Luke Chapter 7 Second Continued
Luke 7:36 “And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.”
“One of the Pharisees”: His name was Simon, verse 40. He does not appear to have been sympathetic to Jesus, verses 44-46. Undoubtedly his motive was either to entrap Jesus, or to find some reason to accuse Him, verse 6:7.
Some people called the Pharisees the “separatists”. These Pharisees were the truly strict scribes. It is unusual for this Pharisee to ask Jesus who ate with publicans and sinners to eat with him.
Jesus was known to be a Hebrew by birth so there would be no problem with eating with Him from that standpoint. Perhaps, this Pharisee had been there along with the 2 disciples John the Baptist had sent, and perhaps he had seen the miracles that Jesus did along with them.
Luke 7:37 “And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that [Jesus] sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,”
“An alabaster box”: This is similar in many ways to the events described in Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:2-8, but it is clearly a different incident. That took place in Bethany, near Jerusalem, during the Passion Week. In the anointing at Bethany it was Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, who anointed Jesus.
This incident takes place in Galilee and involves “a woman … who was a sinner” – i.e. a prostitute. There is no reason to identify this woman with Mary Magdalene, as some have done.
Jesus was a friend to sinners. He had stopped the crowd from stoning the woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus was in the home of a very strict Pharisee. This woman entering this house would have been unwelcome had not Jesus been there.
Her sins seem to be well known in the city. This alabaster box of ointment was of great monetary value. Ointment of this type kept in alabaster boxes was very expensive. We are not told where the woman got it, only that she had it and brought it to Jesus.
Luke 7:38 “And stood at his feet behind [him] weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe [them] with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed [them] with the ointment.”
“Stood at his feet behind him”: He was reclining at a low table, as was the custom. It would have been shocking to all for a woman of such low reputation to come to a Pharisee’s house. Such dinners involving dignitaries were often open to spectators – but no one would have expected a prostitute to attend.
Her coming took great courage and reveals the desperation with which she sought forgiveness. Her “weeping” was an expression of deep repentance.
We see, here, a very repentant woman. She loves Jesus for His forgiveness. He called the sinners unto Him, forgave them, and sent them on their way with instructions (go and sin no more). She humbles herself. Her tears of repentance and love are so great that she washes His feet with them.
The ultimate sign of her repentance and love is wiping His feet with her hair. This expensive ointment was a type of perfume. The Lord had compassion on her.
Luke 7:39 “Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw [it], he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman [this is] that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.”
“What manner of woman”: The Pharisees showed nothing but contempt for sinners. Simon was convinced that if Jesus knew her character, He would have sent her away, for her touching Him was presumed to convey ceremonial uncleanness.
We see here, in this Pharisee, a self-righteous man. Perhaps he had been touched by the miracles and the miraculous preaching Jesus had done. Something prompted him to invite Jesus to be his guest. It might have been to learn more of Jesus’ teaching since it was so different from what he had been taught.
He saw this woman with eyes which see fact and not faith. He was aware of her sins and not of her repentant heart. Notice above that this Pharisee does not openly accuse Jesus, but has these thoughts in himself. Jesus in the next verse will answer these thoughts just as if they had been spoken out.
Luke 7:40 “And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.”
“Jesus answering”: Jesus knew Simon’s thought (5:22) – demonstrating to Simon that He was indeed a Prophet.
In verse 39, Simon had doubted in his mind that Jesus could have even been a prophet. Now he calls Jesus, Master. Simon is a hypocrite.
He believes one thing and says another. Simon does not realize that Jesus is answering his thoughts, and he says go ahead.
Luke 7:41 “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.”
“Pence”: Each pence was worth a day’s labor, so this was a large sum – about two years’ full wages.
Jesus is speaking a parable to Simon. He will deal with Simon in this parable and will not directly come out and reprimand him. In the parable, Jesus has set the stage of 2 different debtors: one owes 500 pence and the other 50 pence.
Luke 7:42 “And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?”
There is only one possible solution to this parable. When Simon answers it, he will have scolded himself for not realizing this woman’s sins (which were many) were forgiven; and she loved Jesus much, because Jesus had forgiven her of much. Simon had not committed sins like hers. He didn’t have much to be forgiven for, so he loved little.
Luke 7:43 “Simon answered and said, I suppose that [he], to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.”
You see, Jesus put the responsibility for judging this woman to Simon. He gave Simon a parable which proved Jesus’ lesson here for Simon. Simon trapped himself; and in a word, understood what Jesus was saying here.
