In this week’s story, Luke paints a dramatic picture of two people who claim to be interested in Jesus, who want to know him, and want to hear what he has to say. By the end of the story though, these two people look very different— one is transformed, full of assurance and joy, and understanding the grace freely given to her. The other leaves unchanged, condemned and confused.
So the question of this story that we must ask ourselves is: which person are you? Are you more like the woman, who is profoundly aware of her sin, who sees Jesus as her Savior, and who is fully aware of her need for his grace? Or, are you more like Simon, who sees Jesus as an interesting religious figure, who offers little more than general spiritual guidance?
Ultimately, we can answer this question by looking at our lives and how we respond to the situations we find ourselves in. Is your life an outpouring of love, generosity, extravagance like this woman? Or, like Simon, do you respond in judgment and anger? Do you harbor an us-versus-them attitude, with an inability to understand the grace that you yourself need?
This Sunday, we’ll explore this question together, and invite you into how you may know Jesus like this woman knew Jesus.
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33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children."
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 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.
39 When 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.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? 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. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”