With my whole heart, heavenly Father, I praise you. You are the God of my salvation.
Read LUKE 7:36-50
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
- Luke 7:41 A denarius was the usual daily wage of a day laborer (see Matt. 20:2).
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
In every moment of your life, ask for a fresh revelation of what Jesus has done on the cross, of how much you have been forgiven.
In Jesus’ day, dinner guests would recline on couches with their heads near the table, propped up on one elbow and stretching their feet out behind them. This position allows the ‘sinful’ woman (v 37) to anoint Jesus’ feet easily, without approaching the table. This is an intimate and scandalous act, which quickly draws the attention of everyone at the dinner. Jesus uses the moment to make a memorable point. He draws attention to Simon, his Pharisee host, who has apparently committed several faux pas. Luke again contrasts the Pharisees with sinners – and the sinners come out ahead.1
Walking the dusty roads in sandals would lead to dirty feet and it was customary to wash a guest’s feet. It would also be expected to anoint their head with oil and offer them a kiss of greeting. The fact that Simon fails to do this is certainly a significant cultural slight. The contrast with the woman is vivid – she washes Jesus’ feet with her own tears, dries them with her hair, kisses them in greeting and anoints them with expensive perfume. Her acts of welcome and gratitude clearly move Jesus and her sins are forgiven, rather than the Pharisee’s.
Luke often contrasts the actions of religious leaders, whom the reader would expect to receive Jesus’ favor and blessing, with the actions of immoral people, who consistently are the focus of Jesus’ gracious activity. The rationale is simple: ‘whoever has been forgiven little loves little’ (v 47), and vice versa. There is a direct correlation between our awareness of how much God has forgiven us and our ability to express authentic love and gratitude to him, which the woman vividly illustrates.
Seek evidence of God’s extravagant forgiveness in your life. What is a response of extravagant love, one that is wastefully indulgent toward our Lord?
God, thank you that, because of Christ, I can be forgiven. With the psalmist I pray that you will create a pure heart in me; give me a new spirit that is faithful to you.
1 Cf Luke 5:29–32
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