Summary: A plea to become like the forgiving Christ in a rejecting world
36One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. 37Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume 38and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. 39When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him."
40Jesus said to him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."
"Oh? Tell me."
41"Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. 42Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?"
43Simon answered, "I suppose the one who was forgiven the most."
"That’s right," said Jesus. 44Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, "Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. 45You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. 46You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. 47Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal."
48Then he spoke to her: "I forgive your sins."
49That set the dinner guests talking behind his back: "Who does he think he is, forgiving sins!"
50He ignored them and said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."
Luke 7:36-50 (MSG)
What could Jesus do with Sinful People?
I think we all know the answer to this question. It is so simple, He would accept love and forgive the sinner who comes to Him. This is so simple, yet it still escapes us at times... Let us revisit what happened in this story...
Jesus could have…
1. Rejected the woman with the questionable morals/past. It sure didn’t look “right and proper” at all. Did He condemn?
2. Recoiled at the sight of the woman letting down her hair – that’s truly taboo in polite company. It’s a prostitute manoeuvre, to let down the hair and using, the perfume, gasp, that’s the tool of her trade. Did He recoil?
3. Responded the way the Pharisee did (v.39) Did He?
4. Reproved the woman, and so saved face, and not be subjected to criticism (v.49) Did He?
5. Remonstrated the woman, “why waste the perfume?” Did He?
But what really happened is this…
A. Look at what Jesus did…
1. Received her when no one gave her a thought.
2. Responded to her love and tears of joy, when everyone distanced themselves with a convenient label (v.39)
3. Recognized her need and said “I forgive your sins” (v.48).
4. Rejected the labels the evaluation of the “elite” (v.49).
5. Restored the woman “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (v.50).
47Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal."
The emotional outpouring of gratitude according to Jesus is totally cool to Jesus, not to the elite, but it sure was cool for Jesus. Jesus loved the woman and her response to Him and His reception of the worship and thanks shows us God is to be believed that He came and seek and save what is lost! Can you see how it is so awesome of Jesus to remind the Pharisee the impressiveness of this notorious woman’s gratitude…
"Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. 45You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. 46You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume
Remember what the Bible said…
16"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. 17God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. 18Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. John 3:16-18 (MSG)