When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39 NLT)
At this point in the story, Jesus has already done plenty to upset people in positions of authority. Back in chapter 6, after a confrontation about the Sabbath Luke says that, “the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.” My question this morning is simply this: Why did this man who was a Pharisee invite Jesus over for dinner? There are certainly plenty of other things to talk about in this story, but today I am simply wondering why? Did he invite Jesus over to try to gain insight on Jesus master plan? So he and his Pharisee friends could thwart those plans? Was he just a hospitable bloke who wanted to make his own judgement about Jesus? Does he think that maybe he could actually tame this wild prophet and maybe convince him to join their team? Is there something that he wants or needs that he thinks Jesus might be able to provide? Why? If he hadn’t invited Jesus to dinner, then we likely wouldn’t have record of this beautiful encounter between Jesus and the woman… so I am thankful that he did, but I still want to know why? Unfortunately I can’t answer this question. I have no idea, but for me, this is an important question because it forces me to ask the same kind of questions about myself.
Why do I want Jesus in my life? Or maybe the better question is, why do I want to be in HIS life? Why do I want him near? Do I want Jesus in my life just because of what I think he can do for me? Or because I’m a pastor, and it’s kind of a job requirement? Do I want Jesus in my life just because of what he can do for me? Or do I think that somehow Jesus can’t do what Jesus does without my help? Following Jesus often means going with him to unexpected and difficult places, so why would I want to be in his life? Why?
If I’m being honest, how I answer this question probably changes somewhat from day to day. But at the end of the day it comes down to this: I want to be in Jesus life because (as my friend Bill puts it) he is hopelessly, helplessly, madly in love with me… and no matter where being part of Jesus’ life may lead, this love never fails. It never falls short. It never leaves me wanting. That sounds like preacher talk, but its true. But there’s more. As I’m learning to follow Jesus and as my life is becoming different, I am also beginning to see that being with Jesus means that the lives of those in my circle of influence are changing as well. Why do I want to be in Jesus’ life? As Jesus expresses himself both in me and through me, I get a front row seat to coming of the kingdom of God! Actually its better than that. I get to join in! That’s why!