Beth Moore - Recalibrate
I gotta tell you something. Very few things fascinate me in the human experience like the inspiration of Scripture through the Holy Spirit. We understand from Scripture that it has all been God breathed, inspired by God himself, through all of these writers, 66 books of Scripture in that Bible that you hold in your hand. So, I love that. I love the whole idea of inspiration. I just love to think about it, how it took place. I wonder to myself, did they know it when it was happening? Did they sense it? Could they sense the breath of God upon them as it went on the page?
All of these questions I have, but as much as that, I am so intrigued by the Holy Spirit's ongoing interaction with the Scriptures. I wonder if anybody knows what I'm telling her today. The ongoing interaction of the Holy Spirit, with his own Word, because it's his Word, and what we understand from the Scriptures is that it is God breathed, and it's living and powerful. Living, it's a living word, everybody say, "It's a living word". That's not just dry ink on the page of your Bible. What sets it apart... let me go tell this couple this real quick. What sets it apart from every other book in every library on the planet is that these words are living words, not just dry ink on the page. Which means that every time we open it, it's with a fresh breath of God, right there in that moment. Like, when we open our Bible, it's like the mouth of God opened, and he inhaled, and he exhaled, and it's living right on that page.
Luke chapter 7, I wanna tell you just a little bit about it, so that you can understand where the pen is being placed into the hand of the man that has put it down on the scroll through the Holy Spirit's inspiration, and that is Luke himself. Now, Luke is the one that wrote this gospel as well as the sequel to it, which is the book of Acts. Know this with me, that Luke is a Gentile. It is believed, traditionally, that his hometown was Antioch, that that is where he met up with the Apostle Paul. We don't know why for sure, suddenly, in the middle of Acts... now, he wrote Acts, but all the way up to Acts chapter 16, it's all about they did this, they did this, they did this, they did this, and then, suddenly, it becomes we, we, we, we. Then it will go back to they a little bit, and hop right back into we.
Over and over again, we see that there is this dear friend relationship between this Greek doctor, Gentile, this is not anyone coming from a Hebrew background, that comes on the scene with the Apostle Paul and becomes eyewitness to all these things they experience together. And he writes this gospel, and he writes the book of Acts, a Gentile doctor. Toward the very end of Colossians, the Apostle Paul tells us that he was deeply loved, Luke, the beloved physician. So, as you think of this, don't separate it from the one that God chose to write it. I love Luke, because it's such a narrative. It tells such a story, and I'm caught into stories like that.
In Luke chapter 7, there are four different scenes. We are going to primarily land on two, and then we're going to touch on the two others. But here is what I am going to throw out to you as our premise for this particular event. These four events in Luke chapter 7 are like looking at a mural on the wall of one building like this. We're gonna look at one scene, we're gonna glance at another, we're gonna glance at another, and we're gonna look at another. And somehow, in turning to these four, if we would absorb what we are gonna see of Jesus Christ in these four scenes, it would be completely pivotal to us.
I want to ask you as we get started, is this your Jesus? This one, in these passages of the Gospel of Luke, is this the one you know? See, here's the thing, there is no new word. You're holding the Word of God. But when the Holy Spirit means it for us in that moment, new is not what we're looking for, we're looking for now, anybody? We're not here for a new word, we're here for a now word, when the Scripture jumps off the page and into our experience. It's believed that the Gospel of Luke was written somewhere around A.D. 61 to 63. The temple still is obviously in place and has not been destroyed, and there are other references that would cause scholars to believe it was an early writing.
So, I wanna begin by reading just the first 10 verses. Luke 7:1 through 10, and we'll see the very first scene. "After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, 'He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he is the one who built us our synagogue'". And then it says that Jesus went with him.
I want you to hold right there and I wanna talk about it just a little bit. Capernaum is not where Jesus was raised, but it is where he makes home base somehow in the early part of the gospels. This is a town not very unlike the one that we are in right now, in that it was a coastal town. You might also be interested, I did a little reading on what makes up and comprises the city, economically, and so some of you might appreciate the fact that this centurion worked for something that we might think of as similar to the Department of Defense, just like many of you, and just like many of your loved ones. He would have been a man in charge of somewhere around 100 people, that is one reason for the name and the title, however, it could have been anywhere from 60 to 200. The name was given to it as originally meaning that exact number, but it could have been any little bit more than that or any little bit less than that. So, somewhere around 100 men that were in his charge.
Now, this man, without a doubt, is a Gentile. He is under the rule of Herod Antipas at this particular time in Jewish history, and what we're told here is that he is a man that loved the Jewish nation, and he is a man that had even somehow economically afforded them their synagogue.
Now, here's a little point of interest. If you were to go today and visit the ruins of Capernaum, you would find there a very impressive set of ruins from a synagogue, but it's not believed to be the exact same one, but you can see ruins of what is believed to be the exact same one right under it. The one that is so perfectly and beautifully obvious is one they believe to be about from 400 A.D. This one is underneath it, the ruins are underneath it, and you can also see some of those, and it is believed that it is the very one where Jesus went and ministered. He would have visited homes here. Peter and Andrew, and maybe even James and John were from this very town. Earlier in it, we see in Mark's gospel that Peter's mom, or his mother-in-law was from this area.
So, get in mind, this was a home base of sorts here, and here is this centurion, he's got this servant that he dearly loves, and he sends someone to tell Jesus and ask for his healing. He doesn't come himself, because, you see, if he's got great respect for the Jews, he is not going to go and stand right there in the presence of Jesus and ask him, he is going to send emissaries that are from that same belief system to him. Not only that, he doesn't want him under his roof, because when a devout Jew would walk into the home of a Gentile, they would immediately, through walking through the threshold, be defiled.
So, he sends word, and here is what happens. It says in verse 6, "And Jesus went with them, and he was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends, saying to him, 'Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof'". Did you notice earlier his friends said, "Listen, this is a worthy man. This is someone you would want to do something for". And what I'm guessing, wouldn't you guess this as well, is that he gets close to the house, so they can see him, perhaps from windows. Perhaps someone said, "Here he comes", and he goes to the window, and looks, and says, "Stop him from coming". They go back to him, and they report that he has said this, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore, I did not presume to come to you, but say the word, and let my servant be healed".
Just say the word. I love it in the NAS, "But just say the word". Everybody say, "But just say the word". Oh, say it one more time. But you just say the word, and my servant will be healed. All you have to do, you don't need to come, I don't need to come to you, you just say the word, and my servant will be healed. Verse 8: "For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me, and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes. I say to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it.' When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, 'I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.' And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well".
I'm a man under authority, I get authority. I mean, I can say to somebody, "You go", and they go, and I can say to somebody, "You come", and they come, "Do this", and they do it. He was a man over about 100 men. I understand how this goes, and my authority is derivative, you own yours. You are the author. You are the one. You just speak it, and it will be done. What kind of faith is this? That Jesus marveled, marveled, he marveled.
