Sample Sermon Outline: Hope for the Rejected (Luke 7:36-50)

This sermon outline is offered as one of many that could be adapted and used in a sermon series on preaching hope. (click here for more preaching resources)


Open with a story/ Illustration

  • your own story of rejection/social ostracism, being judged and dismissed by others in some setting. It hurts, it is embarrassing, you feel very small.
  • A social setting where you turned up in wrong clothes? Crowd is not your crowd… embarrassing, awkward moment ‘did someone say KFC?’

We can be so judgmental, look down noses at people, make others feel small, rejected, nothing … hopeless
… But that is not how Jesus sees people …
This is a story from Luke of the day Jesus was invited to a dinner party and it was very embarrassing but not for who you might have thought

The Question To Pose

A story of HOPE especially for those feeling rejected, despised, looked down on by society but also a story that exposes HARD HEARTS, a story that shows us just who Jesus is and what he came to do.

When people say Jesus is friend of sinners .. is it true?

When Jesus says come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest … does he mean all? Or just the impressive and good and upright and together people?

The Context

This is a surprising invitation given what has happened already with Jesus and Pharisees – Jesus is hanging out with all the wrong types, they want to get rid of Jesus!

The Events

v36 Jesus is in the house.

Probably a big open area where lots of people are wandering past. Waiters, onlookers, having a gawk at the A listers and the posh people eating.

vv37-38 An uninvited guest comes right into the middle of the action!
You can imagine the awkward silence in the room at this point.
She is a sinful woman.
weeping and sobbing and wetting his feet with her tears!
She uses her hair and wipes his feet (taboo in the culture in public)
She gets expensive perfume and rubs it on Jesus feet!
She kisses his feet! [dirty,etc] But that does not worry this woman!

What Simon and the Pharisees See

His judgement on the woman: v39 She is a sinful shameful woman – unclean.
His judgement on Jesus – unclean, not a prophet, not the Messiah.

What does Jesus see?

v40 is ‘you’ plural – not just Simon but all others even today like him
He knows Simons heart (tells us as readers actually he IS a prophet and even more than that!)

Jesus tells a little story … v41-43 .. asks Simon to ‘judge’

Jesus sees a woman who is a debtor but who deeply appreciates that debt being paid!
He sees a woman who knows she is a forgiven sinner now washed and cleansed.

He sees a woman who is overflowing with love for him who cancelled her debt!
They say love is blind but look at the lengths she goes to in showing her attitude of love and appreciation to Jesus .. especially in comparison with the dinner party host!
She is overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness to Jesus and goes to great lengths and great personal cost to show it .. no problem with the shame and dishonour and scorn of others

“She who has been forgiven much, loves much; he who has been forgiven little loves little”
She realized that she was a “500 denarii sinner” and that she was guilty
Almost certainly she had heard/encountered Jesus before and his message of forgiveness
Come to me all who are weary, heavy laden, can’t pay their debts … and I will give you rest and forgiveness and peace … so she came!

Have you ever been let off the hook ? Had a debt cancelled or a terrible situation turns out ok?

… don’t you feel so relieved?! It feels so good! As if life has just started again!

The bigger the problem the greater the relief …

e.g.: Thai boys in that cave rescue a few years back – dead and gone .. then suddenly rescued!

You will notice that Jesus does not overlook or simply ignore her sins
He says “her many sins” … he knows her life and what she was (!) and yet ‘forgiven’.

God alone can forgive sins…. Jesus is making a statement about who he is!
[explain how God can forgive .. the cross and atonement]


Is Jesus friend of sinners? You bet he is.
Does Jesus mean it when he says to you and to me ‘Come to me ALL’? You bet he does!
Does Jesus provide hope for the rejected and despised and outcast, those looked down upon as not good enough for God and church and religion? YOU bet he does!
Have you come?
Do you know you are a debtor?
No one too far gone .. come to him as this woman did and find forgiveness and hope.

But that is not all the story teaches us: Jesus sees Simon…

He who has been forgiven little loves little.
Very little love for Jesus because he did not think he has a problem only Jesus can fix!
There are lots of Simon’s in our society and sadly in here in our churches (even here today?)
Maybe an outward show of interest in Jesus but no love for him.
No debt to pay so no love and commitment shown.
Simon’s problem was that he did not think he was a debtor … he either thought he had done nothing wrong that needed forgiveness or he thought he could pay the debt himself.
Jesus has something to say to the Simon’s here today just as he did then
we are all debtors to God.
We are all sinners in need of salvation.
You love for Jesus (or indifference to him) says all about whether you know you are a debtor!
Simon was caught our by Jesus in his smug self righteousness and judgmemtalism.
Is Jesus seeing YOU today? A Simon?
Message is the same, humble yourself, recognize your debt and come to Jesus for mercy.

So the story here is a story of hope

Hope for sinners.
Hope for the rejected.
Hope for those others in society or the establishment look down on.
Hope for people like us here today.
Hope even for self righteous hypocrites – who will see their need and come.
Come to me ALL says Jesus.

Have you?

He who is forgiven much, loves much, he who is forgiven little loves little.