There are very few events in our life that capture our complete, undivided attention. On an individual, personal level, the birth of a child, a funeral or a wedding are moments when we stop everything we’re doing and pay close attention. In general, a sporting event like the Super Bowl or a tragic event like 9/11 are moments when everyone wants to know what’s going on. Last week, we looked at the story in John 8:2-11 where a woman who had been caught in adultery was brought into the temple where Jesus was teaching. Today, we’ll examine another moment in scripture where everyone who is present wants to know what will happen next.
Setting the scene (Luke 7:36-40): Jesus is invited into the home of a Pharisee for a meal, and He accepts the invitation. A woman, who is a sinner, comes in, crying, washing Jesus’ feet with her tears and kissing His feet. The Pharisee, Simon, expected Jesus to reject the woman. In fact, he questions, in his mind, Jesus’ credentials. Knowing what was in Simon’s heart, Jesus offers to say something. And that is one element of this story we can’t miss: Jesus knows what’s in my heart and what’s in yours.
The Parable (v. 41-43): Two men owed money: 500 denarii and 50 denarii. The debtors could not repay, yet the creditor forgave them both and canceled the debt of both men. We all owe God; none of us can pay that back. He forgives sin freely; we do not pay it off. Jesus is relaying to Simon why this woman would react with such an emotional display of gratitude. She had been forgiven.
Jesus’ response to Simon (v. 44-47): Jesus rebukes Simon because Simon was seeking to do the minimum. But had not Simon invited Jesus into his home for a meal? What more could Jesus want? Simon wanted Jesus to eat in his home, but he had no understanding he needed Jesus. Simon even seemed embarrassed to offer basic hospitality to Jesus.
Jesus’ response to the woman (v. 48-50): Of all the people in this story, notice the person who doesn’t speak: the woman. She does not ask for forgiveness, grace or mercy. But Jesus is moved by what the woman is doing. She demonstrates her faith by her actions. She realized she was spiritually bankrupt. She realized she needed Jesus.
Who am I? Recognizing how much we need to be forgiven leads us to love much. Because our attitudes matter, as does our giving. How we see Jesus will determine what we give to Jesus. The sinful woman gave Jesus her time and heart, and gave up her comfort and pride. She saw herself as a sinner in need of a Savior.