Luke 7:36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisees house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisees house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this,he spoke to himself, saying, This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.
40 And Jesus answered and said to him, Simon, I have something to say to you.
So he said, Teacher, say it.
41 There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose the one whom he forgave more.
And He said to him, You have rightly judged. 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.
48 Then He said to her, Your sins are forgiven.
49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, Who is this who even forgives sins?
50 Then He said to the woman, Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.
vs 36 . . . one of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him. This was not strange. He ate at the home of many pharisees. Jesus was in a lot of senses, a Pharisee . . . his style of teaching and preaching, his model of discipleship, and his belief in the supernatural intervention of God, which he demonstrated through his miracles.
But we will learn that this pharisee invited him over to check him out, to get a feel for who he was, not because he knew who he was. So he doesnt offer Jesus the customary greeting of a kiss on the cheek, or any water with which to wash his feet, or any oil with which to anoint his head. He simply offers him a place at the table. Hes too busy trying to figure out how he feels about Jesus to realize that hes invited him into his house as a guest, but is treating him as a stranger.
vs 37 . . . And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisees house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.
This was strange. How did this kind of woman even make it into this Pharisees house? She wouldve been stopped at the door and not allowed in.
This woman was like the woman with the issue of blood . . . when youre desperate, youll find a way to do anything!
This woman was desperate, not to get something from Jesus, but to express to him her heartfelt gratitude and love.
It says that she stood at his feel behind him weeping. When she actually entered his presence she was overcome with gratitude.
Then she fell down at his feet and began to wash his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and she kissed his feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil . . . which means she had to break open the alabaster flask and pour it out on his feet.
Notice she is concentrating on his feet . . . She is presenting herself as lower than the lowliest servant. Shes not massaging his shoulders or his hands . . . she wouldnt dare! Even the lowliest servant was not ever asked to wash the feet of his master. The feet were considered the lowliest, nastiest part of the body. They wore sandals and walked everywhere, and there was all kinds of nastiness out on the road. Servants were like, uh uh!
But this woman was so appreciative that when she went to serve Jesus, she didnt look for the big task . . . she didnt ask to greet him at the door and seat him . . . she didnt ask for the job of the head cook . . . she didnt care about getting a title, or a high-level position in the church . . . she took for herself the lowliest duty she could find; that was the only one she felt qualified for.
39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this,he spoke to himself, saying, This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.
Once again, this Pharisee is still scoping Jesus out, trying to determine precisely how much honor to afford him. He only invited him because he was popular, and he wanted to be seen eating with the popular guy. It was more about the honor of the Pharisee than it was about the honor of Jesus. And so when he sees this woman, he discerns her way of life in an instant! He knows that this woman is a sinner. But Jesus doesnt seem to know it, so he immediately thinks Jesus doesnt live up to the hype.
Now the parable (vs 40-42): A creditor forgives 2 debts; one of $50 and the other of $500. Which debtor will love the creditor more? The one forgiven of more. You have rightly judged. He hadnt rightly judged in regard to Jesus.
vs 44-46 – you gave me no water/she gave me her tears. you gave me no kiss/she has not ceased to kiss me. you gave me no oil/she has anointed my feet.
Bam! Simon, you thought to yourself that if I was a prophet Id have better discernment about the woman who is touching me. In fact, I know not only the heart of the woman who is touching me, but I know your heart as well!
47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.
The one who has been forgiven little, loves little. The one who loves little, serves little. The one who has been forgiven much, loves much. The one who loves much, serves much. The principle that Jesus teaches in this passage is that service to the Lord should rightly flow out of love for the Lord, and love for the Lord rightly flows out of the knowledge of the enormity of the debt of sin that weve been forgiven of.
This woman was forgiven of much . . . we dont know when Jesus encountered her, but somewhere somehow she met him and experienced the power of his forgiveness. But Simon did the bare minimum for Jesus. He obviously had very little love for Jesus, and definitely had no desire to serve him.
At first glance we might be tempted to believe that Jesus is saying that in order to truly love him we would have to have been forgiven of some super gross and heinous sin. The ones with the highest potential for loving and serving Jesus are murderers, thieves, rapists, etc. But this is not the case.
The woman was not a greater sinner than Simon the Pharisee; the woman had a greater awareness of the enormity of what she had been forgiven of than Simon did. The difference between this woman and Simon was that she knew she was a sinner, and he thought he was righteous.
You cant love the Lord and think you are righteous in yourself at the same time. Self-righteousness is the state of those who are ignorant of the enormity of their own sin. The self-righteous person has never stopped to marvel at how wonderful the grace of God is . . . how priceless his unfailing love!
If youve never stood amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene and wondered how he could love you, a sinner condemned unclean, you are self-righteous!
But when I stop to think about the fact that he has forgiven me, he has loved me despite my failures . . . and no Ive never killed anybody, no I didnt sleep around, no I was never a drunkard or a drug addict . . . but my sin is no smaller than anyone elses. Before God all sin is heinous sin, and until you get a revelation of that, youll always feel like God owes you something, or that when God blesses you hes simply giving you what youve earned!
But when God reveals to you just how deep his grace is, how wonderful his love is . . . and you realize that youve been forgiven . . . thats where you discover just how much it is possible for us to love God.
48 Then He said to her, Your sins are forgiven. 49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, Who is this who even forgives sins? 50 Then He said to the woman, Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.
He is now only speaking to the woman. He cares little about the fact that the people at the table are mortified by what they are hearing. You think you have the power to forgive sins? Hes not sensitive to the judgments of the men at the table. Hes consumed with the love of the woman at his feet.
In fact, he turned his gaze upon the woman from the moment he finished the parable.
Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.
He didnt visit Simons house for Simon. He knew that Simon didnt know who he was. He was there for the woman. At the end of the day, Gods gaze is fixed only upon those who recognize the power of his forgiveness . . . whos hearts explode with love for him in response.