A Sinful Woman Forgiven

During the early days of the Salvation Army, William Booth and his associates were bitterly attacked in the press by religious leaders and government leaders alike. Whenever his son, Bramwell, showed Booth a newspaper attack, the General would reply, “Bramwell, fifty years … More



Jesus was invited to a meal in a Pharisee’s home (v. 36). Whether this scene takes place at Capernaum, Nain or some other city, we do not know. We do know that this event was a living illustration of the Pharisee’s hypocrisy (v. 39). Luke shows Jesus at the dinner table of Simon the Pharisee. Our Lord did not turn down invitations, even though He knew there was some ulterior motive in inviting Him. Pharisees needed the Word of God just like everyone else.

Outside the door was a woman of the streets who was waiting and watching for a time when the servants’ backs were turned, and she could slip in to sit at Jesus’ feet (vv. 37-38). Her sins are not named, but we get the impression she was an immoral woman with a bad reputation. A woman of this type would not be welcomed in the house of Simon the Pharisee. Simon was no doubt embarrassed both for himself and for his guests.

Simon was thinking that Jesus was not exhibiting much discernment, as a great prophet, if He allowed a sinful woman to anoint His feet. Jesus proved that He was indeed a prophet by reading Simon’s thought and revealing his needs. He shares a parable that states that it is not the amount of sin in a person’s heart but that any sin makes a person spiritually bankrupt. Simon was guilty of the sins of the spirit, especially pride, while the woman was guilty of the sins of the flesh. The woman repented of her sins and put her faith in Christ while the Pharisee refused. The Pharisees believed that only God could forgive sin, so they wondered why this man Jesus was saying that the woman’s sins were forgiven (vv. 43-50). They did not grasp the fact that Jesus was indeed God.


When it comes to risking my reputation for a “questionable” character, what will I do?

Luke 7:36-50 (English Standard Version)

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner." And Jesus answering said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he answered, "Say it, Teacher." "A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon answered, "The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt." And he said to him, "You have judged rightly." Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven--for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little." And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?" And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

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