We’ve been going through the New Testament trying to come to a deeper understanding of the Trinity with an emphasis on Christ and how his contemporaries saw him. We’re in the gospel of Luke and we’re going to be in the seventh chapter tonight.
36Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38and 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. 39When 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.”
40Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44Then 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. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
This is an account of Jesus being in the house of Simon, who would be the creme de la creme. He would be the best of the best. If anyone in Israel wanted to know how to live a righteous life, they would probably be knocking on Simon’s door.
In to this event comes a sinful woman. She starts wiping Jesus’s feet with her tears. In that culture, Jesus would have been reclining on a couch and this would have been something in the open that everyone could see. It was also common for people to come in to other people’s houses on occasions like this.
Simon is disgusted and thinking “He doesn’t know this lady is a sinner!” Maybe there were some ladies it would have been seen as decent to have wash feet with hair, but not this one. Jesus knows what Simon is thinking and tells the great parable.
The point is clear. This lady recognizes who she is and sees herself as a sinner. Simon doesn’t and doesn’t think he owes the Lord that much. Even if he thought Jesus could forgive, he doesn’t think that he has that much to be forgiven of.
Which is usually a sure sign you have plenty you need to be forgiven of.
Instead, Jesus honors the lady and shames Simon. This would have been a huge contrast in Jesus’s time. Simon is not the righteous one. The lady is. Simon receives no pronouncement of forgiveness. The lady does. Jesus shames his host telling him that he hadn’t provided the way this lady had. This lady was a guest and had stooped to the lowest position to provide for Christ.
The guests in the end ask “Who is this who even forgives sins?”