-jesusPrepare your heart for this passage with this:

4. Read Luke 7:36-43

       A. Describe the scene in 36-38.

       B. How was she “moving toward Jesus” at cost to herself? Why, do you think?

 

 

anointing         C. How are Simon’s motivations for hospitality revealed in verse 39?

         What does he think he has discovered about Jesus — and why?

      D.  It’s always ominous when Jesus says, “I have something to tell you.” To his credit, how does Simon 

          reply in verse 40?

      E. What is Jesus’ illustration in verses 41-42? And what is his point?

   

     Pharisees were usually silent or walked away when Jesus was getting too close to their hearts.

    But Simon answers. Again, I believe, to his credit. Because of this, Jesus continues on to point out

    Simon’s real need.

   5. In Luke 7:44-47 what does Jesus tell Simon he lacks that this woman has?

 

I remember when someone close to me saw the cover of a book of mine that I’d just done with Kathy Troccoli.

Falling in Love with Jesus workbookThough she was a faithful church-goer, she said, “Dee — that’s weird.” Tim Keller (and I so hope you can hear his sermon) said that when Jesus told Simon he should have been kissing him, anointing him, and weeping, Simon no doubt thought:

WHAT?

Yet Jesus was going to Simon’s deepest need.

6. Read Luke 7:45-50

      A. What was Simon’s deepest need and how was Jesus addressing it?

      B. Compare verse 47 to Luke 5:30-32. What similarities do you see?

      C. How does he meet the woman’s deepest need and what is the reaction of those at the table?

  7.  What problem is occupying your mind recently — and what do you think is your greatest need?

Friday: Tim Keller sermon

This sermon is not free, so it is optional — but I do think you will be so glad if you purchase it and listen to it. If you do, share your notes and comments here.  Faith in Jesus

Saturday:

8.  What is your take-a-way and why?

 

   

 

 

 

 

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131 comments

  1. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    “Crabb says that all of us, as children of God with the Holy Spirit, can help each other by engaging in “soul-talk.” This takes careful listening. It also takes avoiding “relational sin.”
     
    I have a close friend of 25 years with whom I am currently having relational tensions. I can’t go into details here, but I am sometimes close to despair over this. I have prayed and wept and searched Scripture and godly counsel through reading concerning this relationship, and nothing seems to heal the rift, to discover and heal the root problem. I need whatever advice I can get here to help me with careful listening and avoiding relational sin. 

    1. Diane, I am so sorry. I hear the pain in your words, and I am praying now for peace, wisdom, reconciliation–only by His mercy, there is hope. 

    2. Diane, I hurt with you.  Dee is right, you pray for the other and for the situation but you can only do as far as the other is willing.  I have a dear friend right now whose husband is moving toward divorce.  I want to encourage her to have hope, but if he is not willing….  I pray for you, dear one, that the Lord will allow you to pour yourself out for this relationship, trusting Him to hold you if the other is not willing to respond in kind.

    3. Relational tensions are difficult and heart-wrenching.  I look forward to absorbing some wisdom regarding this too…  blessings and peace to you, Diane.

    4. So very sorry to hear of this Diane. Friendship is a hard road at times. I will pray for your situation to ease.

    5. Diane, 25 years is a long, long friendship. I can see why this is so upsetting you. I am hoping that what we learn here about relationships, you can bring to your friend and I pray that she is willing, too, to make the effort to preserve the friendship.

  2. I love the dialogue of Dee on the cruise, the compassionate yet honest discussion–what a gift friends like this are! Love Larry Crabb too–getting beneath that tip of the iceberg to the root problem, pointing back to the healing power of the Gospel.
     
    I recently read Paul Miller’s A Loving Life and Love Walked Among Us–both so good. This reminded me much of what he says about loving as Jesus loves. In the Gospels, as Jesus encounters someone, always we hear first that He “looks on”, He sees them. He feels compassion, and then He acts. 
     
    The more I see God’s holiness, the more I see my own sin, and the more I then realize my only hope is utter dependence on Him, to teach me how to really love. I’ve been convicted lately about how “bad” I am at real, hesed love–loving when it’s hard, when the feelings aren’t returned..but I am also reminded of the hope of 2 Cor. 3:18–that as I behold Him, I am transformed!
     
    Learning how to “help one another go further up and further in”, requires patience. Learning to really listen, and to allow ourselves to enter into, feel the others’ struggle, with compassion. Real love isn’t efficient, it doesn’t jump in and try to fix. Like Jesus, real love sees, feels, and then offers truth and help. Wow–I’m excited for this lesson!

  3. ooh–really liked that short broadcast above, too! “There will always be something more, something deeper, something truer than what we have yet experienced. The more we learn, the richer and fuller and deeper our relationship with God becomes.  And still He calls to us, “Come further up, come further in!”

    1. This really stood out to me too, Lizzy…no matter how far we think we may have come in understanding and knowledge there is always more to learn and experience this side of heaven.  What came to mind is how a scriptural text can speak one thing to me at one time and then at another time something very different, or similarly lyrics to a song.  It has me pondering what new and different insights might be obtained in re-reading some books that have really made an impression on me in the past.

  4. 1. I think it is possible even on a blog to encourage and exhort one another to go further up and further in, and it excites me.  It is always what I am looking for in a Bible study.  For iron to sharpen iron, to not stay on the surface with one another.
     
    3. The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters.  Not even the man himself knows what all the waters contain.  Sometimes it is revealed when the person gets jostled real much, and the depths come spilling out all over the place.  Sometimes the Lord reveals it in His Word.  and sometimes He gives people to point it out to us, either graciously or not so much so.  The deep waters are not seen thru easily.  You either have to go fishing, or diving to plumb the depths. I think it is a gift to be able to do that for others, a gift that Dee obviously has.  But it can also be a skill learned with practice and training.
     
    6b. Love follows awareness of forgiveness, yet this woman’s love precedes it.  That has always been a mystery to me.  Is it because she expects to be forgiven?  Does she know that in her repentance and humility she won’t be shut out?  
     
    7. My greatest problem lately is controlling my appetite and food intake.  Bit my greatest need is learning to turn every urge over to Him, even if it is 120 times in one minute.  I need to learn by practice that He is more than sufficient to meet my every hunger.

  5. What stood out to you and why?
    We spent the night at the farm last night and I woke up early and was prompted to open this blog. I was so touched by what you have written, Dee and wanted to write something earlier but decided not to. I wanted to take some time to process what I have read and heard- so loved the 2 minute broadcast and struck by the very same thing that Lizzy wrote here (Lizzy, still 2 peas in a pod, eh? :-)) There will always be something more, something deeper, something truer than what we have yet experienced. The more we learn, the richer and fuller and deeper our relationship with God becomes.  And still He calls to us, “Come further up, come further in!”
    And then the dialogue! It was as if Dee knew what I am going through right now! A colleague friend of mine from another institution and I have been endeavoring to write a booklet on using bell ringers (entry slip or exit tickets) for career technical educators. We have talked about this for about 2 years now and have seriously worked on it for the last few months. We were aiming for a manuscript by this summer but it seems like there is something getting in the way of my writing. (AT this point of writing, a friend called to go for a walk so I went with her-talk about time God is giving me to do some processing!) 🙂
    There are days when I feel very secure that this is what God wants me to do; other days, I have what feels like a writer’s block and in my weakest moments could hear the enemy saying, “who do you think you are to be writing a book?” The dialogue, Dee was so poignant I feel like my heart is breaking. Would you pray for me? I have invested 2 years dreaming and working a little bit here and there on this and the thought of it not coming to fruition aches me. 
    In many ways, the Song of Songs has prepared me for such a time as this. That no matter what I am my Beloved and He is mine. I am resting in the goodness of the One who loves me and knows the best for me. It might be the shadowlands but I can still follow Him further up and further in!

      1. Dee, your prayers are very much appreciated. This is going to be a great time for me to be practicing the presence of the Holy Spirit. 🙂

    1. oh Bing–this is exciting! I am praying now for discernment, for protection against the enemy’s attempts to trip you up–praying you will hear His voice clearly and be strengthened. 

      1. Thanks, Lizzy! 🙂

    2. Bing, it is interesting to know that you are also an aspiring writer. I am trying to do some writing now as well. Long story, but I have always wanted to write a fiction book – Christian fantasy type. However, during the last number of years my writing has dried up completely. I am trying to “prime the pump” of the well again and see what comes [does anyone else even know what that pioneering term means anymore?], but I am feeling pretty shaky. I am completely out of practice and lacking in confidence.

      1. Diane, I know what you mean by “prime the pump”. Let us keep each other in prayer in this regard. My colleague and I are scheduled to present on the topic this coming July. Maybe this will just be the right incentive for me to pick up the pen and get moving! I am praying for a focused time in June to be writing.

      2. Diane – what a delightfully surprising entry!  I almost missed it as I scrolled down, but am so thankful to have noted this…..I don’t recall you ever sharing anything of your desire to write before (?).  I will be thinking of you and Bing together in prayer as the Lord brings you to mind!  Have you ever considered trying your hand at the short story format?  Could that little mental “shift” perhaps help prime the pump?  And yes, I DO know what that means!  I think those of us here “of a certain age” probably all recall when that phrase was used more widely!  

    3. Bing – I am so clearly NOT an educator!  In my ignorance I had to google “bell ringers and exit slips, etc” and of course found that I knew the concept, but not the terms!  So with your entry here you drew me in and “educated” me on something I was unaware of .  🙂  That was fun!   Unfulfilled dreams and longings of the heart are so difficult…..in my own life I have even seen them become idols.  🙁   On the other hand, I have also seen God prompt me deeply to persevere by faith and sweat equity when the dreams are HIS!  I will be praying for your wisdom and peace from Him on this as the days go by….and how I LOVE your conclusion:  “…no matter what I am my Beloveds and He is mine.  I am resting in the goodness of the One who loves me and knows the best for me.  It might be the shadowlands but I can still follow Him further up and further in!”.   So grateful for your sharing here.  

