Introduction: Jesus was invited to dine at a Pharisee’s home 36

36 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him. And He entered the Pharisee’s house, and reclined at the table.

  1. A woman entered and began to anoint His feet 37-38

37 And behold, there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, 38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with the perfume.

  • Sinner = someone who 1) did not participate in the rituals and disciples of the faith (Jewish backsliders), 2) someone who was morally stained with certain vices or crimes (prostitutes, adulterers, tax-gathers, etc.)
  1. The Pharisee criticized the woman and Jesus 39

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”

  1. Jesus addressed Simon’s criticism with an illustration of forgiveness 40-47

A.  A merciful moneylender forgave two debtors 40-42a

40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 “When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both.

B.  The debtor forgiven the greatest debt loved him the most 42b-43

Which of them therefore will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.”

C.  Jesus applied the illustration to Simon and the woman 44-47

1.  The water for His feet = common courtesy 44

44 And 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.

2.  A kiss of greeting = congenial greeting 45

45 “You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.

3.  Oil of anointing = blessing 46

46 “You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.

4.  Application: Forgiveness and Love 47

a.  Those forgiven of much, love much 47a

47 “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much;

b.  Those forgiven little, love little 47b

but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

  1. Jesus gave the woman forgiveness, assurance, and blessing 48-50

A.  Forgiveness 48-49

1.  He speaks of the forgiveness as an accomplished deed 48

48 And He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”

2.  Forgiving sins is the most upsetting thing Jesus did 49

49 And those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?”

B.  Assurance 50a

50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you;

C.  Blessing 50b

go in peace.”

Conclusion:  Today, what keeps us from being “forgiven much” and “loving much”?

  1. We are too much like Simon the Pharisee: superficial understanding of our own sin, satisfied with superficial relationship with Jesus, more likely to point out the sin in others rather than see it in ourselves.
  2. We are not enough like the woman who lived in that city:  We don’t follow her example of trust in Jesus, of open acknowledgement of our sin and need for Him, and of unabashed worship and expressions of love for Him.
  3. We are like the women and men of that city who did NOT go to Simon’s house:  Either overwhelmed by our sins, or in denial of our sinfulness and need for a Savior.