Michael Ylioja | The Voice of Zion May 2021 --
One of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering him said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. – Luke 7:36–50
Simon, a Pharisee, desired to invite Jesus to come sit at meat with him. Simon and others in the city had heard of Jesus and His teachings. Simon wanted to listen and discuss with Jesus, which in itself is a good thing to do. However, when we note what happened during the meal, it is plain to see where Simon’s faith was.
Simon, like all Pharisees, lived a self-righteous life. He felt that through his good works he had attained a higher status than the sinful woman. God does not give faith according to social status or good works, but rather to those who seek His kingdom. Simon wondered why Jesus would allow such a sinful one to touch Him. He was like the priest and the Levite in the parable of the good Samaritan. He would not associate with people of what he perceived a lower class (Luke 10:30–36).
Jesus came into this world to call sinners – not the righteous – to repentance (Matt. 9:13). Jesus can see into our hearts just as He saw into the hearts of Simon and the sinful woman. When the woman heard Jesus was in the city, she desired to see Him. Her faith was weak and she felt her unworthiness before Jesus. She knelt weeping at His feet. Serving Him in this lowly manner was all she felt she could do. Since her sins were forgiven, she felt great love towards her Savior, and she anointed His feet with ointment. We can pray to the heavenly Father that He would give us faith like this sinful woman to serve in His kingdom with the gifts He has given.
Jesus uses a short parable (verses 41 and 42) to explain forgiveness and love. One debtor owed fifty pence and the other owed ten times that. Both were forgiven their entire debt when they couldn’t pay. Jesus asks Simon who will love Him most. Simon hesitantly gives the correct answer: the one whom Jesus forgave most.
Through eyes of faith we can see that the debt of our sins, for which we ourselves were unable to pay, was paid for in the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. We then love much as well. Through faith we have love and desire to show this love to those around us.
We Live Under Grace
Simon and the other guests that sat at meat with Jesus did not have true faith. They did not see or understand that Christ came into this world to save sin-fallen humankind. Instead they murmured among themselves, “Who is this that forgiveth sins also?” They lived under the law and believed they were saved by following the law. We live under grace and are saved by faith in the Lord Jesus by believing our sins forgiven. Simple faith saved this sinful woman, and it will also save us. Let us cling to that gift of faith that God has given unto us. May it always be near and dear to us!