  6. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    *The Christin Ditchfield clip…similar to Lizzy and Ernema, I was really touched by how there is always more…more to be absorbed, discovered, learned, perceived, etc.  The Lord is incomprehensible and unfathomable…we will never come to an end with the Lord.
    *The Larry Crabb, “SoulTalk,” quote was convicting.  How easily I can shift into a gear of per-occupation and self-focus rather than truly listening and engaging in what another is saying.   This morning’s sermon was on the Good Samaritan; much of the sermon focused on “crossing the road”…being willing to be sacrificial in my time and resources, readying myself to act, being interruptible.  SoulTalk and this morning’s sermon connect with focus…focus on the other and away from self. I look forward to studying relational sin and holiness…and gleaning what the Lord has for me this week.

    Dee, is SoulTalk a book that you would recommend for the lay person?…I’m assuming yes, but want to confirm.  

    2. How has the Lord moved closer to you at great cost to his own will?
    The Lord continually loves, guides, encourages, drives, comforts (etc.) me.  I continually fall short and go astray even on my best days, yet He always offers me mercy and forgiveness…offering His cloak of righteousness to an undeserving, unworthy daughter…me.  Amazing grace.

    1. Nanci–just smiling seeing you here, and looking forward to hearing your wise input this week!

      1. Nanci – ditto to Lizzy’s words to you!  🙂  I cannot really explain it…but whenever I see you here I feel a calmness in my soul before I even read your words!  That is such a gift of the Spirit to us all.  🙂  

  7. What stands out to you from the above and why? 

     
    Your conversation with your friends on writing…I am struggling with a few things right now in my life and wondered, just tonight, if I should be spending more time with Him. Hmmmm….
     

    How has the Lord moved closer to you at great cost to his own will?

     
    I don’t know if I understand this question Dee? I thought God would be with us no matter how costly it was; that’s His “gig,” right? Are you saying that being around us “costs” Him? He is God! He can do whatever He wants.
     
    He has been near me at my worst; when I was trying so hard to control my teenage son, lashing out at family members for various reasons, and committing sin after sin after sin. He brought me to this blog, He kisses me from time to time, and then there is my adorable grandson who reminds me that life is SO precious.

  8. What stands out to you from the above and why? Your exchange with the women after the cruise. This reminds me of the exchanges that I have with my counselor and what makes it so important for me to continue with the counseling. One of my major roadblocks is that I don’t have any close Christian friends to have deep meaningful conversations with or anyone in my life who will call me out and make me think about what I’m saying or doing except for her.

      1. It’s really where I’m at right now. Moving from my desire to build walls and protect myself (a decades old practice that I’m beginning to see is ultimately hurting me) to moving toward people and finding out what it is that I can offer them. Giving of myself and not selfishly holding back. Trusting God, not myself.

        1. Dawn, I really understand the desire to build walls and protect yourself. You have gone through great hurt. It is great that you are learning to move toward people. May God guide you on your journey.

        2. Dawn, I can relate to the walls of protection…I too have been known to build them “brick by brick” with hurts, deceptions, mistrusts, etc., building a wall that supposedly protects me from future hurts, etc., but all too often I have found that the “walls” turn into a “prison” of my own making; I lose out on those who only want to love and care, being suspicious of possible motives, those folks end up “paying the price” for what a few have done, and ultimately closing myself off to the people the Lord puts on my path for His good plan. I hear you, sister…God bless you, Dawn.

        3. Dawn, praying for you. It is often through our own pain and suffering that we can then “comfort others with the comfort that we ourselves have received”. I believe that you have much to offer in a friendship.

        4. Dawn – I was going to reply to your posting much earlier this week, but saw the marvelous encouragements that you were receiving from so many here and decided to wait…..but thoughts of you and what you have shared here keep persistently bubbling up, so I just wanted to add that I love that you have shared here as you did.  It seems to me that you and your counselor and “clicking” and you, Dawn, are doing some very deep soul work.  Along with the others here I will surely be praying that Jesus will bring another woman/women your way……to invite you into their lives in a meaningful way and journey together on your respective walks with Christ.  🙂  May it be so Lord Jesus.  

  9.    3.     A. To what does Solomon compare the purposes of a person’s heart?
     
    He compares it to deep water.
     
    What does this mean? Deep water is cold, hard to reach, and potentially with unknown creatures! It is a giant space that is wide and open.
     
            B.  What can a person of understanding do?
     
    He is able to draw out the purpose of a mans heart.
     
    C.  Whom do you know who is good at this? What makes him (or her) good at it?
     
    A friend, Julie, is good at figuring out why someone is who they are; she is a logical, methodical type of person. She tends to have a positive attitude and likes to work out problems. She is self confident. She knows what she wants and goes and gets it. 
     
     

  10. So I just copied most of this and emailed it to our community group-so so so good. 
    What stood out: Our surface need could be any problem under the sun we’d like fixed, but our deepest need is intimacy with Christ and resting in Him. In fact, God may use our surface need to get to our deepest need. ..  TRUE TRUE TRUE..I have experienced it and my husband is now. 
     
    and this: To make a long story short, he finally tells the husband “What is hurting your wife more than your infidelity is your lack of passion for Christ.” And to the wife, “This tremendous pain you are experiencing is an opportunity for you to experience intimacy with Christ.”  – This is so good!! I can’t tell why on the blog-but this is true true true!!

    1. Dee-your transparency and honesty before the Lord with Debbie, Vicki and Twila after the cruise melts me and spurred me on. 

      1. Dee-He is amazing! 

    2. Rebecca, now that I am reading your post, it stands out to me, too! (Our surface need could be any problem under the sun we’d like fixed, but our deepest need is intimacy with Christ and resting in Him) Wow – “any problem under the sun”, and I tend to have a long list problems that I’d like fixed:)) What a good question now to ask my soul when I am fretting over a problem…could this be solved, or made tolerable, or even could I experience peace and joy in the midst of it if I had more intimacy with Him?

  11.  Meditate on Proverbs 20:5 
    A. To what does Solomon compare the purposes of a person’s heart?
    deep waters
    What does this mean?
    We have the capacity for depth and understanding, but few take full advantage of the capacity, too many are satisfied with the superficial and surface.
     
    B.  What can a person of understanding do?
    A person of understanding seeks more than cursory knowledge and understanding; a person of understanding seeks depth and authenticity.  An example that comes to mind is the difference between someone saying “how are you?” with full expectation that the response will be “fine”…the question is asked as a greeting with no real desire to know how you really are, versus the person who asks “how are you?” truly seeking an answer to the question, truly caring how you are. 
      
    C.  Whom do you know who is good at this? What makes him (or her) good at it?
    This was kind of a bummer to ponder…I’m not sure I really know any person who is “good” at this.  Most everyone I know are either reserved and more likely to back off, fearful of infringing on another’s privacy or not wanting to delve into strong emotion or truth, others don’t really listen to hear, but listen to direct what should be done or how one should feel, and then there are those who are schmoozers who want to know but for self-sake and with no caring.  What a grim view… 
    BUT…there is hope…as Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”…:)
    Thanks Dee…I want to be “the change.”

  12. 3. Meditate on Proverbs 20:5
            A. To what does Solomon compare the purposes of a person’s heart? What does this mean?
    To deep waters.
    In the Philippine countryside, there are still wells in existence. I often enjoyed going to the well and dropping the bucket and pulling it up with a rope. There were some really deep wells and I remember leaning into the opening and shouting at times and my voice will echo some. Also, the deeper the well, the more difficult it was for me to see the water because of the darkness.  But I know it is there.What lurks in there? After what seemed to be forever and with shoulders aching from heaving and pulling on the rope, at last, water! The drawing out indeed takes effort but the reward is great-satisfaction and joy! Oh, that I would learn to draw others to go further up and in with the Lord!
    Then, there is the deep blue sea-wide expanse of it in the Philippines! Remember going to an island and the water was so clear-you can see the deep with teeming creatures-what beauty! Although I know the heart is deceitful, but it can also be a place of beauty when it is surrendered to Christ.
            B.  What can a person of understanding do?
    Draw out the purposes of the heart. He/she sees beyond the “surface need” and gets to the heart of the matter.
            C.  Whom do you know who is good at this? What makes him (or her) good at it? I have a young friend named Abbie and she is good at drawing me out. She knows what questions to ask, very firm but kind (Hah-Mary Poppins!) and always ends up with pointing me to Jesus. Then there is one more friend. Though she is far from me, she often knows what to say and pray for. J
     
     

    1. Bing,  I absolutely loved what you had to say about deep waters having the capacity to be clear and beautiful!  That ministered to me and brought healing to my soul.  It was a totally new thought, and I will go to bed tonight asking the Lord to do that work in me.  Thank you!

      1. I never thought of that either! A friend just can back from Belize and was describing the cool underwater geology and her scuba diving experience in detail. One thing she said was when she is underwater she is so relaxed…it is silent, and she is forced to only focus on one thing at a time so she doesn’t make a mistake. She said she feels “very comfortable and the silence is peaceful.” I would be terrified!

      2. Glad this ministered to you, Mary! It was actually a sudden prompting (quite surprised me as I wrote) when I was reminiscing about the azure blue waters of Igbon, Philippines where I worked as a community health nurse. It was awesome beautiful-I can still see it in my mind! Isn’t it exciting to imagine what wondrous work God can do in our lives if we let Him!

