Youth Bible Study Notes

We looked at justification this evening (the first of two weeks on the topic) by discussing Luke 7:36-50.  

The first thing we did was compare two characters in the story: the woman and the host.  Think about this.  The host was a Pharisee, a well respected religious leader of the day.  He was seen as a meticulous rule keeper.  He also seems to be well off, as he invites and entertains Jesus in his home.  He is advantaged in every way.  But then there is the woman.  What about her?  Well, for starters, she was a woman in 1st c Rome.  Women were considered lower class, their testimony was not allowed in court, their protection under the law was not the same as men, they were physically, educationally, financially, socially disadvantaged. She is also described as a woman on the city, meaning, she is a prostitute.  She was a known sinner because the host knows who she is, even though she was uninvited.  IF not being used by men, she was accustomed to rejection as we see from the host’s expectation that Jesus would reject her if he knew who she was.  

These two people represent the extremes of the social and religious spectrums.  

What do you think of this woman’s behavior?  It is bizarre.  Just think of how gross the feet of Jesus would have been.  The only explanation is a radical love and gratitude that would lead her to display such devotion.

Next, we see Jesus tells a short parable.  Why does he do this?  What do you think he is getting at?  Why do you think he uses a parable rather than a straightforward explanation? How does this parable with the Pharisee reveal his purpose?

What two things does this woman understand and believe that secure God’s acceptance?  Why are both necessary? How are they absent in the host’s life?

The woman knows her great need due to her sin and God’s welcome to the worst sinners by grace.

The woman certainly knew her sin but it was her knowledge of God’s grace that enabled her to risk embarrassment and flout the ridicule that would have kept her from Jesus. Without both knowledge of sin and knowledge of grace we miss the life transforming acceptance of God.

The host’s blindness to his sin keeps him from salvation. He thinks he is acceptable to God apart from Jesus. Without his knowledge of his need, he will never come to Jesus. 

We spent a lot of time thinking about this statement:

“The gospel is that you are far more wicked than you could ever imagine and simultaneously in Christ far more loved and accepted than you ever dared dream.” 

How is this quote illustrated in the woman’s life?  The host’s life?

When the woman falls weeping on Jesus’ feet she does so as a symbol of the most broken sinners and immediately finds a love that exceeds her wildest expectations.  Conversely, the host neither thinks his own wickedness is very grave nor the love of Jesus all that great.  It is difficult to continually grasp both our need due to sin and God’s welcome by grace.

Here are our application questions:

How have you seen yourself in the life of the host? What keeps you from thinking that your wickedness is all that bad?

What are we like when we fail to live with an awareness of our sin? What are we like when we fail to live with confidence in God’s grace? 

How would you like for your life to resemble this woman’s? How would you like for the confidence of the gospel to show itself in your life? 

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