Summary: We learn about the wonderful response of a lost sinner who has found true forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
Dr. Luke wrote a book we call The Gospel of Luke in order to show that Jesus is indeed the promised Christ, the one sent by God to seek and to save lost sinners (Luke 19:10).
In Luke 7:36-50 we read about the wonderful response of a lost sinner who has found true forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
Let’s read about a woman anointing Jesus’ feet in Luke 7:36-50:
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”
41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50)
During the 3rd century AD a dreadful plague swept through the city of Alexandria in Egypt. According to Dionysius the Great, it was the Christians who loved and cared for the sick, even at the cost of their own lives. He wrote:
Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy. . . . Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead.
It was the Christians who showed astonishing love during those horrifying days. Dionysius went on to say, “The heathen behaved in the very opposite way. At the first onset of the disease, they pushed the sufferers away and fled from their dearest, throwing them into the roads before they were dead, and treated unburied corpses as dirt, hoping thereby to avoid the spread and contagion of the fatal disease.” Even the famous physician, Dr. Galen, fled the city in fear!
What made the difference? Why did Christians love and care for the sick and dying? The reason is that the Christians loved others because they had been forgiven. A life of astonishing love is the wonderful response of lost sinners who have found true forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
We see this truth beautifully expressed in the incident of a woman anointing Jesus’ feet as set forth in Luke 7:36-50.
An analysis of the incident of a woman anointing Jesus’ feet in Luke 7:36-50 will show us the wonderful response of a lost sinner who has found true forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
This incident revolves around Jesus’ interaction with two main characters:
1. Jesus and the Sinful Woman (7:36-38)
2. Jesus and the Self-Righteous Man (7:39-50)
I. Jesus and the Sinful Woman (7:36-38)
First, let’s look at Jesus and the sinful woman.
Luke said that one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and so Jesus went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table (7:36).
Luke did not say why Simon the Pharisee wanted Jesus to eat with him. Perhaps he was trying to catch Jesus in some error. Perhaps he was curious to learn more about Jesus. Or perhaps it was his turn to invite the visiting preacher to eat in his home. Whatever the reason, Simon invited Jesus to eat with him, and Jesus accepted. Yes, Jesus was willing to eat with anyone . . . even a Pharisee!