        1. I keep coming back to this water thing…years ago I went on a research cruise for 37 days. It was amazing. One thing I really remember is when we got far beyond the shipping lanes, into the deep waters of the East Pacific, the water was the most beautiful blue I had EVER SEEN! You know that color of the Dasani water bottle label? It was that color. I was mesmerized! I was told it’s because the clarity was so good; no pollution whatsoever from the continents. So, deep water is beautiful in color!

  13. d Luke 7:36-43
           A. Describe the scene in 36-38. 
    Jesus was at the house of the Pharisee and a woman who was a known sinner came into the house and began to wash his feet with her expensive perfume. Back in those days, the feet were very dirty from walking in sandals. This was a sign of great love and giving. She was poor.
     
           B. How was she “moving toward Jesus” at cost to herself? Why, do you think?
     
    She was leaving her life of sin; she was giving in to him and leaving her familiar ways which was scary. What’s that old saying about “…leaving the devil you know for the devil you don’t?” She had no idea how it would turn out.

  14. How has the Lord moved closer to you at great cost to his own will?

    He drew me as a child..He drew me for my whole life..This self centered, rebellious, broken girl-and I still am but I am not just dark..I am dark but lovely because of His sacrifice for me on the Cross. He, who is HOly, was thinking of me, desiring me, wooing me. It wasn’t until He took my breath away in 1988 through His love being poured out on me through my brother that I just couldn’t help but respond. That was the beginning of Our Song! :)))))) !!!!
     
    And, as the years have gone by one instance I recall-was that loooongggg desert season. He still gave me longing for Him, yet at the same time I was angry with Him for I prayed for a mentor, I prayed for Him to restore our intimacy..I wanted it easy, a simple study with a wise older woman to help me take the rock out of the stream that wasn’t there in the honeymoon time…(like I could take it out-lol.) and  nothing..I prayed my husband would be hotter for Jesus, but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen, and I prayed my boys would be protected. I went to food, to everything for satisfaction to distract me from Him for I was angry at Him and I  must have thought stonewalling Him might be a good idea-oh my…but He came to me at the expense of Himself again to rescue me from this Idol’s grip!!Tears. HE HE HE took the rock out of the stream by melting my heart-not me!! I didn’t know I had an idolatry issue! I didn’t do anything but respond after He melted me..He came running to me. He came to open my eyes through Dee’s blog, Idol Lies, and now how he is sweeping me off my feet with The Song!! I can’t describe His joy inside-even though hard trials in life don’t stop..He came soooo sweetly, slowly, yet powerfully-so different than I thought He ‘should’. 🙂 

  15. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    Dee, I wondered which way you would lead us after we finished our study on The Songs, and I did pray for God’s leading. Well, you and God always seem to “hit the nail on the head”! I so need this – we all need this! I, too, was convicted as I read:
     
    Relational sin is moving towards you with my will being in mind at any cost to you. Relational Holiness is moving towards you, with your will being in mind, at any cost to me. That’s how God relates.
     
    I had to read that a couple of times to “get” it. My first thought was my relationships with each of my children, the process of “letting go”. I’ve had to “let go” of two already who are now adults, and my daughter is almost 16. I believe that when my children were very young, I saw them as an extension of myself. As they get older and mature, they become their own person and need to learn to think and act independently. Of course, that leaves somewhat of a “hole” in my life as they don’t need me as much and spend more time with their own friends and on their own interests and pursuits. So I see with my daughter, that it would be selfish for me to try to cling to her, to “move toward her with my will being in mind”. I am to be helping her towards the goal of independence. It costs me because I feel the void in my life, but it is the right thing to do.
    Even in other relationships, I see the easy tendency to seek out a relationship, a friendship, with a self-focus instead of an other-focus. Dee, your exhortation to really listen deeply, to the deeper need below the surface need, is so important. How often am I listening but already formulating my own reply in my head? I’m more worried about what I’m going to say than really listening to them. The example of your conversation with your friends is really helpful to see how we can help each other to draw out what is really in our hearts.
     
    2. How has the Lord moved closer to you at great cost to His own will?
     
    I think I see how this question puzzled Laura; I think (for me) it’s the use of the word “will”. It makes more sense to me to say, how has He moved closer to me at great cost to Himself, because it has been his “will”, or desire, from the beginning, to restore fellowship with His children, starting with Adam and Eve, He moved quickly to begin to restore fellowship. It is His will, or desire, that all would be saved, that none should perish. But the cost was enormous – it cost the Father the life of His one and only Son. And amazing, that the Bible says that “while I was yet dead in my sins…” Christ died for me, the ungodly. Years ago at Easter in my church, they showed this short movie (can’t remember the name right now) but it was a foreign movie, and it portrayed a man and his young boy. The man worked at a bridge that went over a river. He would raise the bridge so ships could go through and then lower it because trains crossed this bridge. One day, he took his son to work with him, and the son was playing in an area down by the river and the father told him to stay there. He went up to his control station. The bridge was raised for a ship. Then, it was time to lower it because a train was coming. Suddenly he realized he didn’t see his son anymore. His son had crawled into this space and the father realized that if he lowered the bridge, it would crush and kill his son. The film shows the people on the train. There is a girl in the bathroom about to use heroin. People are laughing, young couples are ‘making-out’…in general, it portrays their ‘godlessness’. Time is running out. If he doesn’t lower the bridge, everyone on the train will die. In anguish, he lowers the bridge. So the film is meant to portray, in a way, how Christ died for the ungodly. 

  16. Meditate on Proverbs 20:5
    A. To what does Solomon compare the purposes of a person’s heart? What does this mean? To deep water. I read several translations and I see two possibilities. Some translations suggest that the wise man is drawing advice or counsel from the deep waters, meaning, perhaps, that a wise man will press into a conversation and draw out insight and counsel from others even if they are reluctant to share. Or find the stories in that person’s heart that would offer wisdom to his situation.
     
    Other translations seem to imply that a man’s heart is deep and the true purposes are deep within dark waters that are hard to see and understand. Or deep water may be a well that is hard to dig because it is deep? Either way the meaning could be that the true intent, the real “why,” does not surface easily but a man who understands life and person will draw it out in order to aid in understanding. Just as the counselor did with the married couple. But this second possibility is the wise man drawing wisdom for the other man’s situation rather than his own.
     
    B. What can a person of understanding do? Draw it out – ask questions! Also, have understanding and compassion to filter what they are hearing and hear what is really being said not only the words that are audible. 
     
    C. Whom do you know who is good at this? What makes him (or her) good at it? Dee is fabulous at this! It is why I love this blog so! I also have a very good friend who ask questions that cut to the heart. She asks good questions. Often there is no advice or counsel given, per say, only questions. Just as Dee’s friends merely asked questions…. It led Dee to draw out the truth. I wish I was able to ask questions like this. I have prayed and prayed to be that way. Is it possible to not be that way and still be helpful in drawing out truth? I tend to have a more ‘tough love truth’ tendency… ? Though many who hang out with me know my favorite question is “why.” “Why do you feel that way.” “Why was that your response.” Etc. I have often joked that I am going to write a book titled “Why. The best question to ask.” ?

  17.  
    4A. Describe the scene in 36-38.
    The scene is a supper gathering at a Pharisee’s home in which Jesus was an invited guest.  A woman of ill repute went to Jesus and washed His feet with her tears, wiped His feet dry with her hair, and doused His feet with expensive perfume.
      
    B. How was she “moving toward Jesus” at cost to herself?
    The woman completely humbled herself.  She cares none for what others might think or judge, the short or long-term consequences of “crashing” the gathering, etc.  Jesus was more important to her than all else.
    Why, do you think?
    She recognized who Jesus was and she recognized her need.

  18. 2. How has the Lord moved closer to you at great cost to his own will?
    As I read this I thought f the Garden. “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Lk 22:42) Then I thought of Paul  “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8). Jesus gave up all, His own will, to gain me. Paul gives up all, to gain Christ. When I think of hard relationships in my life, or even the every day irritations, like my side-ways comments yesterday to someone—ugh. Beneath my arguments and defense, — I am clinging to my pride, my “rights”, my own will. When I look at the Cross, all He gave up just to save me, to give me life that I could get no other way—I want to release it all. Release the ways I try to be right or gain my own righteousness—the “rubbish”—in order that I may go further up and further in to knowing Him more. 
     

    1. Lizzy, your answer gave me much needed insight into this question! I wasn’t understanding about his own “will”, but when you write of Jesus in the Garden and saying, “Now my will, but yours, be done”, I can understand now! Jesus gave up the right to have His own way, His own will, and submitted to the will of His Father.

  19.         C.  Whom do you know who is good at this? What makes him (or her) good at it?
    My husband is really good at it. He’s not always the best listener about everyday things, but when I need to share something on my heart, he fully focuses and listens well. He really is my best friend, and has been for over 30 years, so he knows me very well. He is wise, and he knows I crave truth (thankfully he’s learned over the years to be gentle with the delivery!)
     
    Women friendships have been harder for me, I related to Dawn above in many times in the past. Finally I do now have 2 that I pray with regularly who are completely like this for me. I’ve had many close friends over my life, and I have shared deeply and then wished I hadn’t when we went separate ways. But these two I now I will have for life. Our friendship is fully dependent on the Lord, and not each other—it seems like finally there is no jealousy or distrust—just a mutual desire to encourage one another to be who He created us to be. There is a willingness to be vulnerable, a desire for honesty—rooted in a hunger for growth and humility. Sorry–this feels jumbled & I’m not sure I answered,and I didn’t pre-write this but have to run do homework–oh well 😉

  20. 4. Read Luke 7:36-43   A. Describe the scene in 36-38.
    Jesus is invited to dinner by Simon, a Pharisee. Simon neglected the traditional host duties of washing His feet, giving a kiss, and anointing His head with oil. But then a “woman of the city” came with ointment, and “standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.” 