Luke 7:44 “And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped [them] with the hairs of her head.”
“Gavest me no water for my feet”: A glaring oversight. Washing a guest’s feet was an essential formality. Not to offer a guest water for the washing of feet was tantamount to an insult – like it would be in modern Western culture if one did not offer to take a guest’s coat.
The desert was hot. They wore sandals. It was a custom when a guest came in to have a pan of water that he might cool his feet off and wipe them and then go in. Jesus is saying to Simon: You didn’t even show me common courtesy, but this woman has washed my feet with her tears and used her hair for a towel to dry them.
Luke 7:45 “Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.”
It was a custom in the land to greet the brethren with a holy kiss. Simon must not have thought as highly of Jesus as he did his other Pharisee brethren. The ultimate in humility is to kiss another’s feet. This woman had done this repeatedly.
Luke 7:46 “My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.”
Here, again, a much honored guest might have been anointed on the head. The desert sun was hot and could really dry the skin. This Simon, in fact, had not even acted as if Jesus were a special guest. This woman greatly honored Jesus. She did not feel worthy to anoint His head but anointed His feet.
Luke 7:47 “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loveth little.”
“For she loved much”: This is not to suggest that she was forgiven because she loved much The parable (verses 41-43) pictured a forgiveness that was unconditional, and love was the result.
Therefore to make the woman’s love the reason for her forgiveness would be to distort the lesson Jesus is teaching here. “For” here has the sense of “wherefore.” And her faith (verse 50), not the act of anointing Jesus’ feet, was the instrument by which she laid hold of His forgiveness.
You see, Jesus knew all along that this was a sinful woman. He also knew that she had a repentant heart. She loved Jesus more than she feared what might happen to her for pushing her way into the Pharisee’s house. Whatever it took, she was coming to Jesus.
Jesus freely forgave her, because she was truly sorry, and because she truly loved Him and wanted to follow Him. This Pharisee figured he didn’t have much to be forgiven for. Take a look at what Jesus told him: that he loved very little.
Luke 7:48 “And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.”
The greatest gift anyone can receive is to have their sins forgiven. Jesus wants to forgive every single person upon the earth. To be forgiven, we must humble ourselves before Him and ask Him to forgive us, and He will.
Luke 7:49 “And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?”
They were talking to themselves. They did not recognize Jesus for who He was, just as many of the church people today do not recognize who He was and is. No mere man can forgive sins, only God can forgive sins.
They were in the presence of God the Son (Emmanuel), God with us, and did not realize who He was. They thought He was the teacher. How wrong they were. Look at this last verse and see Him forgive this sinful woman.
Luke 7:50 “And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”
“Thy faith hath saved thee”: Not all whom Jesus healed were saved, but those who exhibited true faith were (17:19; 18:42; Matt. 9:22).
Jesus knows their thoughts, but said it any way. This woman believed Jesus would forgive her, and He did. Her faith (like Abraham’s faith) saved her. When you know you are saved, there is a peace that comes over you that you cannot explain. The sting of death has been taken away, because you know eternal life awaits you.
Luke Chapter 7 Second Continued Questions
1. What did the Pharisee desire Jesus to do?
2. Did Jesus do what he wanted?
3. What was another name the Pharisees were known by?
4. Why do you suppose this Pharisee asked Jesus to eat with him?
5. What kind of a woman came to Jesus in the Pharisee’s house?
6. What did she bring with her?
7. Who was Jesus a friend to?
8. What did she use to wash Jesus’ feet?
9. What did she dry them with?
10. Why was it the custom to furnish water for a guest to wash his feet?
11. What modern practice in some churches began with this?
12. What did this Pharisee say within himself?
13. Did Jesus know what kind of woman she was?
14. How would you describe this Pharisee?
15. This man could see the woman’s sins but could not see what?
16. What does Jesus answer when He speaks to the Pharisee?
17. What did the Pharisee call Jesus that made the Pharisee a Hypocrite?
18. What is the parable Jesus tells the Pharisee?
19. Who loved the most in this parable?
20. Who judged the parable and in so doing judged the woman?
21. What 3 things that Simon neglected to do showed that Simon did not have great respect for Jesus?
22. What is the ultimate act of humility that this woman did?
23. Why did Jesus say her sins were forgiven in verse 47?
24. What is the greatest gift anyone can receive?
25. What were those that sat with Him at meat questioning Jesus’ right to do?
26. Why did they not understand?
27. In verse 50, Jesus told the woman her _____ hath saved her and to go in ________.