There are two times that there may be translations that use the word more than this, but most of your formal translations will use the word regarding Christ himself, two different times in the gospels, right here in Luke that he marveled over the centurion, for the centurion's faith, but the other one is in Mark 6:6, and I want you to go with me there, just for a second. "He marveled because of their unbelief". Two times, two times. Two times that Jesus is left slack jawed in the gospels: one over unbelief, and the other over belief. What a crazy thing. Remember that the centurion said these words: "You just say the word, and my servant will be healed". You just say the word, just say the word.
Everybody say, "Say the word". I want you to listen to the context of it, because this is where Luke is coming from. Man, is he ever making a point here. So, look with me at Luke chapter 4 and I want to read verses 31 and 32. "And he went down to Capernaum", are we in the same city? Okay, "He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and he was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority". They were astonished at his teaching, because his word possessed authority. Well, I guess it did, because he wrote it. You know, I mean, there's just nothing like having the author of a book, like, read it to you.
Do you ever have one of those audio books, and you're, like, all bummed when you realize that the actual author is not the one reading it, because you're all about, "I want the author to read it. I don't want a faker, I want the author to read it". There's just something, okay, right here, right here, right here, I mean, like, it's him. Like, he's just, like, he's going, like, "I remember this part". I mean, that's good. That's good like that. Right here, right here, I mean, just seeing it all.
And then, it says in 33, "And in the synagogue, there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 'Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.' But Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be silent and come out of him.' And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed and said to one another, 'What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits and they come out'".
Who has power of speech like that? Who spoke out into the nothingness and said, "Let there be light", and there was light? Who does that? Who does that? Who speaks to a prophet and says, "Prophesy to the four winds, and tell the breath to come to these bones of these men who have been slain", and all those bones start clicking and clacking together. Whose word is like that word? Who speaks like this? Our keyword and our title to this particular event is "Recalibrate", and so here's what I'm saying, because I've not really ever thought seriously about that word. I think in terms of, "Man, I need revival". All of us could use refreshment. A lot of us need rest.
I gotta tell you something, boy, do some of us need some rest. I have a really good and really funny friend, and she wrote something on her Facebook page about her family that I just keep thinking about, and I texted her before I came over. I said, "Don't even entertain the thought that I'm not gonna go tell this to everybody". I'm just not keeping it to myself. Listen to this, she said, and I'm quoting her, "I thought I heard a noise after I'd put my kids to bed. So, I went upstairs, and sure enough, there stood a small form in the dark hallway, and I bent down, and I said in a menacing tone, 'You get back in bed right now'".
Does that sound familiar to anyone? And it did not move one muscle, because it was a vacuum cleaner. Stop it, tell me that is not the best. You know you need a rest when you have commanded your vacuum cleaner to get back in the bed right this minute. If you, this week, have had a fight with your vacuum cleaner, you are in exactly the right place, and you need rest, and you need refreshment, but you might need a recalibration. I want you to know what the word "calibrate" means, because I looked. You know, I'm a word person. I love words. I love to read word origins. I have this dictionary that has all these origins of words in, and I could read it like you'd read a magazine. I could stare into it forever, I just love it. And I wanted the definition of "recalibrate".
Well, of course you can't find it, because they give you "calibrate", and "re" means just to it again. No, give me "recalibrate". No, calibrate is what I'm giving you, and you can just do it again. So, you need to see what "calibrate" means. The word "calibrate", I'm gonna read the whole thing to you, it means to ascertain the caliber of, we're doing be doing that. To determine, rectify, or mark the graduations of. To standardize, as a measuring instrument by determining the deviation from a standard, so as to ascertain the proper correction factors. To adjust precisely for a particular function.
So, here's what I really want you to hear, the part about being able to determine the deviation from the standard, anybody, anybody? Because here's what happens, and it's very, very natural. There's no shame in this. It's part of the human condition. All of us will occasionally, throughout the course of our believing lives, we can be deeply committed to Jesus, deeply committed to the Scriptures, and still really require, on a periodic basis, a recalibration. A time to just see, like, where have I kind of gone off here? Not lost my salvation, we are secure in the hands of Jesus. Once we are in Christ, nothing can snatch us out of the Father's hand, glory to his name. But what can happen in all our busyness, in all our living out of the pressures of life, it can be during a sickness, it could be during whatever huge distraction, maybe beginning a business, maybe going through a divorce, maybe having a new baby, maybe having three kids under five, maybe planning a wedding, maybe planning your boss's wedding, whatever it may be, we have times that we just, for whatever reason, it can even be that for some amount of time, we've just been really, really, really fascinated with one particular theme in the Scriptures, so we're all over there, and it's been ages since we've gone anywhere else.
Is anybody understanding that with me? And there comes a time when we could all use just, like, where has this kind of deviated? And what we're talking about here is recalibrating ourselves, specifically where Jesus is concerned. I want to remind you of the time in Matthew chapter 16 when Christ asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am"? And so, they told him a few identities that people believed he might have. And so, he looks at them, and he asks the real question, this is a question he asks of every single one of us in this house this weekend, everybody, everybody on the other side of that screen. "Who do you say that I am"? See, the ramifications of that are beyond estimation. Everything about your life and everything about my life is flowing out of that one thing, who is Jesus in your perception? Who is he? Who is he?
There's things about him we forget. We get fixated on one particular part of him, and that has us wound up for whatever reason, whatever need, and then occasionally we just need something that brings us back. Where have we kind of deviated from this is who he is? This is who he is. We are on a divine date to recalibrate. Two questions come to us: Who do men say that I am? Who are your pastors and teachers saying that I am? And now, here's where the rubber meets the road, who do you say that I am? Because nobody can answer that for us, nobody. At the end of the day, and at the beginning of the day, let me think at the beginning of the day. Because if I'm getting up early in the morning, I'm gonna go in and have my quiet time, and nobody's going in with me.
When I'm struggling through something that's very, very private, and I'm really not in the position to share with anybody that I'm just, man, I'm just having a hard time over something, and I don't wanna trip anybody up by telling, nobody's there with me. It's me and Jesus. It's me and Jesus. When my life is done, and when your life is done, we're not gonna be able to go, "But they said", who's they? Where are they? Where are they? Who do you say, who do you say, who do you say that I am? Because there are a lot of us that think, "Man, these are great gospel stories, but they really have no relevance to the present, except to just make us happy for what he did then". Who do we say that he is? We sometimes figure that God is like, Jesus is there at the right hand of God just, like, watching from a safe distance, while we're down here in 3 inches of hot Crisco, frying like chickens. Am I telling the truth to anybody? Recalibrate.
Here's what we're doing. We're not just recalibrating to godly things. We are recalibrating specifically to Jesus. You and I are getting where we're deviating from the truth of who God's Word says that he is, where that thing is deviating, we're getting that needle straight back up. Who is the real Jesus? Who is the real Jesus? And we're gonna live out of that. So I was doing a little bit of reading this particular weekend on what the word "thesis" means. The word "thesis" means: "A position or proposition that a person, you would know it as a candidate for scholastic honors, advances and offers to maintain by argument".
