This sermon was based on Luke 7:36-50.
A Sinful Woman Forgiven
Setting the Scene
Simon is a Pharisee, one of the Jewish law makers and upholders. They are already opposed to Jesus and yet Jesus is invited to his house for a meal.
As a guest and visitor to the town Simon would be expected to treat Jesus with a great deal of respect when he comes to his home, especially as this kind of meal is a public event. However this doesn’t happen and Jesus comes in without any of the formal greetings.
- Witnessing this deliberate attempt to humiliate Jesus would have been not just a couple of people from the synagogue, but a whole load of people who would have come along to check out this big social occasion. All of whom, distinctly aware of the tension of this moment, and waiting for what would unfurl next.
The woman was known to be a sinful woman, the people observing would have known who and what she was.
- In Jesus’ presence she is struck by her sin and she has also seen how he has been treated by Simon.
- This woman literally rains tears over his feet and uses her hair to dry them. Its difficult for us to recognise how scandalous this was. She then uses her expensive perfume to anoint Jesus feet.
Simon’s plan was to dishonour Jesus, so this woman’s honouring of Jesus obviously does not go down well with Simon or the other invited guests.
- Jesus tells the parable of the two debtors whose debts are pardoned. One who owes a little and the other who owes a great deal.
then He asks Simon at the end of verse 42, “Which of them will love him more?” Who’s going to have the greater love for the money lender, the greater love for the forgiver? Who’s going to have the greater love?
- Then Jesus brings it back to the woman. She had been forgiven. And the guilt was gone and the shame was gone and her life was different. Longings after holy things and righteous things began to occupy her heart and she was swept away with gratitude, swept away with affection and love for the One who had forgiven her. She acted as she did because she had been forgiven much.
Jesus is showing Simon what real transformation looks like. There was no other explanation for her complete change of behaviour. And those around the table started to get it.
Simon was a law-keeper. But ultimately, he had sin that he couldn’t pay just as the woman did. Only his sin was private, no-one else could see it or was going to point it out, ridicule him for it, define him by it. But Jesus could see Simon’s heart.