Luke 7 The Voice (VOICE)
In addition to teaching and healing, Jesus also gathers disciples, who are simply students or apprentices. Their classroom is the world—hillsides and beaches, homes and country roads, fields and city streets. Their subject is life—life in the kingdom of God. Jesus has many students, both men and women, but He forms a special inner circle known as “the twelve.” The number “twelve” is highly symbolic because the Jewish people were originally composed of twelve tribes. However, over the centuries, some of the tribes were decimated. By calling together a new twelve, Jesus seems to be dramatizing a new beginning for the people of God. The original twelve tribes found their identity in the law of Moses, but now Jesus is giving a new way of life for His twelve to learn and follow.
7 Jesus shared all these sayings with the crowd that day on the plain. When He was finished, He went into the town of Capernaum. 2 There, a Centurion had a slave he loved dearly. The slave was sick—about to die— 3 so when the Centurion heard about Jesus, he contacted some Jewish elders. He sent them to ask Jesus to come and heal his dear slave. 4 With great emotion and respect, the elders presented their request to Jesus.
Jewish Elders: This man is worthy of Your help. It’s true that he’s a Centurion, 5 but he loves our nation. In fact, he paid for our synagogue to be built.
6 So Jesus accompanied them. When they approached the Centurion’s home, the Centurion sent out some friends to bring a message to Jesus.
Message of the Centurion: Lord, don’t go to the trouble of coming inside. I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. 7 That’s why I sent others with my request. Just say the word, and that will be enough to heal my servant. 8 I understand how authority works, being under authority myself and having soldiers under my authority. I command to one, “Go,” and he goes. I say to another, “Come,” and he comes. I say to my slave, “Do this,” and he obeys me.
9 Jesus was deeply impressed when He heard this. He turned to the crowd that followed Him.
John, it seems, is having second thoughts. Is Jesus really the One we have expected? Is He the Anointed One? But who can blame John for these doubts? After all, John is in prison, unjustly held by a corrupt, immoral ruler. Ultimately the desert prophet will have his head severed from his body when the drunken, lusty king makes a silly promise in front of dinner guests. So who can blame John for seeking assurance from the Lord? Jesus, realizing fully the kinds of expectations others have, gently reminds John and his disciples of the Scriptures: “the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead live, and the poor receive the good news.” Luke doesn’t say how John responds to the report as he nears his own end. What is clear is that Jesus has the utmost respect for His colleague and cousin. He doesn’t reject him for his doubts but tries to send him reassurance.
Jesus: Listen, everyone. This outsider, this Roman, has more faith than I have found even among our own Jewish people.
10 The friends of the Centurion returned home, and they found the slave was completely healed.
11 It wasn’t long after this when Jesus entered a city called Nain. Again all of His disciples accompanied Him, along with a huge crowd. 12 He was coming near the gate of the city as a corpse was being carried out. This man was the only child and support of his widowed mother, and she was accompanied by a large funeral crowd.
13 As soon as the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her.
Jesus: Don’t weep.
14 Then He came to the stretcher, and those carrying it stood still.
Jesus: Young man, listen! Get up!
15 The dead man immediately sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother, 16 and everyone was both shocked and jubilant. They praised God.
Funeral Crowd: A tremendous prophet has arisen in our midst! God has visited His people!
17 News of Jesus spread across the whole province of Judea and beyond to the surrounding regions. 18 When these reports reached John’s disciples, they brought news to John himself, who was known for his preaching and ritual cleansing.[a] 19 John sent two of his disciples to ask the Lord, “Are You the Promised One, or shall we keep looking for someone else?”
20 They came to Jesus and asked their question exactly as directed by John the Baptist.
21 Before He answered John’s messengers, Jesus cured many from various diseases, health conditions, and evil spirits. He even caused many blind people to regain their sight.