A position of a person, a position of a person. I want my position to be that I'm a Jesus follower and I know the one I'm following. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? And so here's what I wanna say to you. We can have all the best of intentions, we can have all sorts of wonderful ways of ministering to people but it lands on all our rhetoric is pathetic if our thesis isn't Jesus. Because there's nothing, nothing, nothing, you are hanging on to, nothing, that is worth losing what you could have with Jesus Christ. The woman and man you were created to be is wrapped up in you being wrapped up in Jesus. It's all there. It's all there. So we do all this rhetoric and all this debating and all this arguing and when the page comes down it's just J-E-S-U-S because what sticks me to the page of Scripture is Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ. That's what I'm in this for.
Let me tell you what the Word of God says about Jesus. Now we're at Luke 7. We ended at verse 10. I'm just gonna paraphrase for you and just ever so slightly narrate the next passages because I want you to land with me in verse 18. So it says soon afterwards, then Jesus and his disciples are heading into a town called Nain, and while they're coming in, outside the gate of the town, comes this funeral procession and there is this young man's dead body on this stretcher kind of thing that they're holding over. It's really called a bier but I always think it's strange to say that they were holding a bier. I don't know, I just don't know if that would always translate well to everybody if they're not as familiar with what that means, so they were holding this stretcher. Dead body on it.
And I want you to notice it says that this child is the only son of his mother and she is a widow. And this crowd is... She's gonna be brokenhearted. Not only has she lost her beloved child and she has no husband, she has also lost her worth, her value, and her livelihood all in that one death. It says in verse 13: "And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, 'Do not weep. Do not weep.' And then he came up and he touched the stretcher, and the bearers stood still". And well, of course, they stood still. He is a Hebrew and he's touching something that has a dead body on it.
"And he says to him, 'Young man, I say to you, arise.' And that dead man sat up and began to speak". Just began to, I mean, like, just started talking. What do you think he said? I mean, just like sat straight up. The whole crowd's like... I mean, I thought he'd be, like, "Let me down". That's probably what the first thing he said. "Put me down". And just think, like, later, he's just like chilling back at his mother's and he's eating something. His mother, she's looking at him, like... because, you know, he was dead. He wasn't even at the whole thing. Says in verse 18: "The disciples of John reported all these things".
This is John the Baptizer and now he's in prison, and he sends his disciples to Jesus. "'Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?' And when the men had come to him, they said, 'John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another"'"? Verse 21: "In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. Then he answered them, 'Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them'".
Verse 23: "'And blessed is the one who is not offended by me'". He looks around him 'cause he knows that the crowd is listening and goes, "What were you looking for here? I mean, what did you expect to see? A reed shaken by the wind"? I mean, he's gonna talk about that no man has ever, ever lived on the face of the planet any greater than John the Baptist but he's ushering in the kingdom. He said, "Yet those in the kingdom, those in the kingdom, will be greater than that". In other words, he's entering into this new era of time. John is the last of what will be considered the Old Testament prophets speaking the coming of the Messiah. And in no time at all, he's gonna die right there in that prison.
It's interesting word that translates "offended" there: skandalizo in the Greek. You see the word in our English word "scandal", right in the middle of it. That means to just be scandalized by something, just like, "What? What in the world, what in the world"? And I have to believe because the Lord has us landing here, that there are many of us in this room that are bearing this burden tonight, that just bear this offense that we believed and we knew what he was capable of doing and we knew he could have delivered our loved one or healed us or he could have opened that door or he could have shut it to that particular thing. We believed and look what happened. Look what happened.
I told you that we'd be looking at these four stories in Luke chapter 7 and staring from wall to wall and to me it is a powerful, powerful thing that this particular portion is right here in the middle of it. Because most of us will live through something exactly like this where we think, "Why didn't you come through? Why didn't you come through? Why didn't you come through? How could you let this happen"? I want you to see the Greek word. I'm just gonna put it up long enough for you to see it so that you can see the definition of offended, that Greek word "skandalizo": "To cause to stumble and fall. In the New Testament, figuratively to be a stumbling block to someone, to cause to stumble at or in something, to give a cause of offense to someone, to be offended by someone, to take offense at his character, words, conduct, so as to reject him".
I promise you that there is only one thing Satan wants more than to cause you to stumble and that is for Jesus to cause you to stumble. Does anybody get what I'm saying to 'em? 'Cause see, when the enemy causes you to stumble, you can blame the devil and go tell Jesus, but when you feel like, "No, I'm gonna tell you, what's caused me to stumble is you", most of us will have an experience when we feel like, I'm like sitting here imprisoned in this situation while you're doing whatever. I'm hearing what all you're doing for everybody else, anybody? Anybody? And here's me, here is me, and I thought you and me. And so I just want you to know, you and me... John's trying to recalibrate. "Is this you"?
So were his followers. I wanna say something to you so important, so important. Let this go down into the marrow of your bones. Let this be the mercury in our marrow. The only accurate way to recalibrate is to look to the book. Remember when we looked at the definition of calibrate and it means to see where we have deviated from the standard of the thing that is the measuring tool, the thing that everything is measured by? That is only gonna be in the book. It's all that we have and it's everything we need.
We're thinking measurement for a moment and I want you to think in terms of this right here, this whole Bible is inspired by God. The canon of Scripture, everybody say, "canon of Scripture". This is the canon of Scripture inspired by God, Genesis to Revelation, this is the Word of God. But what we're recalibrating this weekend, specifically, is we're recalibrating about one specific name and who he is. What is that name? That's Jesus, that's Jesus. So what I'm gonna throw out before you here is that what we're looking at specifically, we want the whole thing. Jesus is foretold and he is foreshadowed and he is prophesied and he is pictured in these snapshots of these types throughout the Old Testament. But what I am pitching out to you when it comes time to recalibrate who is Jesus, head straight into your New Testament where it is absolutely blatant and that's where you're gonna lock in.
Now, somebody's gonna say to me tonight or they're gonna be thinking to themselves, I would suppose, because I would probably be thinking this right now, I'd start checking my phone 'cause I'm thinking, "I'm so glad she's going here. This is Bible Study 101. I'm gonna let her go there 'cause I do Bible study. I don't need to know any of this. I'm gonna let her go on without me and I hope the people in here that need to hear this get it". Listen, sometimes the people that need to get it most are those who have studied years and years and years and years and years, and have adapted themselves to a Jesus that is not the one we have in our New Testament. I'm not saying they're not saved. I'm not talking about people who are not saved when I say that to you. I'm talking about people that have ceased to define him on these pages. They have begun to define him based on circumstantial evidence instead of canonical evidence. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? Does anybody know what I'm talking about?
What we do is, for years and years and years and for centuries and centuries, since our circumstances are doing this, we change the rules even though the canon still says this, we really are honestly gonna think that our circumstances are king so we're gonna redefine what he can do because, after all, he has not done it in centuries. He must not do it anymore. Well, fine theology. But it's not biblical. It's not biblical. It's not biblical. I'm about to lay down on the platform and I'm just gonna scream at the top of my lungs, at the top of my lungs.