    Simon judges the woman, and Jesus saying “If this man were a prophet, He would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”

    Jesus tells Simon that to the degree we know how great our debt, and that it is forgiven, to that degree we love. This woman knew the depths of her sin, and she knew by faith His forgiveness—and this knowledge was poured out in gratitude and love for Him.

    I think I’ve spent a lot of years feeling the heavy weight of my sin, and wanting to “get better”. The problem with that (beyond the fact that I have no power to “get better”) is that I tend to stay in the heavy, guilt-ridden place of feeling like a failure—and this misses the Gospel. In my dirty broken state, I need always to run to Him and pour myself out at His feet, receive His forgiveness, so that I am restored to love Him more. This woman is a beautiful example of this. Instead of hiding in her shame and guilt—she runs to Him. And He takes the brokenness, and makes it whole, so that—we can love Him more. Instead of focusing on ourselves, we focus back to Him—and that is when we are healed. 
     

      1. I’m just now seeing this, and oh Diane, I’m so glad you answered Dee’s question to me–I am so blessed by what you’ve shared (and praying for your book-to-come because He has blessed you with such wisdom!)
        ABSOLUTELY, it is the Song that cured me of my “try harder and let-me-clean-myself-up-first-ness!” I think my hiding from Him in my shame was subtle–but I would sense it at night especially, rehashing the day, vowing to put out more verses to help me “do better”. And I know that’s a good thing to do, but it was the quiet underlying whisper that said ‘you need to do better at this…and THEN you can really experience His love…get cleaned up, and then you can get closer to Him”.
        All of Scripture whispers the Gospel, but sometimes I think the Song best tells “our” story in HIS story–if that makes sense. I see myself as the one who felt too insecure, dark, unworthy…and then I see that He pursues me, He welcomes me, He loves me while I am dark, and calls me beautiful. The Song is so personal, and so intimately weaves us in–I really think it has brought the Gospel to me in a way I never knew it before. My words are poor today and I’m off to help with homework, but I do love what you shared Diane!

    1. Lizzy, this thought is so deep.
      “This woman is a beautiful example of this. Instead of hiding in her shame and guilt—she runs to Him. And He takes the brokenness, and makes it whole, so that—we can love Him more. Instead of focusing on ourselves, we focus back to Him—and that is when we are healed.”
      Oh, what could God do with us if we completely stopped hiding our shame and guilt, stopped worrying about what others thought of us, stopped trying to control our situations and poured out ourselves at Jesus’ feet privately and publicly! Sometimes I see the time I have “wasted” in fear, and guilt, and then I remember that in Christ, nothing is wasted. He is always at work on our behalf in our lives, even though we are blind to it. 
       
      I see Dee asks you if the Song helped you in this area. I will answer her on my own behalf. Yes, it has. The Song and Hosea paint a picture between them of a Lover who loves at great cost to rescue his wandering, reluctant adulterous lover. He woos, wins and keeps on wooing, even when we fail. He is determined and never gives up until he has truly convinced us that we are loved completely and forever. Like Jacob, I have wrestled through long nights with the Lord, but come out of the desert limping and willingly leaning on my Beloved. So many times I fear that I am not worthy of love – God’s love or anyone else’s. Becoming convinced of God’s truly unfailing love for me seems like a lifelong process. But the Song has taken many layers of blindness off my eyes, enabling me to follow with greater awe, deeper love and the beginnings of irrepressible joy. He loves me. He really loves me! And because He loves me, I want to lay down my life to serve my Beloved!

      1. Diane–thanking Him for giving me this today, through you “Sometimes I see the time I have “wasted” in fear, and guilt, and then I remember that in Christ, nothing is wasted. He is always at work on our behalf in our lives, even though we are blind to it.”

        1. Diane, ditto to Lizzy’s reply to you…
          When I first read “Sometimes I see the time I have wasted in fear, and guilt,” I thought, oh yes…I can relate, how much time I have wasted in my fear and being guilt-ridden, but then continuing reading, “and then I remember that in Christ, nothing is wasted.  He is always at work on our behalf in our lives, even though we are blind to it”…the reminder, the beautiful reminder that nothing…no thing is wasted in Christ, He is always at work for good whether I see it or not.  What a heart lift…this is a “keeper”!

      2. Diane, I love your post here, telling of what The Song has done in your life – it’s contagiously beautiful! I love this: “The Song and Hosea paint a picture between them of a Lover who loves at great cost to rescue his wandering, reluctant adulterous lover. He woos, wins and keeps on wooing…”

  21. 3. Meditate on Proverbs 20:5
     
    A. To what does Solomon compare the purposes of a person’s heart? What does this mean?
     
    He compares the purposes or the “plan in the heart of a man” (NASB) to deep water. I liked Ernema’s post about drawing water from a well in the Philippines. She wrote that it was hard work, pulling on that rope, and that her shoulders ached. Perhaps this means that we can’t always readily identify what is in our hearts.  It may be a good thing that we plan to do, like wanting to volunteer in some sort of ministry or make a career decision, but we can’t quite get all of our plans or ideas into one cohesive unit so that we can form a plan of action. We need some wise counsel to help us do the hard work of “pulling up” what is in our hearts.
    Or, we may be headed in the wrong direction and have a “plan” to act foolishly. A wise person who knows us well will pick-up on the warning signs and attempt to draw-out what is going on inside of us – we may be drifting away from the Lord, or have an unwise plan to try to solve a problem in our lives that is not God’s way. 
     
    B. What can a person of understanding do?
     
    A person of understanding, and I take that to mean a person filled with the Spirit who has discernment and wisdom from God, can draw out what is in a person’s heart. Often a person in turmoil is confused and can’t figure things out on his or her own. A wise person will listen carefully to what is being said and not said, ask good questions, pray with you, and seek to point you to the Lord.
     
    C. Whom do you know who is good at this? What makes him (or her) good at it?
     
    I am thinking of an older, very mature Christian lady, Aneta. What makes her good at it is that I know that she loves me, and that I am “safe” with her. I can tell her the truth, even when it’s ugly. I can admit the sin in my heart and know that she will stay. I would say that is extremely important – to find a “safe” person. One who won’t look shocked when you tell the truth. Aneta also has such a passion for the Lord and she so desires others to have the same. Her love for the Lord drives her in every way. She can empathize with you but won’t let you get stuck in feeling sorry for yourself. I have realized that in the past, I’ve shared what is in my heart with someone only wanting them to sympathize with me and tell me what I wanted to hear.

  22. 3. Meditate on Proverbs 20:5
            A. To what does Solomon compare the purposes of a person’s heart? What does this mean?
    Deep Waters. Everyone’s heart has deep waters waiting to be drawn out. 
            B.  What can a person of understanding do?
     “A person of understanding” can draw out the deep waters in another’s heart with penetrating questions that come from what, I believe, God reveals to her..I think this is a believer who presses into God and who He is making wise. Listening is an act of faith. I think that is where it starts! A great example is Dee’s story when she went to Jan Silvious who was listening to her and God gave her the ability to see Dee’s deeper issue and so she was able to draw it out.  
     
            C.  Whom do you know who is good at this? What makes him (or her) good at it?
    Those who I have known who are good at this are immersed in God’s word-and who listen in faith. Who extend Grace freely as well! 
     
    This question has really penetrated my heart for I see how I so need to listen better and not formulate my thoughts or think I know a person’s deep waters..I need to be pressing into God while they speak.

    1. l also have to add that I think the reason a person of understanding can draw out deep waters in another is because the Gospel is melting her heart-I think maturity in the Lord is looking more like Him in sacrifice for others-..humble, confidence in God..and so she moves toward others at great cost to herself-putting her own distractions and presumptions aside and truly listening..that is the bottom line in being able to draw out others I think. I just think of how Jesus did that constantly. 

      1. Rebecca, I also was moved by the “pressing into God while they speak” phrase……and the Lord really brought our own Nila strongly to mind in this regard.  I think she does this so well, is being called to do so even now in a hard, hard place….and to pray for her in this precise way would be beautiful and needful in the coming days.  

  23. 4. Read Luke 7:36-43
    A. Describe the scene in 36-38. Jesus has gone to dinner at a Pharisee’s house and a woman in the city has come to find him. I imagine she has searched for Him or had had a recent realization about Him or her urgency would not have been as such to interrupt dinner?
     
    B. How was she “moving toward Jesus” at cost to herself? Why, do you think? This is a woman described as a sinner and she is going, uninvited, into the home of one of those who would judge and condemn her. She will be mocked, she will be scorned, she will be talked about negatively. She also may have financial repercussions from using the ointment. However, it was an exchange…her pride for humility in the assurance of forgiveness. 

  24. C. How are Simon’s motivations for hospitality revealed in verse 39? It seems as if they were testing Jesus to see if He was a prophet. They invited Him to judge Him. The text later reveals that they offered Him no courtesy…no water for His feet, no greeting kiss, no oil for His head (though I do not know if this was ‘common’ to offer your dinner guests back then?)… So they certainly haven’t invited Him over to bless Him or because they think highly of Him, it would seem. 
     
