The primary idea you need to keep revisiting during this Following Jesus Pathway is that we are following and being formed by Jesus. This pathway can be learned simply or in great depth. We trust that you as a leader know your people and the dynamics of your group well enough to adapt and impart this topic with grace and wisdom.
This guide is designed to help you and others follow and be formed by Jesus. Remember to keep it Jesus-Centered.
We pray that you will be Spirit-Led and Spirit- Empowered as you lead and learn together.
Brief Commentary and Context
(Answer this question here: What did this mean in the original context and how is it set in the larger story of the Bible?)
The Gift- ‘The Gift’ is a shorthand description used in the apostles' letters to the churches describing the lavish grace of God given to all who repent and place their trust in Jesus as Lord, believing the gospel. The gospel is who Jesus is and what he has done. ‘The Gift’ is what we freely receive in Christ and continually experience through the Holy Spirit!
Forgiveness cancels debt. When God forgives us, He doesn’t condone the wrongdoing or eliminate the consequences. He simply says, “I am no longer going to hold you accountable for the debt you’ve incurred against Me.” And it’s the same when we forgive one another. When we withhold forgiveness, we are keeping people in debt. But unlike a financial obligation, no one knows what repayment looks like. Holding a grudge is a way of saying, “You owe me something, but I’m not quite sure what it is.” Forgiveness cancels that debt.
Brief Commentary for Luke 7:36-50 A ‘Sinful’ Woman Forgiven
There are significant themes throughout out the Gospel of Luke. Like the other three gospels, Luke has some central ideas and themes he is drawing readers attention to in his account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Broadly speaking, Matthew’s Gospel highlights Jesus’s fulfillment of the Law and supports that Jesus is the promised Messiah to Israel. In Mark’s Gospel, we come face to face with the power and demonstration of the Kingdom of God in signs and wonders. The Apostle John gives us a creation/new creation account of Jesus, revealing the divine person and purposes of God through the eternal Son. And Luke begins to give us an account of How Emmanuel (God with us) engages the broken world around Him. These are not the only themes of the Gospels, but it does begin to give some keys of what to look for as we approach the text.
In Luke 7, Jesus has been invited to the house of a Pharisee named Simon. There are a number of Gospel accounts sharing encounters of Jesus with the religious leaders of his day. Most encounters are tense, charged with wordplay and traps set for Jesus to be caught in heresy and blasphemy, in hopes to condemn His ministry and convict the Man. There are a number of accounts, however, of Jesus having intimate exchanges with many leaders of Israel. He often met their genuine questions with compassion, all the while drawing them closer to God’s true love and intentions for the brokenness of the world through sin. It is unclear in Luke 7 of the motivation of Simon’s invitation, yet the fruit of the encounter was a revelation of the depths of God’s forgiveness of the broken, and an opportunity for those who speak for God to come into a greater knowing of God.
Jesus is invited into the home for a meal. He is not offered the customary blessings given to a guest. He is given no water to clean his feet or hands, having walked dusty roads to be at this meal. He is not embraced by his host, demonstrating a lack of welcome and joy to have Jesus in Simon’s presence. Though not always expected, anointing oil was used on the head of a guest in the home, giving honor to the guest; acknowledgment and statement of the value of the guest in the eyes of the host - Jesus was denied this. Jesus shows no sign of offense at this, but begins to engage Simon and the meal.
All the while, having heard that Jesus was near, a women known by her sin comes to the dinner, as well. We do not know why or how she was welcomed into the house, but the scriptures place her not only at the dinner party, but right behind the Lord. There must have been something in the testimony of Jesus’ ministry that gave this woman enough courage to present herself - a woman discarded by others, due to sin, drawing close to the very presence of Holiness. The hope of an encounter with Jesus gave her access to the gift of forgiveness he extends to all. All of this troubled Simon, wondering if this Man was truly holy, how could he tolerate sin incarnate so close to his person? Jesus welcomed this moment to teach Simon the very heart of God and the purpose of His own coming. The gift of God goes beyond sheer proximity to His goodness - it releases God’s goodness to us, cleansing us of all our guilt, shame, and brokenness - damage caused by sin. We experience His goodness and it changes us completely. The gift of God revealed in the Son is forgiveness for ALL. No matter the condition, Jesus is the remedy, freely giving to all who brave getting near him. Core Truths from the Topic and Summary Scripture
Summary Scripture: Ephesians 1:5-7- “He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22)
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalms 103:11-12)
Jesus turned to the woman and smiled, ‘Your sins are forgiven’, He said. ‘You trusted me. And God has rescued you!’”(Jesus Storybook Bible)
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Learn the Tool: The Gospel and the Gift
Extra Resources to help you Prepare
Anyone new in your home church?
Things to Consider:
Is the new individual, or family organically connecting with anyone in your home church? Suggest a coffee hang to begin a deeper connection, or consider having the individual/family over for an easy dinner to get to know them better.
Is the new individual, or family interested in receiving communication via text, or email? If so, have them email firstname.lastname@example.org with their name and phone number.
Do they plan to attend All Navah Gatherings? If yes and it is a new family, they can email email@example.com with their name, their children(s) name, DOB and grade to make for a smooth kids ministry check-in process.