How about I ask you, I am gonna simply ask you, "Go, study this through and see if it is so". Please, I beg you, I beg you because the only accurate way to recalibrate is to look at the book. Now, the Old Testament books, Jesus himself gave us, he affirmed the canon of the Old Testament books in the very end of the gospel, this very Gospel of Luke in Luke 24:44 when he said, "These words I have spoken while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled". That is your Old Testament, but the New Testament.
See, what happens is that we begin redefining him according to our sub-culture collection. In other words, like, our sub-culture is all about this portion of Acts or all about this portion of the pastorals. Am I speaking anybody's language in the room? And I mean, it's because we do what we're taught out there and it can be a beautiful thing, but if we're not recalibrating periodically and going back and reading, stay with me here, 27, what I'm gonna beg you to do. I'm gonna beg you with everything in me. I'm gonna beg you to read Matthew 1:1 all the way through the very end of Revelation 22.
When you close out that reading, I want to ask you who is Jesus because that is Jesus. That is Jesus. Not who do they say that I am. You are fully responsible. We have got to have teachers, we have got to have pastors. Why in the world would I be a Bible study teacher and tell you we do not need teachers? Of course we need teachers. Of course we need evangelists. Of course we need pastors. But we will not be able to point at them and hold them responsible when we get there and he says, "Why did you think this much of me"? Well, because they said. "Who are 'they' because I gave you a Bible. I gave you a Bible, child. You had a Bible".
And you cannot recalibrate any other way. This is the one. This is the one, 27 books, 260 chapters; this is the canon. The very word "kanon", I want you to see it for just a second 'cause I just think it's so interesting. Listen, your New Testament was put through tests and I mean early on in the very first centuries, put to test to determine what really met the guidelines of being inspired by God by these early church fathers. Put to test. The word "kanon", it's a reed or a measuring stick. It's anything straight used in examining other things, as the tongue or needle of a balance, a plumb line.
"The word is given as a technical term to the accepted books of the Bible considered as inspired". This was the measuring. This is the standard, that when you and I are trying to check out, when we need recalibration and we need to check out where have we deviated, we go back to Matthew 1:1, we start right there. We start reading all the way through the New Testament. That, girlfriend, is Jesus. That is Jesus. And so, it becomes the challenge to us whether you and I are gonna be willing to live in the tension where things are not always quite as clear or are we gonna go to one extreme or the other to keep out of the discomfort of the tension? Is anybody tracking with me there? Because this happens over and over and over again in the body of Christ.
We'll let go of the miraculous because we can't handle the mysterious. Anybody? Because the mystery just, and listen, I'm not making light of it. This is no trite thing. I do not say this with scorn because I am not about to claim to you that I am beyond offense. Not even about to claim that to you. Man, I've got vulnerabilities just like you do.
Now, I wanna talk for just a couple of minutes before we close. I wanna talk in extremes here and I'm meaning to be extreme. Sometimes, even to force a point with a little bit of, you know, just pushing it as far as we can will help us see something, will help it, like, lock into our minds and give us a little bit of an awareness that somehow beating around the bush and staying with real safe terms will not do. Because what I'm wanting to suggest to you is that many of our doctrinal extremes have developed because we can't bear the nuance in between. See, we'd rather go, "Just say the word", and he always will, or "I'm not just saying, 'Just say the word,' because he never will". Then right here, "Just say the word", and he often will.
But sometimes, for reasons we don't understand, maybe he doesn't so it's easier to go the extremes. God always performs miracles. God never performs miracles. Because it's really, really uncomfortable to be right here. God no longer wills to heal. It is always God's will, every single time, to heal. Here's a good one for all of us in this room: Women cannot do anything in the church, absolutely nothing. Women can do anything a man can do. But you know where the truth is?
I know some of you are gonna pass me a note before I get out of the house tonight. I didn't write it. I did not inspire one word of the New Testament, nor did I take any of it down in pen, not one iota of it. But the truth is that in here, we search through our New Testament and there's all sorts of things women are doing. Go count how many women the apostle Paul worked with. Go try to count 'em. Acts chapter 2, he'll pour out his Spirit on his sons and his daughters. We see mentions of prophetess. We see all sorts of things happening there, but we also see some other things that bring a different kind of order than we might have been looking for in the home and in the structure of the church.
So if we're going to recalibrate according to the Scriptures, it doesn't get to be as easy as women cannot do anything in the church. Check the Scriptures because the nuance of it makes a woman and a man with any sense get down on their faces before God and say, "Help me out here. Help me out here". And Lord, I'm not always positive when I'm stepping over this line. I'm gonna need you like nobody's business. I'm gonna need you like nobody's business. I'm gonna need you like nobody's business because here's the thing, Lord.
I wanna be a mighty woman of God. But I'm not particularly interested in being a mighty man of God. Maybe you are; I'm not. What do you have for me? I don't wanna take somebody else's place. I just wanna take mine. What is mine? I'm trying to figure that out. And the only place I can figure that out is Matthew 1 through the end of Revelation 22. Here's the last one I'll say. Oh, this is a big one. "We're people of the Word. We are people of the Spirit".
This one confuses me to no end. Confuses me to no end, because the Spirit of God wrote the Word, wrote the Word, wrote the Word. I find it flabbergasting that we somehow are successfully, in our day, splitting up the Word from the Spirit. Whoever came up with that? Not your New Testament. Not your New Testament. Somehow, we at the Word extreme are thinking that the Holy Spirit that inspired it is now going to somehow destabilize it and the ones far, far, I'm talking about extremes here, don't get mad at me. Far, far over here going, like, "We're not about the Word. We're all about the Spirit. We're all about the Spirit", they haven't even read the Word.
He is not the car dealer of the prosperity gospel. He's not the curmudgeon of the legalists. He is not the has-been of the extreme cessationists or the celebrity showtime Jesus of the sensationalists. He is not the champion of our Christian sub-cultures. We're looking for simple answers. We would rather see him do less than not be able to understand why he does not do more. And what we find ourselves doing, there are lots and lots of gorgeous and wonderful always and nevers in Scripture. He will always, always be with us, to the end of the age he promised us at the end of Matthew, and he will never, ever, ever forsake us. But we impose some always and nevers where they don't even belong because we can't take "sometimes".
Okay, everybody. Turn back with me to Luke chapter 7, Luke chapter 7, our text. You'll know by now that we're locking in on the final scene that is somewhat lengthy, but it is so, so compelling. It will begin in verse 36 in just a moment; Luke 7, verse 36. But of course I want to ask you to tell me so far what points have we built to get us to where we are as we open up Luke 7:36.
Number one is this. We are on a divine date to recalibrate. So recalibrate is our word for this event.
Number two, all our rhetoric is pathetic if our thesis isn't Jesus. When we were calling ourselves back through the power of the Spirit, to the books of the New Testament, it wasn't with the point of view to study ten different doctrines and what we're talking about this weekend. We want that. We want that. We want to study theology. We want to study the great doctrines of the Word of God. We absolutely must. We absolutely must. What we're talking about this weekend is recalibrating, opening up our New Testaments and reading them all the way through.
