A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin and sermon.




GATHERING SONG               “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”             red book # 807


KYRIE                                                                                                                           red book # 157

CANTICLE OF PRAISE                                                                                           red book # 167



2 SAMUEL 11:26—12:10, 13-15                         



LUKE 7:33-50

SERMON                                                                                                      Pastor Chris Halverson

Jesus is more than a prophet—he is the one who is to come

Act one, scene one of the play “Who is Jesus”—a Centurion’s slave is healed from afar—It is clear to everyone that the answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?” is that Jesus is the man who speaks with Authority.

Act two scene one—Two crowds, one tormented with grief over the death of a Widow’s son, one praising the Man who speaks with Authority, meet. Jesus and the Widow lock eyes—Jesus brings the dead son back to life. It is clear to everyone that the answer to the question “Who is Jesus” is that Jesus is a Great Prophet, like Moses or Elijah.

And Simon the Pharisee thinks the play is done—thinks it only had two acts. He’s confident he knows the ending and he knows what it means for Jesus to be a Prophet who speaks with Authority.

In fact, I think it’s safe to say, he assumes being a great prophet who speaks with authority is almost exactly like being a Pharisee, only more so.

He assumes these impressive qualification, these impressive titles and qualities of Jesus—are the same as the qualifications, titles, and qualities that Simon has.

Simon assumes if Jesus is good, right, and holy—he must hold the exact same opinions as he holds. In other words, he assumes Jesus is on his side, instead of wondering if he’s on Jesus’ side.

He knows the answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?” because he thinks the play is done—he thinks it only had two acts.

And yet, I ask for a third time, “Who is Jesus?”


“Who is Jesus?” Jesus isn’t that kind of prophet.

You see, Simon doesn’t realize the third act of this play, commonly called the 7th chapter of Luke, is dinner theater. He doesn’t realize there would be audience participation.

So, he invites this Prophet—this man Jesus, who he’s been watching with some interest, as he heals and saves along the stage of life.

Simon invites him to his house for dinner. Simon wants to make sure Jesus is neither

so holy he seems demonic, nor

so worldly he can be called a gluttonous drunk.

He wants to make sure Prophets with authority fit within his box.

But Jesus isn’t that kind of Prophet. Jesus doesn’t fit into boxes.

As quickly as everyone is seated, the curtains open for the third act—the show’s theme song breaks in, letting us know the commercial break is done.

And there comes a woman… of the city… you know… a sinner—strutting around Simon’s house like it is a stage. She bawls, fat tears tumbling from her face…onto this “Prophet’s” feet. She kisses and anoints those same dust encrusted feet.

Think about those props in this play—this third act—




and oils

—that’s what praise—that’s what gratitude—smells like, feels like, that’s what gratitude is. Excessive, embarrassing, and over the top.

And Simon sees that this “Prophet” this “Authority figure” doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t say “that’s unseemly woman.” He doesn’t stop her. He doesn’t chase her out of Simon’s house with a bull-whip.

because Jesus isn’t that kind of Prophet. Jesus doesn’t chase away sinners.

This scene before Simon—in his house—this bit of dinner theater—unsettles Simon. Unsettles him so much it was obvious.—You can see it on his face!

So, Jesus looks to him and says to his host: “two families have mortgages on their house. One owes 77,000 dollars (the New Jersey Equivalent to 500 denarii, the other 7,700 dollars. Both have fallen on hard times and can’t pay the bank. The bank forgives them both the total of their debt. Which family celebrates more?”

“Clearly the one who had a greater mortgage,” Simon replies, sourly saying his line—perhaps finally realizing he’s part of a play—this Christological Drama.

And that was when Jesus flipped the script on Simon—because that is the kind of Prophet he is. Jesus is a prophet that flips the script.

“Look then at this sinner, how joyful she is at being forgiven by me. How fully she’s celebrating her forgiveness—how much she loves me. She celebrates with her ointment, her tears, her hair, and her kisses.”

Simon nods—just barely. Because Jesus is certainly not his kind of Prophet.

“But look at you. You have been an inhospitable host—and not just to this woman you want to boot out of your home, but also to me—an honored guest you believe to be a Prophet who speaks with authority.”

“You think you have an in with me—you think I’m your kind of Prophet, and in thinking that, you don’t see your own sins.

In fact, because you think I’m your kind of Prophet you see other people’s sins as worse than your own.

She knows she’s a sinner and therefore she loves me. You don’t know you are a sinner, so you hardly even like me.” Says Jesus,

— because that’s the Kind of Prophet he is.

And with that, he shows himself to be more than a prophet by saying to this woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Everyone at the table murmurs—they had been so self-assured, but now none were at peace… none were at peace, except for the woman, the woman to whom Jesus said, “your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”—Because that’s the kind of prophet he is.

He’s the kind of prophet who cancels the debts of debtors and the sins of sinners.

He’s the kind of prophet who shares a joyful meal with those who hunger and are in misery.

He’s the kind of prophet who befriends the undesirable.

He’s the kind of prophet who brings life to the dead and bears death for the sake of the living.

He’s the kind of prophet whose authority comes from a gracious Father,

a prophet who is worthy of our trust.

And that’s not all!

Who is Jesus?

He is the Son of Man.

He is the one who forgives sins.

He is our righteousness, our anchor, our hope, our redemption, and our solid rock.

HYMN of the DAY                     “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”                   red book # 597






OFFERTORY                                       “As the Grains of Wheat”



COMMUNION SONGS                      “Lamb of God”

          Also, “Let There Be Peace On Earth”, red book # 658, red book # 759


SENDING SONG                           “Thanks Be To You”