    What does he think he has discovered about Jesus – and why? He thinks he has discovered that Jesus is not a prophet because He allowed a sinner to approach, touch, and bless Him. This is an attitude of ceremonial cleanliness…but Christ was teaching heart cleanliness…the Pharisee’s were stuck in works based salvation, to stay clean is to be saved….but Christ taught and showed that the only way to become clean is forgiveness in the deepest parts of our hearts….
     
    D. It’s always ominous when Jesus says, “I have something to tell you.” To his credit, how does Simon reply in verse 40? Simon responds, “Say it, Teacher.” I would suspect an arrogant attitude in this statement were it not for the title “Teacher” which shows that perhaps Simon was willing to afford Jesus some respect and hear what He had to say…? To call someone teacher is to admit they have something to teach? 
     
    E. What is Jesus’ illustration in verses 41-42? And what is his point? His illustration is of two debtors who have their debt cancelled and their level of gratitude! the greater debt cancelled matching the greater gratitude. I think that His point was that the Pharisee’s had not been forgiven much and so were not as grateful as she who had been forgiven more…. However, if sin is all alike and we are all sinners could this mean merely that the woman was aware of her sin and had asked to be forgiven versus the Pharisee’s who had perhaps thought they had atoned for their sin appropriately through sacrifices, etc. and so felt they did not need to ask for forgiveness? Maybe Jesus’s point was more on realizing the depth of our debt rather than on how much was paid in our benefit?

  25. 4C. How are Simon’s motivations for hospitality revealed in verse 39?
    Simon was assessing and critiquing Jesus…waiting and watching.
    What does he think he has discovered about Jesus — and why?
    Simon thinks he has discovered that Jesus isn’t anything or anyone special (no one of importance, not a holy person) because Jesus allowed this sinful woman to approach and touch Him.  Simon thinks that Jesus should have known better than to allow any contact to happen and since He didn’t, how important or knowing could He really be.
     
    D.  It’s always ominous when Jesus says, “I have something to tell you.” To his credit, how does Simon reply in verse 40?
    “tell me”…i.e., explain it to me
     
     E. What is Jesus’ illustration in verses 41-42? 
    The illustration is a money lender cancelling two debts; the debts are at differing levels, one quite great and the other much less.  Jesus speaks to the immense gratitude of the debtor of the greater debt cancelled in comparison to the lesser.
    And what is his point?
    I think Jesus’ point is that through Him all sin is forgiven which includes the woman’s sin and Simon’s sin.  The woman’s actions show an incredible amount of gratitude and appreciation; she recognizes the incredible gift she has received.  While Simon’s actions fall woefully short; Simon did not even offer the most common actions of hospitality to Jesus as an invited guest.  Simon doesn’t recognize his need for forgiveness.
    The point for me…when I truly recognize and acknowledge the gift of grace provided for me, my attitude, behavior,  actions/inactions, etc. should express the immense gratitude I feel to the Lord.  All I do should be to the glory of our Lord, not as reciprocation of grace, but because of love.

  26. 3. Meditate on Proverbs 20:5
            A. To what does Solomon compare the purposes of a person’s heart? What does this mean?
    Deep waters.
    There’s far more under the surface than what is seen.  Even what we say initially to someone, is just the very beginning of all that is in the depths of our hearts.  I saw this first hand two days ago.  It’s too difficult to tell the details, but someone I met for the first time (a ‘business’ contact) asked me a question based on what she’d seen in my relationship with my son.  She began to cry when she tried to express her thoughts saying she did not have that loving relationship. It  wasn’t a moment in which I could spend one on one time talking with her or try to help draw out what lies under the surface.  I was able to share my contact info if she should want to talk.   
            B.  What can a person of understanding do?   It involves true listening.  Not just hearing while in our heads we try to formulate what we will say next.  And not glibly answering or commenting which puts the person in the position of defending their purposes, as the person who glibly commented on the title of Dee’s previous book did.  She did not try to find out why Dee chose that title and subtitle.  She blurted out her first response which (if it had been me, would have put me on the defensive).    I think of many times when I have failed to be that ‘person of understanding’ with my kids especially, by jumping to conclusions and not letting the other person really explain or describe.  Instead, I have jumped to accusation or indifference.   My son’s words after one of these times,  “But mom, you never even asked me ‘why?’ ”  still comes back to me after many years.   Which makes me cringe, but it has helped me stop and be a more sincere listener dedicated to helping someone share their purpose, pain, sorrow.   Lifelong skill to learn.  Cannot do this without God’s Spirit to guide me.

    1. Wanda – I think that what you have mentioned that haunts you still from a long ago conversation with your son highlights so much of how Jesus does show us ourselves as in a mirror in our interactions with family members.  At least in my case, I have seen many, many things that I didn’t want to believe were dwelling inside of me…..and that old control idol is strong sometimes with our kids….even when they are long since grown and flown!  But what ALSO stood out to me was the connection between that conversation and a woman you had just met noting the loving relationship between you and your son.  I realize that this may be two different sons you were talking about, but I think that you are a great example of a loving, tender, persevering mom to ALL of your children…..regardless of where they may be found in their faith walk with Christ – or lack thereof.  It helps me enormously to link arms, both in my own geographical world, AND in friendships grown in cyber soil!  As we watch one another staying the course, looking for every opportunity to engage our kids in conversations of substance…with eternity in view…..it certainly does spur me on!  I so appreciate your sharing this here.  

      1. Thank you, Jackie.    Yes, it is the same son I am talking about in both stories.   And the story goes much deeper than what I am able to post.  I have just been through an extraordinary experience of stepping out in faith and the Lord was so incredibly faithful.  The very fact that I met this woman, indirectly was because of my relationship with my son and the fact that we got to the point of doing the ‘big thing’ that I mentioned a few weeks ago.  And I know Susan said she would pray about.   It is all a HUGE testimony of HIS grace and mercy.  And you’re right, Jackie,  those words from long ago, have helped me in clutch moments, when I could react impulsively.  (I’ve failed a whole bunch but we are both learning more and more about each other along the way.)    My son and I worked together on a film project that is intended for a national audience.  I was very reluctant at first, but prayed and prayed and God SO amazingly answered.  I won’t say more now.  But the woman who I mentioned, was involved with the production.  Scariest thing I’ve ever done.  But probably one of the most faith stretching as well.   Thank you for praying, Susan……I was so hesitant as to how to describe this to friends, that I had shared the prayer request with very few people but Susan picked up on a comment I made about my absence on the blog.)  This project is part of the reason why I’ve had to step back from posting here.  I thought this might be my turnaround week, but I couldn’t catch up in time.   Soon!   I hope. 🙂  

        Tomorrow, it’s off to my youngest’s college town to load a trailer with her furniture and all her stuff and move her home for summer. Last week, we had the grand kids here; my son and wife from OK. So, I’ve been a lot busier than my usual quiet life entails.

        1. Wanda!! I prayed that the Lord would help you clear that hurdle with flying colors! It sounds like you did, even though you were afraid to “jump” at first! I can’t wait to hear more details when you are able to share!

  27.          C. How are Simon’s motivations for hospitality revealed in verse 39? 
     
    He is trying to figure out if Jesus is a prophet.
     
             What does he think he has discovered about Jesus — and why?
     
    He thinks Jesus is not a prophet because he seems to not realize just who he is entertaining at his feet. She is a sinner.
     
          D.  It’s always ominous when Jesus says, “I have something to tell you.” To his credit, how does Simon  
              reply in verse 40?
     
    Simon is willing to listen and shows this by being respectful and calling Jesus, “…teacher.”
     
          E. What is Jesus’ illustration in verses 41-42? And what is his point?
     
    Jesus tells the story of the two debtors. Both owe; one more than the other. When the debts are forgiven, he asks who appreciates it more? The Pharisee responds that the one who owes the most appreciates it more. Jesus then turns to the situation at hand and describes that the woman gave her finest possession to him, kissed his feet, and showed him love, but the Pharisee did not show love (he did have him to dinner, but it was to make a judgement on him). Jesus is saying that she was genuine and he is not. He is saying that she was thinking of others and he was thinking of himself.

  28. 5. In Luke 7:44-47 what does Jesus tell Simon he lacks that this woman has?
     
    He lacks love.
     
    6. Read Luke 7:45-50 
          A. What was Simon’s deepest need and how was Jesus addressing it? 
     
    His deepest need was faith; Jesus addresses it by using the sinning woman as an example of true faith.
     
          B. Compare verse 47 to Luke 5:30-32. What similarities do you see?
     
    Both verses speak of Him dining with sinners. Jesus says He has come to save the sinner, not the righteous. Both verses are comparing the Pharisees to the sinner.
     
          C. How does he meet the woman’s deepest need and what is the reaction of those at the table?
     
    Her deepest need is acceptance and forgiveness. He forgives her and the others are surprised. They say, “…who is this guy who forgives others?…”
     
      7.  What problem is occupying your mind recently — and what do you think is your greatest need?
     
    I would have to say self loathing is a huge issue for me these days. It enters all parts of my life, from family to work. My greatest need is probably to truly know (and soak it in) that I am loved and forgiven by Him and that is all that matters.

  29. 5. In Luke 7:44-47 what does Jesus tell Simon he lacks that this woman has?
    Simon lacks awareness–he doesn’t recognize his own sin and need for forgiveness/grace; he doesn’t recognize the futility of his own actions to pay the penalty of his sin.
     
    6A. What was Simon’s deepest need and how was Jesus addressing it?
    Simon’s greatest need was a living faith, i.e., to know that Jesus is Lord and to recognize and acknowledge his need for Jesus, his need for freedom from his sin and the penalty associated that he can never pay and can only be cancelled/paid through Jesus.
    Jesus compared the hospitality expressed by the woman and Simon’s lack in providing for the most basic hospitable actions for his invited guest, Jesus.  Jesus elaborated on this in the context of their “need,” i.e., both have need for Jesus, albeit in varying degrees, but both are in the same “camp” of need.
     