Take the next months to do it, however long it takes. If you want to, take a Matthew and then perhaps go to Acts, then take Mark and then perhaps go to Hebrews; whatever you want to do that will keep that gospel account so fresh to you. But to get all the way through it and then when you're done and you close it, who is Jesus? Because that's the way we recalibrate right there. That is the standard. Where have we deviated from our perception, that is who Jesus is and that is what Jesus can do. That's what we're being called back to. A very specific kind of reading through the Scriptures, we're looking to change our perception of Jesus.
Number three, the only accurate way to recalibrate is to look to the book. I'm going to start reading at verse 36. And as I look at it with you and I look down on this page, already I start to get a lump in my throat because I'm going to tell you something. This is my story. If I were to go to the Word of God anywhere, if somebody said to me, "Pick a place in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation that tells a story that is as close to your own as possible", we would land exactly where we are about to go.
Now, many of us may not have familiarity with one another. I hope so many of you came with no familiarity with this ministry at all, no familiarity with Bible study. You've not been in church. None of this is familiar to you. That's a beautiful thing. And so for you, I want to tell you just a moment of my story. I was raised in a very large family in a very small home. Some of you can understand that. On a very modest, modest, modest salary, my dad was in the army and was retired army, ultimately. And many of us, eight of us under one roof. A lot of wonderful things happened, like many of you was loved by a number of people, the most beautiful, beautiful thing that could have happened to me in those early days.
One of you asked the question. I'm going to go ahead and answer it now. It makes me want to cry. How did you come to know Jesus? That was one of your questions that one of you texted in. And I'm so happy to tell you in church, in children's Sunday school. That's how I met him. That's how I met him. Just going to church. Just going to church. At my church, they don't call it Sunday school anymore. It's children's church, but they are teaching about Jesus and they're worshipping him and they're telling these children, that was me. That was me. The beautiful thing was I was taken every single time the church doors opened. I wouldn't trade that for anything.
In those days, they were all different services. Like, there was a Sunday morning service. We went to Sunday school, then we went to church. We came back. At 5 o'clock we went to choir, and then we went to evening church, which was an entirely different sermon than morning church. And then on Wednesday, we came back and we went to missions. I also went to handbell choir, and then we went to Wednesday night prayer meeting. Anybody just stepping in that with me? And so I would not trade a single minute for it, not a single minute because it became my harbor in a storm.
In the midst of good things happening, terrible things happened. Terrible things. An early childhood victim of sexual abuse. I don't even know when it started. I have no memory of the first time. I just know that by the time I have any memory at all I was manifesting those fears and anxieties and behaviors that to us today in many ways would be a dead giveaway. They weren't back in that day. They weren't talked about. They were not said. They were never addressed. From anyone upfront, it just was not the day. It just was not the day, but I praise God that day has changed. I praise God that day has changed.
And I'll tell you this, that not only did I have that in my background and off and on until the time I was in middle school, but there was just a pervasive instability in my home. You know, I cannot put any kind of a meter on what sexual abuse cost me. There's no way, there's no way to measure it. There's no way to measure it. I don't know even who I would have been, I don't know what I would have been like had that not happened. I don't know how much different, maybe I would have still made some of the decisions I made when I got older. Maybe I would have made all of them. I don't know.
I don't have any other life to go back and live. That is my background. That is my past. But I'm going to tell you, I'm going to talk you theoretically. This doesn't have anything to do with, I'm not going to talk about my family here. I'm just going to say theoretically what if. I just would like to say, does anybody ever want to ask, "Is anyone sane in this house"? Anyone? Is anyone anywhere close by vaguely sane, or is everybody under the roof as crazy as a loon? Does anybody know what I'm talking about? Now, I'm not saying that was my experience. I'm just simply saying what if that had been my experience that might have lent itself to some pretty pervasive instability. Honestly, if I had multiple choice to choose from about how I was going to respond in particular matter, I would always choose the most destructive one.
Do you want to hear something wild? I had an extremely rebellious sibling, extremely rebellious because my siblings were coming up in the same environment. It's interesting how all my brothers and sisters and I responded differently. Does anybody else have that experience in your home? And she was extremely rebellious, which she would tell you, I'm not telling you anything that she would not freely tell you. But I was not rebellious. I wasn't rebellious. I was a rule keeper. What I was, this is no better. This is no better. It was still depravity. It was still sin. What I was was messed up. I would just feel like my choices were gone, that there was no... I was the epitome of the 2 Timothy 3 weak-willed woman overwhelmed with sin and led along by various passions, and it just chased me.
And the thing that was maddening about it is I had a heart for God. I did. I did. Has anybody ever ask yourself, look in the mirror and go, "Who are you? Which one are you? for crying out loud. Could all of you just agree on who you want to be in there"? Anybody? I mean, it just was maddening. It was maddening. And so I made so many foolish decisions and they followed me for a really long time. And even when I stopped making so many foolish decisions externally, I was in such bondage internally and just so miserable and so caught, and it took a long time for me to even come to the knowledge in Scripture that there was another way to live. I don't know how I got this through my head. My denomination did such a good job of several different things. We were raised knowing what it took to be saved. I mean, that was very, very clear to us. Very evangelical.
I'm still thankful for it. We were taught so many things. We were taught to love missions. I've loved missions. By the time I could talk, I could have said to you the very end of Matthew's Gospel, what many of us if you've been raised in that kind of atmosphere, called the Great Commission. I could have said it word for word. I loved that so much, and I guess it was just the times. I guess it was just that era. When we were not really taught at that time how to get in the Word of God and study it instead of always just like listing, I mean, we were like living on two sermons a week. Somebody getting that with me? That was the sum total of what we were living in in the Word of God.
They were good sermons, solid sermons. But I'm going to tell you, when you have my kind of addictions that I developed coming out of all that trash and all that instability and all that insecurity, you ain't getting bound to two 20-minutes sermons a week. I can tell you that. That ain't no way to get free because, I just tell people all the time and I'll have people say, "You're too radical for me". Well, I'm going to tell you something. My bondage was radical. It was radical, and it takes a little bit of a radical attitude to decide you have had it and you want to be free no matter what it takes, no matter what it takes. And I just kept cycling in and out of that hole. I just lived on the edge of it and would slide back in that thing over and over again and I would just beg God to pull me out, cry in my pillow and go, "Why do I do what I do"? This was me, just a mess.
You know what's worse? It's that I doubled up that mess because women who are in a ton of bondage are attracted to men in a ton of bondage. I'm going to wait and let that land in a minute because I know good and well you know what I'm talking about. 'Cause we're all like, "Can you believe he's like that"? And you know what? Our baggage all attracted each other. We got one huge set of luggage when we come under the same roof together, and that was Keith and me. Such a mess. And so with that, I start this account. Luke 7, verse 36, "One of the Pharisees asked him", him is Jesus, "to eat with him and he went into the Pharisee's house and he took his place at the table". Want to say something to you. Jesus love this Pharisee. We're going to go at the whole account incorrectly if we're going to look at it as if he had come to somehow humiliate the Pharisee.
