Two Sinners and A Sower (Luke 7:36-8:15)
Two Sinners (7:36-50)
The sinful woman had likely had a previous encounter with Christ and had found Him to be the friend of sinners. Upon coming on the scene at Simon’s dinner party she immediately began to serve Christ. Though it was a humiliating disgrace for a lady’s hair to be unbound, she willingly suffered the disgrace and humiliation in order to display affection for Jesus. As Simon scoffed, doubting that Jesus could really be a prophet if he didn’t even know what type of woman this sinner was, Jesus prophetically told him a parable that exposed Simon’s thoughts. The sinful woman felt that nothing was too much to give for Christ, while Simon did not give Jesus even the most basic gestures of kindness and hospitality. The prostitute loved because she had been forgiven. Simon lacked love because he lacked forgiveness. It is only love to Christ that will produce lasting service and worship. It will be as we contemplate our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus and the reality of sins forgiven that our love for Him will increase.
– Are you taking the necessary time to get acquainted even more with our Savior? Do you make the effort to contemplate Him as a friend of sinners and to meditate on the reality of sins forgiven? How can you seek to grow in your love for Christ? How can you seek to grow in your loving service to Christ?
Luke makes special note of the role of women throughout his Gospel account. The women mentioned in these verses come from varying backgrounds: privileged, poor, possessed by demons. Yet the one thing they held in common was that Christ had changed them and they were now committed to service to Him, giving out of their private means and doing all they could for Him. It is interesting to note that in the Gospel accounts it was not women that sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver or forsook Him in the garden and in the high priest’s house. Instead, the women were those who lamented as Christ was led away to be crucified and stood until the end at the foot of the cross. It was the women who were the first to visit the grave where He lay. In one sense, Jesus did not need these women to minister to his needs, since he had the full capacity to meet his own needs. Yet he kindly allows the women and us to serve Him with our lives and prove our love for Him in worship. He has determined to accomplish His perfect will by means of His servants.
– What encouragement can we find in the truth that Jesus has determined to accomplish His will through people like us? Why is it encouraging to know that He is not in need of our service, but delights in allowing us to serve Him?
Four Soils (8:4-15)
This parable, which is often called the “Parable of the Soils,” could rightly be titled, “Four Kinds of Hearts.” It is a parable of caution regarding the way we hear the Word of God. The hard ground Jesus mentions in verse 5, and explains in verse 12, is the indifferent heart that does not allow the Word to sink down into a person’s conscience. The problem is not with the seed, but with the soil; with the heart. The rocky soil He talks about in verse 6, and explains in verse 13, is the heart that hears the Word and is left with mere temporary impressions, leaving good intentions that soon come to nothing or a newfound zeal that soon fizzles out. When there is no deep work done in the heart, the slightest temptation lures the person astray. The thorny ground of verse 7, which is explained in verse 14, is that heart that doesn’t take the time to continue cultivating a receptiveness and responsiveness to the Word, and is soon hardened altogether to God’s truth. It is the heart that doesn’t take the necessary time to allow the Word to penetrate and germinate in the heart and soul. The good soil of verse 8, explained in verse 15, is the Christian heart that hears the Word in order to understand and apply it in his life. When the Christian heart receives the Word of God it results in fruitfulness.
– As Christians, who by the gracious work of God in our lives have been given hearts that are described by the fourth soil, how might we be more diligent to take advantage of and cultivate a heart that is receptive to God’s Word? What lessons might we learn from the first three types of soil with regard to ways Satan might try to tempt even believers to respond wrongly to God’s Word?