    6B. Compare verse 47 to Luke 5:30-32…what similarities do you see?
    *In both the pharisees appear blinded by pride; they view themselves as better, above others, with no problem or need related to sin.
    *Those who recognize and acknowledge their sin and need for the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness are those who will receive…humility realizes the futility of “human” efforts in paying the debt of sin and the need for the incredible gift of grace that only Jesus can provide.

  30. 3C.  Whom do you know who is good at this?  What makes him (or her) good at it?
    Entering the conversation late this week, I must admit that I have read the comments you all have been posting and as usual, they are EXCELLENT!!  I have to say that I feel blessed beyond measure over the years with those people in my life who are wise and gifted in this area of understanding and drawing God’s purposes from the depths of my heart.  Helping me to see the “chaff” in my thinking for what it is!  From my childhood my mom and my dear, dear aunt Geri (who led my mom and my dad to the Lord!) were simply amazing in this!  One of my heart friends, my college roommate Lois, remains in my life to this day and our phone conversations overflow with this depth ….and so many, many more.  
     
    Taking this question in a bit of a different direction though…..coming off my life group (small group at church) just last night, I am SO aware of how this very thing CAN happen in exceptional ways….IN COMMUNITY!!  Not ONLY one on one.  🙂  We have begun this year to habitually eat a meal together each time we meet – I cannot say enough about this practice!!  Good for the soul, for sure.  Last night we happened to be working through a session on “Working with Different Personalities in Your Small Group”…..introverts, extroverts and everything in between!  One of the points was this:  “As a small group grows in spiritual maturity and mutual respect, a supernatural connection usually sets in, causing members to allow and encourage each one to speak up and be heard.”  The very next point was this:  “When Jesus is the common denominator of a group, His Spirit can become the Facilitator.”  Many of us were tearful to realize that this is the very thing we have seen Jesus doing within us this very year!!  Even Dee’s example of conversation after the cruise was a community experience, now that I think of it!  Just something to think about……

  31. 4.  Read Luke 7:36-43
     
    Putting myself in this woman’s shoes (and I can), this is a heartwrenchingly beautiful story. In a lifetime of stories, what could possibly compare to these moments with Jesus?  I imagine her as an old, old lady (?) reflecting on her life…..and oh, how I am certain that from that day forward Jesus WAS HER LIFE!!!!!  
     
    Just an aside….years ago I remember being confused and trying to “fit” this passage into a different, but similar in some ways, story that is told in every other gospel.  See Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9 and John 12:1-8.  Matthew and Mark identify the host at this dinner as Simon, which adds to the confusion!  However, the timing and the criticism and the teaching of the two stories are different – and the woman is identified as Mary (in John), the sister of Martha and Lazarus…….good study Bibles should point this out, but I do remember being a slow learner on that one!!  🙂  

  32. 5. In Luke 7:44-47 what does Jesus tell Simon he lacks that this woman has? Love for Him. She has forgiveness…not because she loved Him but because she is aware of her forgiveness (and the awareness of that need) she loves Him much.
     
    6. Read Luke 7:45-50
    A. What was Simon’s deepest need and how was Jesus addressing it? Simon’s deepest need was for love. He had been offered control and works as a savior but now Jesus was showing him what true salvation looked like – what love looked like. To be told to “be better” your whole life or else suffer the throes of hell and then to see that you’re just loved and forgiveness is in your grasp through humbly asking….revolutionary. Shocking. Mind-blowing. Heart-melting. I can imagine Simon’s face just transfixed by this woman who does not deserve one iota of grace and yet Christ lavishes it upon her….was her face changed as she loved the Savior? As she heard His affirmation of her greatest hope, forgiven?! Isn’t love at the heart of our salvation?
     
    B. Compare verse 47 to Luke 5:30-32. What similarities do you see? So I see an implication that the Pharisees have “less sin” but this cannot be? So was it a self-image of righteousness that Christ was addressing? I dont’ imagine Jesus was sarcastic, but was He implying that only those that know they are sick will come to the physician? Those willing to humble themselves and ask…(thinking here of Manasseh and Josiah…) Or am I missing something? 
     
    C. How does he meet the woman’s deepest need and what is the reaction of those at the table? He forgives her. Is forgiveness a deeper need over love? He forgives us because He loves us? Our sins are a barrier to the love offered, we use them as an excuse that we are not lovable. When we are forgiven we are shown how much we are loved! Those at the table are shocked at who Jesus thinks He is. I cannot tell if they are in awe or disgust … Because in other interactions Pharisees were appalled that Jesus would presume to forgive sins….

  33. A.   Describe the scene in 36-38.
     
    All we see at first is that a Pharisee invited Jesus to dinner and he went!  Of course many questions arise from that simple fact, not the least of which would be Jill’s favorite “why?” question!!  WHY would this Pharisee invite Jesus to dinner?  Considering that the Pharisees were continually trying to trap Jesus, I cannot help but think that the relaxed atmosphere of a congenial dinner might seem to the Pharisee to be the perfect setting in which to do so! Then again….there were also the Nicodemus’s and the Joseph’s among the Pharisees, so that question is not initially answered.  And why did Jesus go?  Certainly much of that answer would be that he had a divine apointment with the sinful woman – much like he had a divine appointment with the woman at the well!    At any rate, right smack in the middle of an undoubtedly very proper gathering…..comes a woman – a woman of a certain reputation, uninvited, no less!  She speaks no words – she simply begins weeping and annointing Jesus’ feet with ointment…..she makes no attempt to s justify her presence…..indeed it appears that she is pretty much oblivious to anyone else but Jesus!  Wow.  Just wow.  Even I, so far removed from this culture, can picture the astonishment of all in attendance!!  This is simply not the done thing in any way, shape or fashion.  
     
    B.  How was she “moving toward Jesus” at cost to herself?  Why, do you think?
     
    This woman was completely out of order and who knows what the consequences of such an affront could be?  At the very least, she was turning the spotlight upon herself in all of her “real”.  She could not possibly be unaware of the awareness of all in attendance as to her manner of life.  I think in a very real way, this woman was moving into the story of seeing herself as “dark but lovely”…..because of how she was seeing Jesus!  Her courage shames me.  It seems to me that her courage came straight from the heart, the life of Jesus…..she saw him as he was – Messiah.  I know that the passage does not say the word “Messiah”….but she clearly saw Jesus as her only hope, the one and only.  In this life defining moment, she stepped past and through everything in her life, save Jesus.  She only had eyes for Jesus.  She was utterly broken by her sinfulness and his holiness….and her one desire was to fall at his feet and worship him.  

    1. Jackie, I love how you wove this woman’s experience into The Song, “I think in a very real way, this woman was moving into the story of seeing herself as “dark but lovely”….because of how she was seeing Jesus!” And that’s the KEY – because of how she was seeing Jesus. He is the one who changes our view of ourselves, not by us thinking about ourselves, but more about Him.

  34. C.  How are Simon’s motivations for hospitality revealed in verse 39?  What does he think he has discovered about Jesus – and why?
     
    It seems like Simon had been using this dinner as an opportunity to watch Jesus up close and personal.  Despite all of the healings and evidences of Jesus’ authority, I do think that Simon here shows himself to be squarely in the camp of those described in vs. 30: ” but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves,…..”.  In that heart frame it is impossible to “see” Jesus, though he is right before his eyes.  All Simon can “see” are reasons to reject Jesus – and the intimacy of Jesus and the sinful woman gave him his ammunition for the charge that Jesus could not be a prophet.  

  35. 5.  In Luke 7:44-47 what does Jesus tell Simon he lacks that this woman has?
     
    Jesus tells Simon that she “loves much” (and by intimation, that Simon “loves little”).  I do think it is important to note Jesus’ words to the woman in vs. 50 as well – his parting words to her are: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”   Her love for Jesus FLOWED FROM HER FAITH in Jesus…..we often think of faith as a strong, somewhat sterile word and love as a warm, peaceful word……..but the whole of the Scriptures teach us this is not so!  We love because He first loved us – and only faith can imprint his love upon our hearts.  Without FAITH we simply cannot believe He loves us….and fly in that freedom!!  
     
     

  36. 6.  Read Luke 7:45-50.
     
    A.  What was Simon’s deepest need and how was Jesus addressing it?  
     
    Simon’s greatest need was to move from his place of unbelief to believing that Jesus was Who He said He was.  Simon – like all of us – needed to be forgiven of his sins and ONLY Jesus makes that possible.  The sinful woman “got” that.  Simon did not.  
     
    I love Rosaria Butterfield and probably quote her too much here…..but I cannot help but think of how she described Ken Smith and his wife Floy and how in their time spent with her they never ever saw her “big sin” as being a lesbian….they knew that her “big sin” was UNBELIEF!!  Rosaria, like the sinful woman in our story here in Luke, “got that”!  And she also began living out of what Thomas Chalmers called “the expulsive power of a new affection.”  The love of Christ.  

    1. Jackie! I just found out this last Sunday that Rosaria is coming to my area in July….you should come! I am so hoping I can attend and listen to her!

      1. Oh wow, Jill!!! Maybe, maybe…..Lord willing…??? My husband loves Virginia Beach…..I’ll check it out!! 🙂 It would be so delightful to experience listening to Rosaria together! 🙂

    2. Jackie, that is a really powerful statement from Rosaria about how they never saw her “big sin” as being a lesbian, but rather it was unbelief. Oh, how often I look at and shake my head at the “big sins” in people’s lives; my focus is in the wrong place.

