Yesterday, we started looking at the story of Jesus at Simon’s house in Capernaum, where a “woman of ill repute” poured perfume on his feet and wiped them with her hair. (You need to read that post before beginning today’s. ) After Jesus’ parable about the man who had been forgiven a great debt vs the man who had been forgiven a smaller debt, we looked firstly at the woman’s response. She’s aware of how much she’s been forgiven, hence her great show of affection. Today, we look at the response of the two other characters in the story: Simon and Jesus.
Are you familiar with the awkward turtle?
If you’re over 40, you’re probably not. At 43, I’m technically too old to know about it, but for more than a decade I was a pastor to young adults. Keeps me young. And well-informed when it comes to useless information about youth culture. And one of the more useless things I picked up a few years ago is a hand gesture called the ‘awkward turtle’. It looks like this:
The next story in Luke chapter 7 flows out of yesterday’s dialogue between Jesus and the disciples of John the Baptist. You’ll remember that John sent them to check whether he had it right – that Jesus was indeed bringing in the kingdom, since there was still…ahem…one prisoner, Mr. Jesus, who had not been released. What’s going on? Jesus reassured him that yes, the signs of the kingdom were indeed happening. The blind received their sight, the deaf heard, the dead were raised – this isn’t the dress rehearsal, it’s the real thing, baby!
Continuing our series in Luke chapter 7, the next story is another healing one:7:11-12 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.
A tragic scene. Made more tragic not simply by the loss of her son, but the fact that he was her only son, and her husband had also died. In the absence of a social security system, without a man around this woman had no means of support. Jesus is touched.
Today we begin a series in Luke chapter 7. And the first story in the chapter is about Jesus doing a favour for a Roman centurion, whose faith Jesus commends in the strongest possible terms:7:9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”
What is it about this guy that amazes Jesus? (Remember, most of the time in the gospels Jesus is the object of amazement, not the subject.) Let’s work through the story to find out.