The Pharisee And The Prostitute

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities, . . . who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion.
–Psalm 103:2-4

Have you ever noticed how some Christians just seem to love and appreciate the Lord Jesus more than others do? Perhaps the most visible manifestation is in their responses to worship. When I look out at the congregation during a worship service, I see some people who are visibly moved by the singing of the hymns. They listen attentively as the Word of God is opened. And if they are challenged to give, they ask, “How much can we possibly do?”

Then there are other Christians who have the “Wake me when it’s over” mentality. Their lips barely move through the hymns. During the preaching of the Word, they look like they are in the third stage of anesthesia. And if they are asked to give of their time or money to the church, they are highly offended.

How do you explain that difference between Christians’ responses to Jesus Christ? As we are going to discover this week, the difference is the awareness of our spiritual need. Those who have a greater realization of their sin have a greater appreciation for their Savior. We see that illustrated in a parable Jesus told in Luke 7.

The setting for the story is found in verse 36: “One of the Pharisees was requesting [Jesus] to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.” The word “Pharisee” comes from a Hebrew word that means “to separate.” The Pharisees were trying to encourage Israel to live separate lives from unbelievers. It was not that their goal was wrong, but their method was wrong. They did not believe that God’s Word was sufficient, so they came up with hundreds of traditions to add to the Word of God. And they judged people on whether they kept those rules, traditions, and prejudices. That is why they could not stand Jesus. Jesus took great delight in breaking their rules and traditions. He lived by the Word of God alone.

So why did this Pharisee, who we later learn was named Simon, invite Jesus to dine with him? Some people think he was trying to trick Jesus into saying something that would give further ammunition to destroy His credibility. But remember, Jesus was getting famous at this point. I imagine that Simon, like many wealthy people today, enjoyed having prestigious people in his home. He certainly did not invite Jesus because he thought He was the Messiah. Simon treated Jesus with indifference instead of devotion.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The One about the Pharisee and the Prostitute” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2004.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org

 

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