The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Phil Hoyle.

Luke 7:36-50

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman

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."

Reflection

There's a story about two young fish that are swimming along, when an old fish passes them and says, "How’s the water?" The young fish continue to swim for a bit in silence, then one turns to the other and says, "What the heck is water?" 

Sometimes, we can be so used to our environment, that we don't even see what it's made of.
In this story, Simon, the pharisee is so focussed on the woman's sin and reputation, that he doesn't realise that he's in the same predicament as her.

My favourite thing of about this story is Simon saying to himself '*if* this man were a prophet he'd know about the woman's sin, and then Jesus turns round and shows he is a prophet, by knowing exactly what Simon was thinking to himself instead and reveals his sin of pride. Quite the turning of tables!

The thing is, over the years, I've heard lots of people share their faith stories, and in the past, I've been a little envious of some of them. I mean 'I grew up in the church and have always known God's love and forgiveness' is a good thing, but it's not going to bring in the crowds. Oh to have some dramatic lows, some technicolour sinning, the occasional criminal behaviour.

But no, that's silly.

I now realise that I've been really blessed to have been brought up knowing God. However, I have to acknowledge that this can make me prone to apathy. Sometimes, I don't remember exactly what God has done for me.

It would do us all well to remember - whether we are at church 5+ days a week, have been brought up in church, give all our money to good causes and volunteer till the cows come home, or if we struggle to do the right thing during the week, haven't been to church for years, and prayer for us is usually weeping and hoping God hears us - there's nothing any of us can do to make God love us less, and there's nothing we can do to make God love us more - Thanks God that he's saved us all.

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