Jesus loved this Pharisee. We're going to go at the whole account incorrectly if we're going to look at it as if he had come to somehow humiliate the Pharisee. This Pharisee by the name of Simon had invited Jesus into his home and Jesus had gone, and there's this account that talks about just prior to it in verse 33. We were just at 36. Look at verse 33. "For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine and you say he has a demon. The son of man has come eating and drinking and you say, 'Look at him, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' Yet wisdom is justified by all her children".
So it's with that on the tail end of the account just prior that the Pharisee has asked Jesus to his house and Jesus has gladly gone. It says in verse 37, "And behold, a woman of that city". I like city right there because some of your translations and the translation I had before this one did not say city. It said town. Do any of your Bible say a woman from that town? Now I'm going to tell you something. If you're going to be a woman that's living in a ton of sin, you really want to live in a big city. Can anybody testify to that with me? Because there's nothing like being a really sinful woman in a small town.
When I was in a ton of sin, don't think that sin did not follow me to Houston, Texas and get even worse, and then follow me to college and get even worse. But I'm simply saying it all started when I was being raised in a small town back in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and trust me when I tell you that people in a small town basically know who all is living in a ton of sin. Is that fair to say? So by all means if you're not going to repent, move, move to a large city.
Verse 37. "And behold, a woman of that city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment; and standing behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wipe them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this, he said to himself, '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'".
Now, they had been reclining at this table probably as often would have been true in that time of antiquity in a Pharisee's house. Probably the table area was somewhat like a U shape or a C shape. And so the way they would have been doing it is not with their chairs pulled up to a table like we would see in the painting of the Last Supper. They would have been reclining at the table.
Now, I don't know how folk eat this way, but I'm just going to tell you this is how it would have been. So they would have been kind of propped up like this. Their feet would have been behind the next one. So they would have been eating like this, maybe even like this. So they're all sitting around it. His feet would have been back behind the person that was beside him, whoever the man was beside him. He was over here. His feet and his legs were behind the one sitting next to him, and that's how it looked all the way around the table. So that's how Jesus is leaning. And so the woman comes in. She hears he is there. This takes some kind of courage.
How many of you are really, really familiar with this text of Scripture? How many of you are really, really familiar? The reason I want to bring up the problem with familiarity to you is because we already impose all our either really good feelings or our bad feelings on it, and don't go for anything fresh. I want you to picture that you have guests over perhaps for the Thanksgiving meal and a woman is going to walk through your door and head toward the person you are hosting and she's going to start pouring perfume on his feet while you're trying to eat at the dinner table.
And so, for those of you with a background like mine or those of you that just love the Scriptures, we love this account, but this is pretty shocking. Like, we're eating here, and here she comes. And I mean, at what point did they all look up? And she kneels down behind Jesus and his feet are out here, and it says that she's standing behind, starts weeping, and she began to wet his feet with her tears and wipe them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Smell going through out the dining area. I mean, nobody can even speak.
There are some things you can't ignore. That's not when you can look at somebody and ask them about the last baseball game. I mean, there's like nothing to do there, but just everybody shut up and gawk because there's a lot going on here at the table in the show of devotion and gratitude. And verse 39 is so huge because it says that Simon, the Pharisee, when he saw this said to himself, "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".
Now, I want to tell you something. Here is the weird thing about some of these accounts. I love all the layers of Scripture. I love how sometimes in our lives we can identify with one person in the story, and another season of our lives identify with the other. Take a case in point the story of the prodigal son with his father. How many times have we identified with the prodigal son and then in another season gone, "I have turned in to the big brother"? Anybody? What's also true is that the big brother in a heartbeat can turn in to the prodigal son. Whether we're the one that's kind of self-righteous going, "How come you didn't do all that for me"? Or we're the one that has been absolutely an idiot out there just squandering everything we've been given. Whatever it may be, we have the capacity to switch places like this, like this.
And I started thinking about the instability of being able to conclude that we will always be the one sitting at the table of respect. Anybody know what I'm talking about? I mean, like, where does like one bad decision or our family one really serious crisis decision away from not getting to sit at the table of respect. I need to know if anybody knows what I'm talking about. We were knowing here today would I be sitting at the table or would I be back there either serving the food or the one pouring the ointment on the feet of Jesus, which would we be? Because I want to just suggest to you, it's kind of a whole game of musical chairs who gets to sit at the table because all it really takes is the next bad song and you're off that table.
And so what I'm suggesting to us today is that if we're not the one, if we're sitting at the table, it might be a really good time to just get down on the floor anyway. Why not just get down there before you get knocked down there? That's what I'm saying. I'm just saying, like, why don't we humble ourselves before something humbles us? Why don't we just like go ahead and say, "Listen, I'd be capable of anything". But by the very grace of God, there is no telling what on this earth I would have myself into.
So here is the picture we have before us, the Pharisee and the free. Let me tell you how we know we're leaning toward become a Pharisee. When we sit back and go, "If I were Jesus, I would"... Anybody? I wonder if we could catch ourselves this week thinking whether or not he's come through in a big way for somebody. Like, they prayed so hard. We know somebody's so faithful. They pray so hard that this would happen and it didn't happen and we think to ourselves, "If I had been Jesus, I would have done it. If I were Jesus, I wouldn't have anything to do with that. If I were Jesus, I certainly wouldn't have called them. If I were Jesus, I would not put up with that for 10 solid minutes".
Once we're playing if I were Jesus, we're full on into the Pharisee syndrome. Anybody know what I'm talking about? It's beautiful thing to catch ourselves in it. Oh, that's me. There goes Simon. That's a really good time to move off of the table and on to the floor. It's an interesting thing how a Pharisee starts by disapproving of people, but a full-blown Pharisee moves straight into disapproving of Jesus. Like, "You have really poor taste". Would you pick up with me in verse 40? "And Jesus answering said to him, 'Simon, I have something to say to you'. And he answered, 'Say it, teacher'".
You know, there are times when it might have been wisest not to go, "Say it". I think it's very, very interesting that Simon in verse 39 only said all this to himself. I think somebody needs to know today that you can trust Jesus to take up for you about what others are simply saying to themselves about you. Even before they say it to somebody else, if they're thinking it to themselves, you can trust Jesus. He knows what they're thinking about you, and he can call anybody out he wants to. You can trust him. You can trust him no matter what side of the table you are on.
Now, I wanna read verses 40 through 46. It says, "And Jesus answering said to him, 'Simon, I have something to say to you'. And he answered, 'Say it, Teacher'. 'A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them do you think will love him more?' Simon answered, 'The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt'".
Now, you know at that point he was feeling a little bit caught. This is not gonna be the answer that was gonna lead exactly where he was hoping this would go. "And he said to him, 'You have judged rightly'". I think it's an interesting thing for Jesus to say, because Simon had been judging all that time, but he finally just, like, judged rightly. "You have judged rightly".
