If you followed Jesus through Galilee, as did the 12 disciples, you would have been treated to truly “mind blowing” experiences.
— You could have overheard dialogue between representatives of a Roman centurion and Jesus.
When all was said and done, you would have heard Jesus describe the man’s faith: “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith” (Luke 7.9).
— Not too long after the centurion’s servant was healed by Jesus’ spoken word, you would have witnessed the raising of a widow from Nain’s son (Luke 7.11-17).
Suppose you were a “fly on the wall” at Simon the Pharisee’s dinner party. I doubt that Simon’s banquet included all 12 disciples, but you may have been able to listen to the proceedings from the vantage point of the courtyard.
If you were there, you certainly would have heard rumblings about a woman who gate-crashed the dinner and disrespected the guest of honor.
I’ve walked with Jesus since the summer of 1967. I haven’t seen people raised from the dead, but I have had the experience of a lifetime.
— I’ve seen Jesus put broken families back together.
— Multiple people have found that life with Jesus is infinitely better than any drug or drink.
— Big, scary men have become caring Sunday School teachers and loving family members.
— Very wealthy individuals have learned from Jesus the path to generosity and joy.
— More people than I can count have found abundant life on earth and the prospect of heaven through the activity of Jesus.
People who follow Jesus have experiences like mine and much more.
As we follow Jesus, we have an opportunity to learn his attitudes and actions.
A Message about Forgiveness and Love
Jesus used the woman’s outpouring of love to teach the dinner guests a lesson about love and forgiveness.
He began with a convincing analogy.
— Luke 7.41-42 – “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
“When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?”
A denarius was what a laborer was paid for a day’s work. One man owed the equivalent of 50 days work, while the other owed nearly a year and a half of work.
The analogy was obvious to Simon and he answered correctly, but Jesus wanted to convincingly drive the point home.
— Luke 7.44-46 – “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.
“You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet.
“You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.”
Simon didn’t see the woman. She was only a problem to Simon.
In addition, Simon didn’t honor Jesus and his other guests. He apparently provided the bare necessities for the banquet, but nothing more.
Before we think too harshly about Simon, let’s consider how we treat Jesus. Do we lavish our devotion on him, or do we think a short prayer and a little service should suffice?
One insightful lover of God made this observation about the woman’s devotion. The ointment she poured on Jesus covered her hands and hair. The smell of the perfume permeated the whole house.
What ever we give to Jesus, always gets on us. The aroma of our love and devotion will fill our homes.
Whatever we give to Jesus always seems to return to us as a blessing.
A Lesson in Forgiveness
Jesus ended this lesson with profound truths about forgiveness.
— Luke 7.47-50 – Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
The woman believed that Jesus would accept her and forgive her sins. She demonstrated her faith and love by coming to Jesus in a very bold act of devotion.
I believe the woman had already received Jesus’ forgiveness and deliverance from sin at another time that is not recorded in the Gospel.
It is my opinion that Jesus declared her forgiven for the sake of Simon and the other dinner guests. He wanted to confront them with the reality of God’s agenda through his ministry.
When Jesus told her to go in peace, he expressed God’s purpose for her life. His activity and her response allowed her to live in God’s shalom (peace).
Shalom is well-being that comes from living aligned to God and his purposes for life.
Rudy Ross and I have talked about the Bible for nearly 20 years. We do that each week and record our visits to be shown on YouTube. Please check out our videos on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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