THE LORD’S PRAYER: 5TH PETITION
July 22-24, 2017
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: Luke 7:36-50
“THE FIFTH PETITION: LOOK TO JESUS!”
1. Who has forgiven you.
2. Who has forgiven others.
3. To help you forgive others.
Luke 7:36-50 (NIV 1984) “Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 39When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, He would know who is touching Him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” 40Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44Then He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give Me any water for My feet, but she wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give Me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing My feet. 46You did not put oil on My head, but she has poured perfume on My feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” 48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
“Grow up!” Have you ever said that to someone in your life? Has it ever been said to you? It’s a phrase that sometimes comes out in frustration when you notice someone who is not acting their age, or is acting immaturely. It seems to me that in the prayer Jesus gave us, the Lord’s Prayer, he is helping us to grow up as Christians, to be more mature in what we are praying for and then how we live. So he has us focusing on spiritual matters first, then needs and not wants. He has pray that prayer that takes a miracle to mean, “Your will be done.” And then we come to the 5th Petition. “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” Hey, wait a minute here. Do I really want God forgiving me the way I forgive others? Humor me for a moment. You have my permission to close your eyes during the sermon. Now I want you to picture the face of someone who has hurt you, who keeps hurting you, whose words and actions just keep getting your goat. OK, what kind of feelings did you have? I’m guessing negative ones. Hurt. Anger. Resentment. Maybe a desire to see them pay. Now I ask again, do you really want God to forgive you the way you forgive others? Do you remember when Peter asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive someone and Jesus told the parable of the Unmerciful Servant who refused to forgive after he had been forgiven? Do you remember how it ended with that servant cast away and then Jesus said, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from the heart.” And we are to pray “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us?” Yes. We are. We can. We can mean it as we daily look to Jesus.
Look to Jesus who has forgiven your sins. That’s the lesson a man named Simon needed to learn. He was one of the Pharisees. From the way he acted toward Jesus it does not sound like he was being nice in his dinner invitation to Jesus but rather wanted to criticize him. He displays the characteristics of a typical Pharisee. He was better at seeing the sins of others than his own. He was more bothered by the sins of others than his own. All of the sudden an uninvited guest came in. A sinful woman. A woman who had lived a sinful life. No other details are given. Perhaps she had turned to prostitution to feed her family when her husband died. Perhaps her reasons were less noble. She had lived a sinful life. But now she was forgiven. Jesus said so. “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven.” And she knew it. That’s why she came uninvited. That’s why she spent a lot of money so others could see she was thankful to Jesus. If only Simon could know how much he had been forgiven!
That’s why Jesus told the parable. “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.” Now when Simon heard this parable which debtor do you think he would identify with? More importantly when it comes to the Fifth petition which debtor do you identify with? This is the key to practicing forgiveness. You need to see that Jesus has forgiven you, a lot. Like Simon we can also be better at seeing and being more bothered by the sins of others. Like the sinful woman we need to be better at acknowledging our own. We are bothered by others sexual sins like unfaithfulness. God is bothered when we are unfaithful to Him, when something or someone else has first place in our hearts. Seriously how often each day are we really thinking of God first? We deplore the murders and shootings that are happening on a daily basis in our city but we don’t hesitate to murder others with our words and shoot arrows at their character, wisdom and reputation. How big is your debt? It’s zero. Look to Jesus. He has forgiven you. Everything. Even what you haven’t done yet.
He’s also forgiven others. What do you think Simon felt when he heard Jesus say the sinful woman was forgiven? What would you think if you heard the now famous “Ladies of the Daylight” the prostitutes propositioning our pastors on the southside were forgiven? Would it help if you found out they were forced into prostitution by their pimp who hooked them on heroin and used that to control them? What if they’d gotten in willingly? Does it make a difference? Sin is sin. And forgiveness is forgiveness. What about that person you thought of before? You know the one that has hurt you? Look to Jesus. When he was on the cross He was punished for their sins too. Paid in full does not just apply to you and me, good people, like Simon. Ooh, maybe we don’t want to be included with him. Come to think of it, if we had to be like someone in this account, we’d rather be the sinful woman because she was actually the forgiven woman.
That’s what moved her to show love for Jesus even though it was hard and it cost her. And that’s what enables us to forgive others too, even though it’s hard and costs us. When you forgive others you are not saying what they did was right. When you forgive others your pain and hurt and memories don’t automatically go away. When you forgive others it’s not always one and done. You may have to keep forgiving them in your mind because you remember. When you forgive others you are not giving them permission to sin against you again any more than Jesus’ forgiveness of us is permission to keep on sinning. When you forgive you are letting go of your desire to see them pay. When you forgive you give the matter over to God to take care of. Hopefully people who sin against us will apologize just like hopefully we are apologizing to others. But even if they don’t we can forgive. Look to Jesus. Look to Jesus who forgave the men who crucified Him. Ask His help. He’s helped others. He helped Joseph. Think of the years of hurt in slavery and prison that those brothers put Joseph through. He was able to forgive. He trusted God who worked it for good. He helped Stephen who forgave the men who were stoning Him. Look to Jesus. The forgiven can forgive and in the way that Jesus always works obedience is blessed. When we forgive others the hurt and resentment that rolls around in our hearts when we don’t forgive and holds us back from following Christ and having peace disappear.
Brothers and sisters, it was love for Jesus and thankfulness for her forgiveness that moved this sinful woman to do something hard. Go into that room with all those men looking at her with those judging eyes. But she had been forgiven much and so she loved Jesus much. Love and thankfulness for Jesus will help us sinful men and woman to do hard things, things we may not want to like forgiving those who have hurt us. Can we pray “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” and not be scared and really mean it. Yes we can. Look to Jesus. Amen.