Watch what he says next in verse 44. "Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon", so, I love this. I love this, because he's been talking to Simon. And he's gonna keep talking to Simon, but he is going to turn his face toward the woman, because he is wanting to make sure that the woman knows and hears what he is saying about her to the Pharisee.
Now, again, I just want you to look at this with the mercy of God pouring out throughout the entire scene, because everybody's being graced by the display that they're having taught right before their eyes. And I love how Jesus looks back at her while he says what he needs to say to Simon, so he can be sure, he can be sure that she sees that he is looking her right in the eye. "Do you see this woman? Do you? Do you"?
Do we pass by that part of town and see that woman? When she walks past us in an airport, do we really see her as Jesus would see her? "Simon, do you see this woman? Oh, I know you've been looking. I'm not asking you if you've been looking at her. I'm saying do you see this woman"? "I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet. She has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet".
Now, kissing was and still is, in this part of the world, very much a part of the greeting, to kiss on the cheek at one and maybe on both sides. Very, very much of a greeting that would have been between women or between men as a welcome and a hello. There are times in the Scriptures where it says, "Greet one another with a holy kiss", the apostle Paul says. Very, very much the custom, and he said, "You did not, but from the time she came in, she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment".
Would you look at this? I love this, because I want you to understand what all he's talking about, how she was wiping his feet with her hair, how she was putting the ointment on his feet and kissing his feet. All of these are about touch. I want you to understand that the object lesson of the scene at Simon the Pharisee's house was this: who is in touch, and who is out of touch? Who is in touch with who Jesus is and what he is about, and who is out of touch?
Because here's the thing about the Pharisee to this day that believes in Jesus and accepts Jesus fully as the Son of God and personal Savior: that we can be so out of touch that somehow we are not elated when sinners are saved and cleansed, because we do not see ourselves as sinners. "God, I'm thankful I'm not like everybody else". Remember that part of the gospels? Or the man stands over to the side and beats on his chest and says, "Son of David, have mercy on me". Contact. Contact. Contact.
You know, most of us in this room know the difference between being in touch and out of touch with what someone has done for us, but I wanna speak to some of us. I wanna see your hand if you are in any area of ministry, or if you serve officially in any capacity at your church or somehow as a child of God. Can I see your hands? Because I wanna tell you what is imperative for you and me. Absolutely imperative that we stay in touch, that we stay in touch, that we stay in touch with Jesus. And, of course, his Holy Spirit lives in us, but I'm talking about more than that. That we're hanging onto him. We're hanging onto him through his Word. That we're staying in touch with Jesus.
We're staying in touch with that awareness of what grace he has poured out on us and continues to pour out, what desperate need we have of him. But we got two hands, and we're also so desperately needing to stay in touch with people. One of my worst fears is that somehow in this whole mix of things that God has called me to, that I will lose touch with people. My nightmare is somehow I'm gonna lose touch with you and I think I'm still gonna minister effectively. No, we won't. No, we won't. No, we won't. If we lose touch with Jesus and we lose touch with people, we will think we are ministering effectively, and we are not. We are not. We have to know the warm flesh and blood of people who are hurting, who are broken, who are physically ill. We need to know, every now and then, I hold a hand.
You know, I'm very maternal, so this comes very naturally to me. I'll hold a woman's hand, and I can tell from her palm that she's got fever, and I'll reach her little head over to me and press my head against. I don't know why, but God's just made me a thermometer. You hand me any baby. I can practically tell you what that child's fever is, if that child's got a fever. I don't know why, but that beautiful, beautiful contact of, "Are you sick? I think you have a fever. Is your heart broken"? You just answered me, when I asked you how you were doing, "Okay". Now, every time I've ever come in contact with you, you've told me you were superb. What's the matter today?
I know this is gonna sound silly, but I'm gonna tell ya there is ministry in an embrace. I meet women all the time that have never had anyone hug them. I mean, hold them in your arms safely, where they are safe, where they are not misused, where there's nothing improper. It is strictly maternal or godly affection, and they are held in someone's arms and told they are precious and valuable. Listen, you don't have to have a Ph.D. to do that. Minister an embrace to someone. I'm gonna go so far as to tell you, listen, if we would get appropriate touch, we would not be so driven for inappropriate touch. I don't mind saying that at all. I don't mind saying that at all.
Listen, I'ma tell you something. If we had some community to offer people out there that have found other kinds of community, if we would quit all the hating and backbiting between us and really throw out our hands and receive people and embrace people that are just as flawed as we are, something beautiful would happen in the church. Something beautiful would happen, but forgive me. But we're being a country club while all sorts of people out there are providing alternative community, and we're all looking down our nose at 'em, but we don't have any kind of alternative for 'em because we are too busy, and we are too arrogant.
Number four is this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I probably should explain it real quickly. Do you remember what Jesus said? "This woman has done this, done this, done this, and you have not, not, not. She didn't", I mean, "You didn't. She did. You didn't. She did. You didn't. She did. There was no contact with you". And it was contact, contact, contact. No contact. Contact. No contact. Contact. No contact. Contact.
Number four is this: Jesus recalibrates our faith-displays by what we do, not what we don't. This one is important. This is gonna help us out, some of us. I've been there. Listen, I've been there. There's no stone being thrown here, because I have lived this life. I know what it's like to be a Pharisee, and somebody is gonna be set free from their Phariseeism today. That's a beautiful thing. That's a gorgeous kinda deliverance. This is one way we'll know, because let me tell ya how you can tell the difference between the Pharisee and the free. The Pharisee is all about what he does not do in the name of Jesus, all about it, all about it. It's been true since the beginning.
You could go back and look at legalism for many, many years in religion, and over and over again it would be primarily driven... I'm not saying that there would be no good works, but I'm saying that the definition of righteousness would not be in what the person brings to the table by helping the poor, by going to someone's side in their time of need. It would not be as defined there. I'm not saying it wouldn't exist. I'm saying it would not be how they would calculate in their minds what righteousness was. They would calculate righteousness by what they did not do. "Thou shalt not. Thou shalt not. Thou shalt not".
For a Pharisee, those are their favorite commandments, because they're so proud of what they have not done. But some of us it's way too late for that, because whatever the Pharisees in the world have not done, the rest of us have made up for. Would that be fair to say? I'll just say it about myself. You can say whatever you want about yourself, but I'll say it about myself. But all of a sudden, Jesus, through the power of the gospel, recalibrates what obedience looks like. It's not that there are no thou-shalt-nots. Of course, there are. Of course, there are, but do you know why we lay things down in the name of love? Because of the two primary commandments: love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor. Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor. Love your Lord your God, and love your neighbor.
The reason there are thou-shalt-nots toward our neighbor is because we are called to love our neighbor and to do our neighbor good, whoever our neighbor is. Whether our neighbor believes the same as we do or not, we are called to what we do and not just what we don't. Do you know, and I think this is changing. I'd really gotten on this soapbox about ten years ago, but I do think this is changing. We have so long been known as Christians by what we do not do. There are people that don't do this, and they don't do this, and they don't do this, and they don't do this, which sometimes was true, and other times it was just that we told people we didn't. We said we didn't, and we did, but it's gotta change.
