Christ Forgives Sinners
And 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 the Pharisee desired to have Jesus come to sit at meat with him. This in itself is a good thing to do. Simon and others in the city had heard of Jesus and His teachings, and Simon wanted to listen and discuss with Jesus. However, when we note what happened during the meal, it's plain to see where the faith of Simon was. He, like all the Pharisees lived a self-righteous life. Simon felt that through his good works he had attained a higher status than this sinful woman. Yet, God does not give faith according to social status or good works but to those who are seeking His kingdom. Simon wondered to himself why Jesus would allow such a person of great sin to touch Him. He was like the priest and the Levite (Luke 10:30–36) in the parable of the good Samaritan – he would not associate with people of a lower class.
Jesus came into this world not to call the righteous, but to call sinners 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 sinful woman heard that Jesus was in the city, she desired to see Him. Her faith was weak, and she felt her unworthiness before Jesus and knelt weeping at His feet. Serving Him in this lowly manner was all that she felt she could do. Since her sins were forgiven, she felt such great love towards her Saviour that she anointed His feet with ointment. Let us also pray to the heavenly Father that He would give us faith like this sinful woman’s, to serve in His kingdom according to gifts He has given.
To explain to the Pharisee, Jesus uses a short parable (v. 41,42) about forgiveness and love. One debtor owed fifty pence and the other owed ten times that. They were both forgiven the entire debt when they couldn't pay. Jesus asks the Pharisee which one will love him the most? Simon hesitantly answers “he to whom he forgave most.” This was the correct answer. When we can see through eyes of faith, that the debt of our sins which we are unable to pay for were paid for by the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, we love much as well. Through faith we have love and desire to show this love to those around us.
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 mankind. Instead, they murmured within 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 onto us, holding it near and dear to us.