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Bible Commentaries

Brown's Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 7

  1. Introduction
    READ: Isaiah 6:1-5
    1. In chapter 6, as we continue to go verse by verse, chapter by chapter through the Gospel of Luke, we have seen Jesus begin to dismantle the Pharisaical traditions; we heard the necessary conditions of the heart to come to Jesus when He taught the sermon on the plain; and last week we saw Jesus speak to us about our own heart condition with regards to how we treat others.
    2. This week we will see Jesus in action – we will see Him respond to faith, we will see Him bring Hope, and we will see what true love for Jesus can look like.
    3. Faith, hope and love. Paul tells us in 1Cor 13 that the greatest of these is love. But, we will see, that faith must come first, Jesus is the One who truly bring us Hope, and love comes through because of God.

Verses 1-50

  1. Jesus in Action
    1. Faith
      Luk 7:1-10 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. 2 And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. 3 And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: 5 For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. 6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: 7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. 8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.
      1. Religion is man reaching up to God… Christianity is God reaching down to man.
      2. The religious leaders, who look on the outward appearances, deemed this gentile Roman (both things make him less than desirable in a Jews eyes) to be worthy of Jesus’ attention.
      3. The Centurion, who has an inkling of his own heart… (remember, Isa 64:6 …all of our righteousness is like filthy rags) – this man deems himself unworthy to approach God incarnate.
      4. What this man, this roman soldier, does have is faith!
      5. Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
      6. Rom 8:24-25 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
      7. Hab 2:4b the just shall live by his faith. (Note: It doesn't say they will live by feeling. Nor does it say they will live by circumstances. The just will live by faith. Faith can make the difference between something happening and not happening.)
      8. Eph 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    2. Hope
      ​​​​​​​Luk 7:11-17 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, that a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17 And this rumor of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.
      1. Jesus had compassion on the woman…He saw her emotion distress and her physical despair.
      2. The woman had no hope of a life outside of begging – unless she had family that would provide for her.
      3. Jesus gave her Hope…He gave her back the son of her youth. He gave her a new and brighter future.
      4. He showed His goodness to her because that is who He is…He desires that none should perish and perhaps, this may have been the catalyst to be used that would save her soul and the soul of her son. The goodness of God leads us to repentance!
    3. When Things Go Wrong (Interlude)
      1. ​​​​​​​Luk 7:18-23 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things. 19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? 20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? 21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. 22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. 23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
        1. ​​​​​​​At this point…John had been put in prison by Herod and things were looking bleak.
        2. Jesus was not liberating Israel and driving out Rome – and John was faltering in his faith as what he thought would happen wasn’t…
        3. Isaiah 55 tells us that God’s ways and God’s thoughts are NOT like ours – we must take care to not put God in a box.
        4. Look at Jesus’ response – he points to the miracles that He had been doing: miracles that were confirming prophesy about Him and asking John to evaluate.
        5. Two awesome characteristics are shown here – 1) we must go to the Word and not our feelings or circumstances when we are questioning our lives; 2) Jesus was requiring John to decide and telling him what to do.
        6. That’s how God is with us…He presents Himself and allows us the free will to choose.
      2. Luke 7:24-29 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts. 26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. 27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. 29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
        1. Did you come looking for entertainment or someone to tickle your ears? What did you come to see when coming to John? Someone to amaze you?
        2. What you did see was a man focused on God…not conformed to this world, not seeking to please man but please God and fulfill his ministry.
        3. The obvious application is two-fold:
          1. Why do we come to church? For entertainment or to hear things we want to hear… or to hear the Word of God; to worship the God of all creation and to fellowship with His people.
          2. ​​​​​​​Do we boldly speak the Word of God as it is written or do we paraphrase it in such a way that it doesn’t offend or reflect badly upon ourselves? God is capable of taking His Word and accomplishing His purposes without any watering down on our part!
      3. Luke 7:30-35 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. 31 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? 32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, we have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. 33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. 34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! 35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.
        1. Those who reject God’s truth, His Word and His Son will find any excuse to justify themselves…and God lets them!
    4. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Love
      Luk 7:36-50 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. 37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
      1. This woman – a sinner – was a humble and broken woman. She has probably already encountered Jesus and found forgiveness…yet, she was still overwhelmed by His grace.
      2. The man who invited Jesus was a Pharisee – a prideful, arrogant, self-righteous religious leader. We see his judgmental, critical attitude through this story.
      3. Think of this story as not only a love story – Jesus towards the woman and the woman towards the Lord; it is also a study of contrasts…religion vs. relationship / law vs. grace.
      4. The Pharisee was self-righteousness, not humble towards man or God and didn’t even show Jesus the common hospitality and respect that was common in that day: water for washing the feet, oil for anointing and no kiss of greeting.
      5. The woman, though, was poor in spirit and mourned her condition. She understood the magnitude of forgiveness and grace that had been extended her and so, in gratitude, loved Jesus back with all that she was….to whom is forgiven much, loves much!
  2. Conclusion
    1. ​​​​​​​As we conclude…have we received the forgiveness of sins that only Jesus can provide?
    2. Have we considered the magnitude of our sin as it relates to our sinless Holy God?
    3. Isaiah, when he saw the Lord said, “Woe is me, I am a man undone, a man of unclean lips”. He saw his own unrighteousness, his own depravity – his sin the way the Lord sees it. All of us are in the same condition apart from Jesus.
    4. We can only be forgiven, find our salvation, and go to be with God forever through faith in Jesus. There is no other name in Heaven or Earth by which we can be saved.
    5. If we’re saved…what does our faith look like? Are we like the centurion? We can ask for more faith…
    6. What does our love for the Lord look like? Are we like the woman with the Alabaster box? Are we rich towards God? Are we totally devoted to Him: do we love Him and serve Him and seek His will above all else in our lives?
Copyright Statement
Brown's Commentary on the New Testament is reproduced by permission of author. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Brown, Jim. "Commentary on Luke 7". "Brown's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnc/luke-7.html. 2017.