Feet, Forgiveness, and Faith – Luke 7.40-50

After more teaching (v.24) Jesus is invited for dinner by a Pharisee (v.36). Following them into the house – a common and acceptable custom when a Rabbi was invited over in order to listen in on the conversation – was a woman, a sinner (v.37). She brought with her a jar of perfumed oil and anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wept and washed His feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair (v.38). The host thinks that because Jesus has let a known sinner touch Him, He can’t really be a prophet (v.39) and then Jesus speaks: 

“Simon, I have something to say to you.” 

He replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 

“A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed him 500 silver coins, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 

Simon answered, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” 

Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 

Then, 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. You gave me no kiss of greeting, but from the time I entered she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfumed oil. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which were many, are forgiven, thus she loved much; but the one who is forgiven little loves little.” 

Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 

But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 

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

(Luke 7.40-50, NET)

Making a point that corresponds to reality so much that even the Pharisee must admit it (v.43) Jesus says that those that have been forgiven much will love much (v.47). His host had provided nothing for His comfort (vv.44-46) and in a way, showed that he was a not a person that loved others and valued them highly. The woman didn’t love others in order to gain forgiveness, rather, she loved others with an uncommon fervency because she had been forgiven (vv.47-48). The faith she put in Jesus as Messiah, as being able to forgive her sins and grant her new life saved her:

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

(v.50)

During this interaction with His pharisaical host Jesus never explicitly claimed to be the Messiah did He? Instead, He spoke the words that the Messiah would speak (v.50) and did things a Saviour would do (v.48). In the same way, the woman did the things that a forgiven sinner would do, and that is the point today for me and for you: living a life consistent with the forgiveness we have received. 

“…Therefore I tell you, her sins, which were many, are forgiven, thus she loved much; but the one who is forgiven little loves little…”

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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