She Is A SINNER!

36 Now one of the Pharisees requested Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And 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.

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.”

Parable of Two Debtors
40 And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.”

41 “A 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. So which of them 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.” 44 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. 45 You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

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

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

50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50)

The setting…
We come to a very interesting “teachingmoment” in the life of Christ. Simon, a Pharisee, invited Jesus to have dinner with him, but as exacting as Simon was in keeping the Law, he hadn’t even extended the customary-courtesies which were normal in that culture. Because everyone wore sandals, or walked barefoot, and the roads weren’t paved, the customary-courtesy that hosts were expect to extend their guest was to, at minimum, wash their feet. The greeting-kiss and anointing the heads of their guests with oil may have been “optional“, but Simon hadn’t even done the basics.

The host…
Simon was a Pharisee, and was probably quite well-known in the community, so word of a special guest at his house spread like wildfire throughout the area. There really was very little privacy, even in a person’s home, because “windows” were simply openings in the walls, and may only have been covered by some sort of “drapes” at night. Otherwise, they were open for all to see in.

The woman…
The woman is not named, but she was probably pretty well-known in the community as well, but NOT for the same reason. She was a “sinner“, which many commentators describe as an “immoral woman“. Was she a prostitute? Did she run the local brothel? She wasn’t someone who was “acceptable” in “politecompany“. She certainly wasn’t someone Jesus should be seen associating with, but…

Her actions…
37 And 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.

She not only washed His feet, she kissed and anointed them, not just with cheap olive-oil, but with very-expensive perfume. She was performing a service to Him, and if I really read her attitude right, she was also claiming Him as her Master. For those could afford servants, these basic-courtesies were relegated to a servant, and she humbled herself to become His servant. It was an act of devotion to Him.

Objection, your Honor…
That didn’t sit well with Simon, particularly since her actions betrayed how sloppy of a host he was. He also didn’t think much of Jesus for allowing her to serve Him as she did. “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.”” If Jesus truly was a Prophet, He should have known better…

Objection over-ruled…
Jesus was not going to allow His character to be questioned, and neither was He going to allow Simon to put down the woman. He addressed Simon directly. “And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.””

Yes, your Honor…
And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.”

Parable of two debtors…
41 “A 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. So which of them will love him more?”

A denarius was a Roman coin worth a day’s wages, so if a person made the equivalent of $100 per day, one debtor owed $50,000 and the other owed $5,000. How many bankers are willing to “writeoff” $5,000? How many bankers are willing to “writeoff” $50,000, and yet that banker graciously “wroteoff” both debts. He forgave their WHOLE debt, interest and all.

Simon thought that he was a “pretty-good” guy. After all, he WAS a Pharisee, and he would have compared himself favorably to the Pharisee in the “Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-Collector“. He certainly was “better” than that poor woman, that SINNER, but, he wasn’t perfect. He still owed a debt to God that he could never pay.

The lesson for us is that whether we are “big” sinners, or whether we are “little” sinners, we still owe God a debt of sin that we can never repay.

A debt of love…
So which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”

The appropriate response to a forgiven-debt SHOULD be love for the One who forgave the debt

And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” 44 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. 45 You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

After pointing out to Simon where he had failed as a host, Jesus showed Simon how she had not only done the “basics“, but that she had gone way above and beyond the “basics“. Did she come seeking forgiveness? Even if that wasn’t her intent, she got way more than she bargained for.

Your debt is paid in full…
48 Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”

Jesus didn’t simply say “Thank you” to her, and then dismiss her, He did what only He could do, forgive her sins.

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

EVERYONE knew that only God can forgive sins, so who did He think HE was? In a way, they were right, but they didn’t realize that Jesus Christ was the very Incarnate God. He was everything God was in a human body, so it was His right to forgive sins. He also knew about their self-righteous sinfulness.

Your faith has saved you…
50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

She had encountered the living God, and I can imagine that there was a lightness in her step that she hadn’t felt in many years. She also didn’t have to hang her head in shame. She was FORGIVEN. She was SAVED. That was the best day of her life, and the beginning of her new life. She had gone to Jesus with only herself and a bottle of perfume. She had given all that she had, and she had received way more than she could have ever imagine, a new life.

Parting thoughts…
She had gone to Jesus, confident that He wouldn’t brush her off, and He didn’t. She gave Him all she had, herself, and He gave her far more in return, a new life. She shows us that we can come to Jesus in our need, and that He won’t brush us off or turn us away either. He has given us an invitation, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Where are YOU in this scene? Do you “have it all together” like Simon, thinking that God should be pretty pleased with you, or can you identify with the woman, knowing that you DON’T “have it all together“? Either way, if you haven’t gone to Jesus with your debt, acknowledging that you can’t ever pay it yourself, you need to, because your debt is growing by the minute. Only God, through Jesus Christ, can forgive your sins and release you from your debt. Please join me in acknowledging our debts to God…

“Lord Jesus, I owe a debt to you that I could never pay. I AM a sinner, and only You can save me, so, Lord Jesus, please forgive my sin and release me from my debt. Thank you for inviting me to come.”

In Christ,
Steve

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Mystery Of Mysteries

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5, 14)

The Mystery of Mysteries to me is not how Jesus, God, took on human flesh, but how Jesus perfectly combined both His humanity and His divinity into one person. I don’t have a problem understanding how Jesus became human, because I already have a good grasp on human reproduction, so it is no stretch for me to understand how God could have created one perfect human sperm, perhaps even emulating Joseph’s sperm so that Jesus looked like “one of the boys“.

We are born into space and time, so living in space and time is “normal” for us, but God isn’t constrained by space and time. God, in Jesus Christ, became constrained by space and time. He could not be in more than one place at a time, and yet there are instances in the Gospels when Jesus seemed to “dematerialize” and “reappear” somewhere else. This was most evident in the days following His resurrection, when He “materialized” on at least two occasions into locked upper-rooms, and when He “disappeared” from the dinner-table after breaking bread with the two disciples in Emmaus. Was His resurrection-body “different” than His pre-crucifixion human-body? He ate food in front of His disciples when He “appeared” to them in that locked, upper-room to prove that He wasn’t just a spirit, that He was real.

There were times when Jesus had “super-human” knowledge, and other times when He professed ignorance. He “saw” Nathaniel before he was introduced to Jesus, but asked where Lazarus was buried. He knew exactly what was going to happen to Him during His trial and crucifixion. He told His disciples that only the Father knows when He will return in triumph, and yet He said “I and the Father are one“. Were there limits to what He knew, or limits to what He was allowed to tell them?

Jesus turned water into wine, asked the Samaritan woman for a drink and then offered her “living water“, which was clearly spiritual in nature. He walked on water, calmed a storm with His command, and then said “I thirst” on the cross.

“35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”” (Mark 4:35-41)

“Who can this be…?” so beautifully-illustrates this Mystery of Mysteries, because even though His disciples had been with Him for quite some time and had witnessed other miracles, this one blew their minds. Maybe everything else that He had done seemed trivial by comparison to Jesus calming the storm with a command. We see both His true humanity (asleep on a pillow) contrasted with His lordship over all of creation. One of those salty fishermen, John, who was probably trying to help hold the boat together in the storm, penned the marvelous words that I opened this with.

Prophets, hundreds of years before the Incarnation, said that Jesus would be called “Emmanuel“, which means “God with us“, and yet His favorite title was “Son of Man“. I sense that the more we get to know about Jesus, the deeper this Mystery of Mysteries will get.

Will you join me in exploring this Mystery of Mysteries?

In Christ,
Steve