SERMON SUMMARY The mother figures in our lives have shaped, molded, nurtured, encouraged, etc. However, they cannot and we cannot do what only God can do. We love deeply but only God can bring you salvation, healing and redemption. We must encounter Christ. We celebrated Mother’s Day by looking at Jesus, a Pharisee, and a “sinful woman”. The woman broke social conventions to make her way to Jesus. We need to be like her. The “religious” leader in the text would have stopped her from coming to worship Christ. We, as the church, must remember that everybody is somebody’s child. We must help, not hinder, the way of those coming to God. Thankfully, Christ received the woman, defended the woman, praised the woman… and forgave the woman of her sins. When momma can’t, Christ.
BACKGROUND(v36). Jesus has been performing many miracles throughout the land. His name and his deeds are becoming widespread and well known. The religious leaders, the Pharisees, are curious and concerned. One extends an invitation to Christ and Jesus accepts. We wonder whether the invitation was a sincere one?
“THE SINNER WOMAN”(v37-38)The woman in the text has a poor public reputation. She is a sinner and everyone knows it. But, she has heard of Christ; she does not allow her reputation or others to stop her from coming to worship. With deep, and heartfelt emotion, she comes and worships the Lord fully.
• How easy could it have been for the woman to allow shame of her stigma to stop her from “coming to church?”
• Do we know of people (or perhaps ourselves) who allow shameful, or embarrassing circumstances to stop them from coming to worship?
• Look at the nature of her worship. Does she appear to be concerned for what people might say about her worship? Remember how “inappropriate” it was for her to have her hair down. Do we let perceptions get in the way of the fullness of our own worship?
THE JUDGMENTAL CHURCH/PHARISEE(v39). The Pharisees represent judgmental religious leadership. Here, he judges the woman AND he judges Jesus. He misses it. He fails to see who Jesus is and fails to see the woman as somebody’s child.
• He is not saying anything but in his mind he is criticizing both Jesus and the woman. Do we ever find ourselves (or others) judging (labeling) in this way? Does the church do this?
• It is true that this woman has led a sinful life (like all of us). But, what are the dangers in ministry of labeling people according to their sin or their condition? Remember, just like you, this is somebody’s child.
• Are there any ways that the modern church might hinder people who are sincerely seeking to come to God? What can we do about that?
JESUS RESPONDS (v40-47) Jesus responds in the way that we would want him to respond to our child. He responds in the way we would want him to respond to us. He receives the woman. He defends her. And, he praises her.
• Would it have been easy to act with scorn or disdain for this woman based on her reputation and how she came to Christ. What can we learn about how we receive others by how Jesus received her?
• What are ways we fail to effectively receive/welcome people to Christ?
• Jesus educates about what it means to have a broken, thankful and repentant heart for the Lord. Sometimes we can forget where God brought us from. What things can we do to ensure we maintain a spirit of humility?
• The Pharisee thinks very highly of himself but Jesus points out that the woman-not the Pharisee-has approached him with a genuine heart. Can we sometimes get caught up in rules and protocols and fail to remember that we are in the people and soul business? What does that look like?
JESUS FORGIVES(v48).In the final word, Jesus pronounces forgiveness over the woman…she is somebody’s child. We need to remember that this is what it is all about. Our job is to point the way, clear the way, make a way for others to enter into a relationship with the Lord. We can do many things for others, and we do. We can even be surrogate mothers for those who have none to care for them. But we cannot do it all. Jesus forgives and Jesus saves.
• Why is it important to remember that “some of us plant, some of us water but it is God that provides the increase…”it is God that provides the saving?