UPDATE: I was wrong about something. It has been brought to my attention that the Simon in this passage is not Simon Peter, but a Pharisee. I apologize for my mistake. Thank you, Ian, for telling me.)
Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
“There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
– Luke 7:36-50 –
Can’t you just picture it? A woman — and not just any woman — but one who was known as a harlot — dared to come in the midst of all these learned and holy men, disrupting their dinner. She knew she would not be welcomed. She knew there would be those there who would look down upon her and despise her very nature.
Yet, it didn’t stop her from going to Jesus.
I can hear the voices and see the looks on the faces of her accusers: disdain, proud, self-righteous. She was in the way. Didn’t she realize that they had a very important dinner? Their plans were like many today who have guests speakers in churches: hopes of making them look good, hopes that they too could be part of the in crowd – just by having someone important in their midst.
I suppose some of them were even thinking they had a thing or two they could teach Jesus!
I suppose there may have been some there who in their hearts thought, this woman; this harlot, this woman of the world, is way out of line. Perhaps rebellious against the holy men. After all she was not invited. Who does she think she is by coming here and making such a scene? Wasting oil on this man’s feet. Stooping and washing His feet, drying His feet with her hair. How dare her! Why we had more important things planned!
Jesus knew her too. He knew who and what she was. Yes, she was a sinner, a harlot. And yet, this Jesus let her touch Him! I am almost certain the holy men thought to themselves, How dare him! He makes us look bad by letting such a vile woman touch Him!
If they did think such thoughts, they were right: He did make them look bad. For there was none there who was holy but Jesus. If no one else knew it, that woman knew it. She knew, because she was not comparing herself to the holy men of that day. She may have felt out of place there, never-the-less, it did not stop her from going to the One Person she knew who would have mercy upon her.
Jesus knew what was in each and every heart.
I love the way He ignored the holy religious leaders by asking Simon the question.
I love how Simon responded: He simply said, ”Teacher, say it.” I don’t know, but perhaps Simon was the only man in the room who was ready to hear what Jesus had to say. I believe He knew that whatever Jesus was going to say was going to be something to blow them all away. I believe He was just waiting to hear from no one but Jesus.
Then again, perhaps Jesus was looking right into Simon’s heart bringing conviction. I do not know.
So Jesus spoke. No one dared to question Him. Or challenge Him.
I believe that woman knew before she even entered the room, that this man, this Jesus, was her Redeemer.
Self-esteem teaches you must love yourself before you can love others. Really? Show me that in the Word of God. Prove it to me. You can’t because it is not true. What did Jesus say? He said, “ Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
Notice: He did not sugar coat her sins. He told them, yes, her sins were many. What must she have thought? Was she embarrassed? Did she care that He said these things openly about her? She could have jumped up, ran out the door and hid in shame. But she didn’t. She chose to stay. She KNEW there was no else to go.
If that were to happen in the modern day apostate church there would be many who would have told her, “Okie dokie, Jesus said you are forgiven but now come on over here to teacher/apostle/evangelist/prophet/pastor so-n-so and let them counsel you so you can learn how to develop some self-esteem. Your past is just wretched and now you must learn how to forgive yourself and we have just the right people to guide you.”
Bride of Christ, can some of you not see that this kind of mindset takes away from the work done on the Cross? It leads back to flesh. The flesh will ALWAYS reap corruption. There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. — Proverbs 14:12 –
The Cross will always point back to repentence, to Jesus, to His work done FOR us.
Note what Jesus did NOT say. He did not tell this precious woman, “Now, go learn to love yourself so you can learn to love others.” NO! THAT would have pointed back to herself. My goodness, can’t you see, she had had ENOUGH of herself. That is why she sought Jesus out.
He had forgiven her! Glory, glory, glory! Glory to the Redeemer! That was enough. It was more than enough!
What was her faith? Her faith was in nothing and no one but the God man whom she dared to stoop down and wash His feet. She KNEW who He was. She knew there was no where else to go. Her Forgiver. Her Lord. Her Redeemer.
I imagine she gave very little thought about her self-esteem after being forgiven! She walked out of there free! Free from her past! Free from her sins! Free from caring what others thought of her! Free! No longer bound by guilt or shame! For He whom the Son sets free, is free indeed!
CHOOSE THE CROSS. I tell you the truth…there is no other way!