  37. 6B.  Compare verse 47 to Luke 5:30-32.  What similarities do you see?
     
    Oh, I SO love these words of Jesus in Luke 5!  How he pours out his heart of compassion in these few words.  The sinful woman has been forgiven because she saw herself, her need, clearly.  She KNEW she was “sick”.  Lost.  Simon seemed to see her as untouchable – while seeing himself as “well”….religious, with no need for the Great Physician.  How utterly sad.  The Matthew parallel to Luke 5:30-32 adds a VERY intriguing statement by Jesus:  “”Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’  For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”  (Matt 9:12 &13)    Jesus quotes from Hosea, and the mercy that he speaks of is such that one is continually reaching out to those who are “sick’.  
     
    C.  How does he meet the woman’s deepest need and what is the reaction of those at the table?
     
    Jesus forgives her!  And those at the table are flabbergasted:  “Who is this, who even forgives sins?”.  Her deepest need was for forgiveness.  Jesus met her faith in him with forgiveness, peace and himself.  
     
    7.  What problem is occupying your mind recently – and what do you think is your greatest need?
     
    I don’t even want to think too deeply about my life’s “problems”…..as they seem to be multiplying rapidly and in some ways snowballing!!  My deepest need remains this;  to take my weeping to HIs feet.  To worship Him.  To remember that, though I am sin sick, He HAS forgiven, He is forgiving and He will forgive!  I want to walk by faith through difficult seasons…..to live out of that ‘expulsive power of a new affection” every day!  I want to pour out my life at His feet and allow HIs life to pour into and out of mine.  Nothing less will do…..and yet….every day I do find myself “settling” for other things.  Forgive me, my Lord Jesus.  You are the prize of my life.  All things were created through you and for you…..in you all things hold together…..most assuredly my fragile life.  You are the great Reconciler of my life….to God, to others…..and my peace was bought with your blood at the cross….I do believe.  Help my unbelief.  Amen. 

    1. Jackie, reading this through tears. Life-giving words to soak up in these times that try our souls.

  38. 7. What problem is occupying your mind recently – and what do you think is your greatest need? I think my greatest need in my recent problems is success. I fear failure in each situation…. And this is true, success is my greatest need, but not in my initial consideration of that word. Success is not determined by outcomes measured by money or positive occurrences. True success is measure by the Father’s will and purpose and my humility to be shaped by it and perervere with the knowledge of His love and grace and sovereignty. Success is following Him come what may….He is my life (as Jackie talked about) and the rest are “just circumstances.” …part of His story for me….

  39.       B. Compare verse 47 to Luke 5:30-32. What similarities do you see?
     
    Jackie, I am so enjoying your answers to these questions. Thanks so much for pointing out the passage in Matthew 9:12,13 where Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6. “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” That verse fits perfectly here in the Luke 7:36-49 story of the sinful woman. Simon the Pharisee was doing the “sacrifice” part; he was fulfilling all the rituals of the law, but he had no mercy. Mercy in that verse is Hesed. Hesed is one of the richest, most powerful words in the Old Testament. It reflects the loyal love that people committed to the God of the Bible should have for one another. Hesed is not primarily something people “feel.”  It is something people DO for other people who have no claim on them.
     
    Hesed is what the woman is showing to Jesus and what Simon is not. He is doing his duty as a host; she is lavishing her love on Jesus. I wish I knew the story behind who this woman is and why she loved Jesus so much. Simon considered her “untouchable”; but Jesus allowed her to touch him in a very intimate [not sexual] way. She risked what little self-respect she might have left in the community by crashing a formal Pharisaical dinner to weep on Jesus’ feet, wipe her tears with her hair, kiss his feet over and over and pour extravagantly expensive perfume on his feet. I believe Jesus must have shown this woman hesed in some way, in order for her to understand who Jesus really was and then respond with such faith. Jesus does not tell us her story but does tell us she has many sins. He forgives them all and says, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

    1. Diane – what beautiful musings on “hesed”, a word with much, much import for our lives!  You have woven it skillfully into exactly what hesed might “look like” in the interactions between Jesus and the woman at Simon’s dinner.  Well done!

  40. Faith in Jesus by Tim Keller
    Luke 7
    Faith is the key to allow healing to come into out lives.
    How faith comes:
    Naturally yet disruptively
    naturally – we believe, have faith in something
    we can’t not believe in God without simultaneously believing in something else
    there is a gap between the possible and the proven – it takes faith to believe AND to not believe
    we have natural and fundamental spiritual faith, it takes the Holy Spirit to redirect it.
    disruptively – we don’t ask the big questions until something goes wrong. Satan keeps us busy.
    busy=spiritual blandness
    those big questions are hard and the only time we usually approach them is when something bad happens.
    we are built for Him – so the vague emptiness we feel when things are good becomes union orange when things are bad.
    bad things do not create this, they reveal it.
    What is faith
    a new direction, a new foundation, a new attraction
    new direction: saving faith, the kind of faith that heals us at our root.
     
    1. Faith has to be going in the right direction. The centurion has faith. The centurion knows he has power because he is close to the emperor, because of his relationship. The centurion assumed the same of Jesus, that His relationship with the Father gave Him His power….not quite right. But Christ heals anyway….why? It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that matters. It is not the perfection of your faith but the direction of your faith that matters. We tend to think of faith as emotions. We tend to say as long as you believe with all your heart it doesn’t matter what you believe.
    example: if rock climbers each believe with all their hearts the next rock to step on and step and fall….versus the man who kinda thought the other rock was the way to step, but wasn’t sure and it turned out to be solid and he did not fall.
    how much faith did the centurion need? Just enough to call on Jesus. He was turning to the rock, the rock was the object of his faith.
     
    2. A new foundation: The centurion was a virtuous man but he himself says, “I am not worthy to even be under the same roof.” So does he withdraw his proposal? The men said, he is worthy, do what he asks….t is the paradigm of God is good to those who are good. If the centurion would have withdrawn his proposal this would have been the same paradigm. But instead he switches it all, and says I am not worthy, and you are all worthy but I ask for you to bring your power into my life on some other basis than my moral virtue which is insufficient and Jesus says, “Now he is starting to get it”
    saving faith is transferring your basic fundamental life trust, from where it is, to Jesus.
    “woman of the city” translates to professional prostitute. She lets down her hair to wipe his feet! In that culture the act of letting down her hair was an act of such intimacy that the rabbis in culture ruled that if a woman let down her hair in public it was grounds for divorce. This is not only scandalous but it is something she has never before done for free… 
    An alabaster flask was tied around the woman’s neck and created so that you could smell it but not spill it. This is was a sign of incredible beauty because everyone else stunk! But for a prostitute this was the essence of her trade. The only way to pour it was to break it, the only power to be a prostitute was this desirability of smelling good …. This was what she trusted, not morality, she is saying that she will no longer trust the thing that controlled her…now He is the master, the master that liberates. 
    Saving faith is not just believing in Jesus in general, it is finding out that the central things of your life, the basics foundational life trusts and pouring them at his feet, and trusting him with them.
     
    3. new attraction
    the big contrast is between Simon and this woman.
    to invite someone into your home was to say, I want to be your supporter, I want to be on your team. Jesus came so there had to be some sincerity. Simon was thinking he might be a prophet. V44 and following – Simon thought, you want me to act disgraceful?! And Jesus is saying yes. This is the kind of faith that transforms, this is the faith that saves. 
     
    Do you have Simon faith? No letting your hair down, no weeping, no breaking alabaster flasks, no kissing….
    The story of two debtors: the benefactor bears the cost! And the debtor who is aware of that cost paid will be grateful. Simon, you invited me in, but she understands that I have come to pay the cost. Simon, you have come to me by compulsion, she has come to me by attraction. 
    Simon didn’t see Christ as pouring out His life for him because Simon didn’t think he was that bad so…. There was no letting down of the hair, no kissing, no weeping, no pouring…she is ravished!
    When you come by compulsion there is no new foundation. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks because she has a new master. She has freedom.
    how does new foundation happen? Attraction.
    this new attraction takes you into love. If you see you have been forgiven you will love much.
    …”to the degree you see me pouring my life out for you, to the degree you know I have forgiven you, you will have love for those around you…”
    this faith takes you into assurance. When you let your hair down to Jesus nothing else is going to scare you. If Jesus is the most important thing then who cares? 
    Jesus praises the woman to Simon, He rarely does this! Your faith HAS saved you, it’s over, I have paid for it, I delight in you, I love you…the eyes of the only pair of eyes in the universe that matters loves you.
     
    figure out today what that flask around your neck is…lay it at Jesus feet.
    Take my love, Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure store, take my life and I will be ever only all for thee.

    1. Where is Deanna!?! ?
      These are my notes, but somewhat jumbled and not so clear….hopefully they are helpful to some! The sermon was definitely worth the couple of dollars (but I always think Keller is worth the couple of dollars…) 

      1. Your notes are wonderful, Jill!     Where is Deanna?    Well, I am sorry to have to list a bunch of excuses here.  However,  I am overwhelmed.   My husband and I are supposed to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary on July 2.   Our daughters don’t have money to give us a party, but they wanted to do so.  Therefore, we told them we would pay the expenses, if they did the work.    So the first thing was to find a venue, which I did this week, and had to go out there and tour the place and sign the contract, etc.   Also had to make up a potential guest list.    Now the girls can take over!!    Also preparing for a church rummage sale — the sale is on Saturday the 14th.   On the evening of the 14th I am hosting my P.E.O. chapter and their husbands in a banquet room located in the same development we live in.  The P.E.O. calendar was finalized last year about this time, and our pastor moved the rummage sale back a week, so now both things fall on the same date.     Finally, this is the time when I have to get my flower beds in shape (weeding and planting)  before my hired help comes to edge and mulch the beds.     I think things will get better after May 14th!       I still want to listen to Keller’s sermon — I still have money left on my gift card that I purchased last year!  Thanks for asking, Jill!