Jesus (to John’s disciples): 22 Go and tell John what you’ve witnessed with your own eyes and ears: the blind are seeing again, the lame are walking again, the lepers are clean again, the deaf hear again, the dead live again, and good news is preached to the poor.[b] 23 Whoever is not offended by Me is blessed indeed.
24 When John’s messengers left, Jesus talked to the crowds about John.
Jesus: When you went out into the wilderness to see John, what were you expecting? A reed shaking in the wind? 25 What were you looking for? A man in expensive clothing? Look, if you were looking for fancy clothes and luxurious living, you went to the wrong place—you should have gone to the kings’ courts, not to the wilderness! 26 What were you seeking? A prophet? Ah yes, that’s what John is, and even more than a prophet. 27 The prophet Malachi was talking about John when he wrote,
I will send My messenger before You,
28 Listen, there is no human being greater than this man, John the Baptist. Yet even the least significant person in the coming kingdom of God is greater than John.
29 The common people and tax collectors heard God’s own wisdom in Jesus’ assessment of John because they had been ritually cleansed through baptism by John. 30 But the Pharisees and religious scholars hardened their hearts and turned their backs on God’s purposes for them because they had refused John’s baptism.[d]
Jesus: 31 The people of this generation—what are they like? To what can they be compared? 32 I’ll tell you: they’re like spoiled kids sitting in the marketplace playing games, calling out,
We played the pipes for you,
33 You can’t win with this generation. John the Baptist comes along, fasting and abstaining from wine, and you say, “This guy is demon-possessed!” 34 The Son of Man comes along, feasting and drinking wine, and you say, “This guy is a glutton and a drunk, a friend of scoundrels and tax collectors!” 35 Well, wisdom’s true children know wisdom when they hear it.
36-40 Once a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to be a guest for a meal.
Just as Jesus enters the man’s home and takes His place at the table, a woman from the city—notorious as a woman of ill repute—follows Him in. She has heard that Jesus will be at the Pharisee’s home, so she comes in and approaches Him, carrying an alabaster flask of perfumed oil. Then she begins to cry, she kneels down so her tears fall on Jesus’ feet, and she starts wiping His feet with her own hair. Then she actually kisses His feet, and she pours the perfumed oil on them.
Simon (thinking): Now I know this guy is a fraud. If He were a real prophet, He would have known this woman is a sinner and He would never let her get near Him, much less touch Him . . . or kiss Him!
Jesus (knowing what the Pharisee is thinking): Simon, I want to tell you a story.
Simon: Tell me, Teacher.
Jesus: 41 Two men owed a certain lender a lot of money. One owed 100 weeks’ wages, and the other owed 10 weeks’ wages. 42 Both men defaulted on their loans, but the lender forgave them both. Here’s a question for you: which man will love the lender more?
Simon: 43 Well, I guess it would be the one who was forgiven more.
Jesus: Good answer.
44-46 Now Jesus turns around so He’s facing the woman, although He’s still speaking to Simon.
Jesus: Do you see this woman here? It’s kind of funny. I entered your home, and you didn’t provide a basin of water so I could wash the road dust from My feet. You didn’t give Me a customary kiss of greeting and welcome. You didn’t offer Me the common courtesy of providing oil to brighten My face. But this woman has wet My feet with her own tears and washed them with her own hair. She hasn’t stopped kissing My feet since I came in. And she has applied perfumed oil to My feet. 47 This woman has been forgiven much, and she is showing much love. But the person who has shown little love shows how little forgiveness he has received.
48 (to the woman) Your sins are forgiven.
Simon and Friends (muttering among themselves): 49 Who does this guy think He is? He has the audacity to claim the authority to forgive sins?
Jesus (to the woman): 50 Your faith has liberated you. Go in peace.
Luke 7 New International Version (NIV)
The Faith of the Centurion
7 When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son
11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
Jesus and John the Baptist
18 John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19 he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”
21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)
31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
“‘We played the pipe for you,
33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 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.
39 When 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.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[c] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then 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. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”