"I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet. She has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet". How beautiful are the feet that bring the good news. How beautiful are the feet. Do you love the fact that, I mean, like, she's all about Jesus's feet back here. She's not trying to get anywhere near the man's head. She just trying to be about the feet, and I want you to think for a moment. I don't know if this seems profound to you, but those were, like, the feet of God. Somebody just go, I mean, like, God had feet. God had feet. Feet. And, you know, way back in the garden in Genesis, he walked with man.
We know that, but he had not yet put on a jar of clay. No, he hadn't. He had not yet been wrapped in our humanity. That did not happen until our gospel record in John 1:14, when the Word was made flesh and tabernacled among us. That was the Incarnation. There was no Incarnation before that. Preincarnate appearances, yes, but wrapped in human flesh and blood, this was what the gospel was all about, and so God suddenly has feet. Comes out of the womb and there is these little feet. Nothing like baby feet. You just wanna, like, chew on little baby feet. Chew on little baby feet. You just can't stand it. You just can't.
And then, those little feet, you know, when they finally kinda start standing up about four months, they start wanting to stand up in your lap, and those feet pressed down on a surface. And then, like, he's about 12 months old, and he begins to toddle. God, God with human feet, and then through all of these years and all these pilgrimages, going all the way from the Sea of Galilee to Jerusalem, all this time getting one callus after another. He had beautiful, ugly feet. You know they were. You don't do that much walking in your sandals and get all those stones in you and all that dirt around you and all that dust all over you, and you're just gonna have you some gorgeous pedicured feet. These were beautiful, ugly feet. God wearing some feet. It was that she anointed with her tears.
I think about that scene a lot, because we have disappointments, and we have things that don't come through. And we have times, like we talked about last night, when our heart is broken with disappointment because God did not do what we begged him to do, and we're devastated. We're devastated over a loss. We're devastated over what we feel like is the death of a dream. I wanna tell you couple things that are going on there. Don't let me forget to come back to the feet. I gotta come back to the feet, so don't let me forget. If you try to lock me down, then who am I and what do I know? I've seen so much deliverance, but I've not seen it as being just, like, whole groups of people healed of their infirmities.
I think there are a lot of explanations for that, but I will tell you that I think the number one priority of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in our day is conversion of the heart, that will change from the inside out, because you know what? We're wearing these bodies this long, this long, this long. I mean, we're gonna drop these babies, and we're outta here. We're heading somewhere else. This is not where we're staying. We are very much passing through this lifetime, getting a few thorns in our feet, and we're outta here, so he's all about us building up treasures in heaven. He's all about calling us to faith so that he can reward us for our faith. He's all about getting us equipped, where he can give us responsibility in the kingdom to come.
See, he knows what's waiting on the other side. He knows what is, and if you wanna say, "Beth, where are you coming up with that"? Well, I can throw this out to you, Ephesians 3:20 and 21, where it says that "and God can do abundantly above all that we ask or think", and it says, "according to the power at work within us". And I wanna say this very carefully to you. The most astounding wonders God wants to work in your life and mine are through his power working in us. He wants you to defy all the odds in your life. Anybody know what I'm talking about?
He wants you to come forth after you have been a career failure, and he wants you to come forth like gold out of your difficult situation. He wants you, your life, your character, your love, your outpouring of forgiveness. He wants that thing that is converted inside of us, that changes so dramatically to testify, even when our bodies may be ill. That we still have the joy of the Holy Spirit, filled with the power of Christ, but here is what I'm gonna tell you in the meantime, 'cause I'm not gonna forget those feet. When I'm brokenhearted and when the tears are streaming down my cheeks and I have had just the ups and downs and ups and downs and ups and downs and losses in life, so I do sometimes cry my eyes out. Just cry my eyes out, but when I do, you know what I do?
If I'm in a place that I can, I go straight to the floor, and I just bawl my eyes out right there on the floor. Bawl my eyes out right there on the floor, and I just let my tears fall on the floor. And, listen, if this is too much for you, I get it in every way, so, like, look at your phone for a minute. But if it's not, stay here with me for a minute, because what I picture is that I am washing the feet of Jesus with my tears. And I just like. That's what I do. Where else can I bring 'em? So, I'm gonna bring 'em as an act of worship. I hope the anointing that he's put on my life becomes the perfume, but I'm gonna bring my tears, and sometimes I even just hold my hands like this.
I know it's too much for a lot of you, but some of you need this. You need to know, "What can I do when I'm sobbing? What can I do when I'm sobbing and brokenhearted"? Well, I'm just telling you what I do. I get down on the floor, I let my tears flow freely, and I just picture that they're falling on the feet of Jesus. Feet of Jesus. Scarred feet of Jesus. Does anybody else find it a little bit interesting that he retained his scars after he was resurrected? To make sure we knew he had not forgotten what it was like to be us. I'm gonna read 47 through 49 to you, and I'm gonna try to do it without crying, but this is the part that just kills me every single time. Verse 47 of Luke 7. Lord, give me voice. "Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven".
I want you to see where I write Bible studies. I want you to see what my office looks like. That's my commentary open, and I want you to look above it, because that is what I work under, 'cause don't think the enemy does not remind me on an ongoing basis how stupid I have been in the course of my life. The reason he has so much to condemn me with is because I gave him so much good material. Anybody know what I'm talking about? And I just wanna shut down, but when I just feel harassed and I feel so unworthy, I just point up to it. Sometimes, I'm gonna even lift up my left hand from the keyboard. I just point up to it. I tell you her sins, which were many, have been forgiven.
I ask the praise team today to pray with me that you in this room, who are forgiven, would feel it. That you'd feel it. That you'd know you are, because you've got some people in your life that don't want you to think that you are. You know that you do. Many of you do. They want you to feel condemned. They want you to continue to pay and be punished for your sins. You've got to know. You've got to know. And here is what happens if we're willing to: if we would let that assimilate all through our souls and we'd believe it. "'Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.' And he said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven'". He said it. He said it right in front of everybody so that they would know. "And then those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, 'Who is this, who even forgives sins?' And he said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace'".
Somebody today just needs to go in peace. You just need to know it's done and it's paid for and today is the day. This is a glorious and beautiful day for repentance. Oh, my word it is. We gotta recalibrate our true estate. No one has sinned too little to love much. Does anybody understand what I'm talking about? We don't know exactly what happens with Simon the Pharisee. I wish we did, because you know the way I want it to end? I want everybody in the house to disperse and it just be Jesus and Simon the Pharisee, and I want him to be able to look at Jesus and say, "I wanna love much. I wanna love much. I wanna love much".
I wanna say something to you in this room. You have everything it takes to love much, everything it takes, whether you have fallen into a pit of just, like, huge and heinous depravity, whatever. Listen, we've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We have everything it takes. It's being in touch with it that makes the difference. It's hanging on to the nail-scarred feet of Jesus and realizing that he went to the cross for us.