        1. Deanna, wonderful to hear from you and you are missed,of course, but all good reasons to be away from the blog…? I always wait to see if our professional note taker will bless us with notes before I attempt to post my own!
          A very hearty CONGRATULATIONS! on 50 years! What a blessing!!

        2. Deanna, wow, you have a full plate! I always smile when I see you are a member of P.E.O. – so is my mom, though she isn’t really involved much anymore (with the Alzheimer’s) but once or twice a year, her friend will pick her up and take her to one of the luncheon meetings. It was something that she used to really enjoy.
          And, wonderful to hear about your 50th Anniversary celebration plans! Congratulations!

    2. Great notes, Jill…thanks for posting them. 

  41. My take-a-way: I saw something new in Jesus this week, and I am grateful. The more I study the more I get confused sometimes and Jesus does not speak so plainly all the time, I have been praying to understand more, this was an answer to that prayer. I did not realize how deep my misunderstanding  the gospel ran…. Until this study I was still reading those passages as the Pharisee’s really didn’t need as much forgiving…. Now I am beginning to see…
     
    Also: from Keller (paraphrase), “If Jesus loves me, who cares about all the rest.” Feeling called to start something that I think I will fail at, but to God be the glory and may my heart follow Him wherever He leads…..

  42. Deanna–congratulations on 50 years! What a blessing and inspiration you are! Good to hear an update, look forward to when you’re back with us 🙂

  43. 4. Read Luke 7:36-43
     
    A. Describe the scene in 36-38
     
    Jesus received an invitation to one of the Pharisee’s homes for dinner, and He went. The picture in the opening above helps me to picture it, as they weren’t seated at a table with chairs like we do. Instead, they “reclined” on cushions around the table. A woman who was not invited hears about Jesus being there, and she comes in, stands behind Jesus, and is crying, and her tears are dripping on His feet. Then, she begins to dry His feet with her hair, and pours perfume on His feet. All this occurs while Jesus and the others are eating.
     
    B. How was she “moving toward Jesus” at cost to herself? Why, do you think?
     
    Backing up to her decision to go to the Pharisee’s house when she learned that Jesus was there, she had to have had a little conversation with herself…“I wasn’t invited…of course, nobody would invite the likes of me…everyone in the town knows my reputation…what if I can’t even get in the door or if I do get in, they throw me out? What if I’m laughed at, insulted, or worse…I might even be punished by the religious leaders.” This lady took a big risk. One word I think of is embarrassment. I know that I hate to be embarrassed, to think that I did something stupid and everyone is looking at me, judging me. She “swallowed” that. She made up her mind to move towards Jesus anyway.
    As to why she was moving towards Jesus? I think she perhaps had come to a crisis point in her life. Whatever she had done to earn the reputation of having lived a sinful life, she must have come to the point where her sinful lifestyle, her idols that she was trying to find meaning from, had left her empty and hopeless. She had a choice to either continue on in this way, or go to the One who seemed to offer hope. She had obviously learned a few things about Jesus and His message – from others, or perhaps she’d been in a crowd and listened to Him herself. Perhaps she had heard that Jesus welcomed sinners and offered forgiveness. She was ready to throw away the cloak of her old way of life and so she determined to go to Jesus no matter what happened to her.
     
    C. How are Simon’s motivations for hospitality revealed in verse 39?
     
    As Simon watches this woman crying and wiping Jesus’ feet, he thinks 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.” It becomes apparent that Simon invited Jesus to dinner in order to “check Him out”, to size Him up, to find out just who is this Jesus. It appears that Simon was thinking that perhaps Jesus was a prophet.
     
    What does he think he has discovered about Jesus – and why? – Simon thinks he has discovered that Jesus is not a prophet, that he doesn’t have any kind of spiritual discernment or even propriety, because Jesus doesn’t react to this woman like the Pharisees and other religious leaders would have. She had been placed outside of their circle because in their minds, there was no forgiveness for someone like her. Simon has discovered that “Jesus is not one of us”.
     
    D. It’s always ominous when Jesus says, “I have something to tell you.” To his credit, how does Simon reply in verse 40?
     
    Simon expresses a willingness to listen to what Jesus has to say, as he says, “Tell me, teacher.” I suppose “teacher” is still showing respect for Jesus?
     
    E. What is Jesus’ illustration in verses 41-42? And what is his point?
     
    Jesus uses the illustration of two men who owe money to a lender. One owes a huge amount, the other a small amount. Their problem is that neither one has the money to pay. The lender, amazingly, cancels both of the debts. Jesus asks which one will love the moneylender more? His point is, God is the moneylender in the story. We all owe God a debt that we cannot hope to pay. I don’t think it’s a matter of this woman was a bigger sinner than Simon; they are both equally separated from God without hope of getting to Him on their own. But the woman realizes this and has looked to Jesus as her hope, and her heart is now filled with love and gratitude for Him.
     
     

  44. 5. In Luke 7:44-47, what does Jesus tell Simon he lacks that this woman has?
     
    Simon lacks love, because he doesn’t realize his great need for forgiveness. Simon didn’t express love towards Jesus by offering him even basic hospitality: water for His feet, a greeting with a kiss, oil for His head. This woman loves much because she sees her need and she pours out love on the One who meets her deepest need. Simon doesn’t yet understand or realize that his need for forgiveness is as great as this woman’s.

  45. Dee, the reminder in the above that the Pharisees usually remained silent when Jesus questioned them was really helpful. I can think of one example when Jesus wanted to heal a man’s withered hand on the Sabbath, and He asked them if it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath, and they wouldn’t say anything. So to see that Simon continued to answer Jesus is pretty amazing and I had never thought of that before!

  46. 6. Read Luke 7:45-50
     
    A. What was Simon’s deepest need and how was Jesus addressing it?
     
    On the surface, it looks like Jesus is rebuking Simon for his lack of hospitality; Jesus gives him a lesson in proper hospitality – you offer your guest a foot bath, you greet him with a kiss, you anoint his head with oil. This lady isn’t doing what she’s doing because she has better manners than Simon, it’s because she knows who Jesus really is. He isn’t a prophet, one among many who came before. He is the Messiah. She is worshipping Him. Simon’s deepest need is to have his eyes opened to see who Jesus really is and to believe in Him. Believing in Him, Simon would worship Him.
     
    B. Compare verse 47 to Luke 5:30-32. What similarities do you see?
     
    I see the same disdain of the Pharisees for sinners in Luke 5:30-32 as in Simon for the sinful woman in Luke 7. When I read Brennan Manning’s book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, he explained that according to Jewish culture, sharing a meal with someone was not some casual thing. It was the same as extending an offer of friendship to someone. So, the Pharisees couldn’t comprehend why Jesus would eat with people they considered to be sinners. Why would you want to enter into a friendship with those kinds of people, they must have thought.
    In LUke 5, Jesus compares those who understand they are sinners and their need for God to sick people who need a doctor. This woman who crashed Simon’s dinner party was a sick person who needed a doctor. But Simon was sick, too, though he considered himself to be healthy and not in need of a doctor.. I think this means that the Pharisees believed they could cure their own disease by keeping the Law and all the other rules and regulations they added onto it; they could make themselves right with God.
     
    C. How does He meet the woman’s deepest need and what is the reaction of those at the table?
     
    I think her deepest need was to be forgiven, to be made right with God, and also, for her to KNOW that she was forgiven so she could start holding her head up and lose the shame. Jesus says to her that her sins are forgiven. I think the others at the table were in shock, saying who is this who forgives sins? I wonder if they meant who is this who has the audacity to think he can forgive sins?
     

  47. “Relational Holiness is moving towards you, with your will being in mind, at any cost to me.”     
     
    But what if that other person, that you are willing to sacrifice for, has lost the will to live?  How do you approach them?   How do you bear in mind their loss of will?  

    1. Nila – I am SO glad you brought those specific questions to the forum here.  I don’t know how many will see them on a Saturday….but I hope some do!!  And all I can think as a “general” response to all three is that you pray for and bring in reinforcements.  Prayer partners, family members, the body of Christ…..so mysterious, but Jesus DOES MOVE in community.  We (moms especially!) were never ever meant to bear the weight alone.  I know I said it before, but “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1 Cor 12:26).  And shame on us if that is not so.  For in God’s eyes it IS SO.  May your day today be filled with Shalom….in unexpected ways and graces.    And by the way, “How do you bear in mind their loss of will?”  is a question I am going to be pondering today…….Lord help us.  

    2. Nila, no answers. I am praying today for the Albatross from Aslan to break through the nightmare of an island enveloped of darkness and shine that one speck of light to give orientation (from Voyage of the Dawn Treader). May it be.

    3. Oh, Nila, I am praying. I don’t have the answers, but I will continue praying. Love him and sacrifice for him and give him to the Lord. Giving him to the Lord means recognizing that you cannot fix him and trusting that God will guide you and take care of him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5,6) O Lord, have mercy and heal, give deep healing we plead.

    4. Oh dear Nila, I read your post and I wish I had some wise words to provide, but I don’t.  My heart aches knowing the pain you are experiencing.  Please know that I continue to pray for you and yours…

    5. Nila, continuing to pray for you both in this, I am so sorry. I know the Lord grieves with you, we will keep praying