Luke 7:36-50 (NIV)
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
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.”
Simon the Pharisee doubted that Jesus was a prophet because he thought that Jesus was unable to see this woman’s heart. But Jesus has no problem seeing hearts—He tells Simon the Pharisee exactly what is on his heart.
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?
What do we see as we look at people? Here, Simon the Pharisee did not see the woman as she was (a humble sinner seeking forgiveness, pouring out love for Jesus) for he was looking at her as she had been (a notorious sinner). Oh, may we have Christ-like eyes and see the good in people!
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.”
Of the works done in this chapter, this is the greatest. Sickness that is healed (as in the centurion’s servant), or life that is restored (as in the widow’s son) are not permanent works of healing, because those bodies will one day die again. But sins that are forgiven are forgiven forever.
HERE Ken Medema sings his beautiful arrangement of one of my favorite hymns, “Jesus, Lover of my Soul.” Imagine how wonderful for this woman to receive from Jesus a love that was real and true! This song was originally written by Charles Wesley, a prolific hymn writer, who also wrote “Ye Servants of God, your Master Proclaim,” “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus,” “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” “O, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”