FORGIVEN SINNERS DISPLAY EXTRAVAGANT LOVE THAT THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS REJECT
How should we respond to our Savior in light of the extraordinary forgiveness we have received solely by His grace? The more we understand our sinfulness, the deeper should be our appreciation for His forgiveness and grace. Here we have a simple incident involving one notorious sinner who responded to the Savior with an extravagant display of love and gratitude that did not shrink back from making a public spectacle of herself. We also have the contrasting reaction of the self-righteous Pharisee who cannot imagine even associating with such a disgraced sinner – much less allowing her access in his house to have such intimate contact as the washing of Jesus’ feet with her tears and the drying of those tears with her unbound hair. Then she has the audacity to anoint the feet of Jesus with an expensive vial of perfume. What a spectacle!
Donald Miller: This story is a vivid illustration of the dual response mentioned in the preceding section. Simon is one of those who “rejected the purpose of God for themselves” (vs. 30), while the sinful woman is one of the “children” who vindicate God’s wisdom in his method of working (vs. 35).
Jesus came to seek and to save those who were lost; those who knew they were sick and needed healing; those who knew they needed a Savior.
MacArthur: on this occasion, in an act of irony, He reaches out to demonstrate His power to forgive sins to a hypocritical, self-righteous Pharisee by using the very person that the Pharisee despised the most, the low-life, reprobate, wretched, immoral prostitute whose transformation was very clear and inarguable. This He uses as evidence of His power to transform even the Pharisee.
I. (7:36-39) THE PLOT = WHAT HAPPENED AT THE DINNER?
A. (:36) The Setting – Dinner at Simon’s House = Self-Righteous Pharisee
“Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him. And He entered the Pharisee’s house, and reclined at the table.”
What was the motivation of Simon for this invitation? Not faith or love since he did not even extend to him the common courtesies afforded honored guests. Maybe just curiosity.
B. (:37) The Surprise Intruder – Disgraced Prostitute Bringing an Alabaster Vial of Perfume
“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,”
MacArthur: when it came to the feminine side, “sinner” was a synonym for a prostitute, a woman who chose to be a professional adulteress, immoral, filthy, impure, perverse and living a flagrantly sinful life at a public level.
C. (:38) The Story Line Played Out = Extravagant Display of Love and Gratitude
“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.”
D. (:39) The Scornful Reaction on the Part of the Host Pharisee
“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.’”
II. (7:40-50) THE PRINCIPLE = THE POINT JESUS WANTS TO DRIVE HOME
A. (:40-43) Object Lesson – The Greater the Forgiveness . . . the Greater the Love
1. (:40) The Lesson is Aimed at Simon
“And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ And he replied, ‘Say it, Teacher.’”
Great Love comes from Great Forgiveness – the principle is clear
Steven Cole: This story is not a variation of the incident that took place in the home of a Simon the leper, where Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus just prior to His arrest. Simon was a common name. This Simon was a Pharisee, which means that outwardly he was a good, upright, religious man. He attempted to keep the Law of Moses. He tithed his income. He fasted regularly. He prayed at least three times every day. He never missed in his attendance at the synagogue. He was a decent man who was respected as a religious leader in the community.
2. (:41-42) The Lesson Illustrates the Principle
“A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him more?”
3. (:43) The Lesson is Clear
“Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose the one whom he forgave more.’ And He said to him, ‘You have judged correctly.’”
Billy Dempsey: We need a reminder of what Jesus has forgiven us of and freed us from. We need a reminder that the Gospel, the Gospel saves sinners and Jesus came to save broken souls like us. We love Him more, we love Him more as we see more clearly what we were, as we see more clearly what sin had done to us. The more we know Him, I’m convinced, the more clearly we know ourselves, including the brokenness we still live with, the more we love Him.
B. (:44-46) Application – The Prostitute Showed Jesus More Consideration Than the Host
“And turning toward the woman, He said to Simon,
‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house;’”
1. (:44) Washing of the Feet
“you gave Me no water for My feet,
but she has wet My feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair.”
2. (:45) Showering with Kisses
“You gave Me no kiss;
but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.”
3. (:46) Anointing with Expensive Perfume
“You did not anoint My head with oil,
but she anointed My feet with perfume.”
C. (:47-48) Connection Between Forgiveness and Love (Gratitude)
1. (:47) Demonstration of the Principle
“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.”
Donald Miller: faith which accepts God’s unmerited forgiveness in Christ issues in a love for him of which the highest human loves are but a pale reflection.
Leon Morris: Jesus is not saying that the woman’s actions had earned forgiveness, nor even that her love had merited it. . . He is saying that her love is proof that she had already been forgiven. It was her response to God’s grace.
Spurgeon: Too many think lightly of sin, and therefore think lightly of the Savior. He who has stood before his God, convicted and condemned, with the rope about his neck, is the man to weep for joy when he is pardoned, to hate the evil which has been forgiven him, and to live to the honor of the Redeemer by whose blood he has been cleansed
2. (:48) Declaration That Her Sins Have Been Forgiven
“And He said to her, ‘Your sins have been forgiven.’”
Geldenhuys: From the whole context of the story . . . it is clear that the woman had already accepted Him as Redeemer (probably not long before, whether as one among the multitudes who had listened to His teaching, or as one whom He had addressed personally). . . Although her sins had already been forgiven, she was nevertheless still regarded by others as a notorious sinner. For this reason Jesus now openly declares that her sins are forgiven.
D. (:49-50) Connection Between Faith and Forgiveness of Sins and Peace
1. (:49) Forgiveness Raises Key Question Regarding the Identity of Jesus
“And those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this man who even forgives sins?’”
2. (:50) Faith Leads to Peace
“And He said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’”
MacArthur: It is that profuse love for Christ that is the single greatest proof visible to people of the power of the gospel. An ungrateful, loveless Christian undercuts the testimony of the gospel.
Let us put on display our gratitude, our lavish love to our Christ and the world will take note that our sins have truly been forgiven.
(8:1-3) EPILOGUE – SUPPORT FOR THE ITINERANT PREACHING MINISTRY OF JESUS
A. (8:1a) Itinerant Preaching Ministry of Jesus
“And it came about soon afterwards, that He began going about from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God;“
B. (8:1b-3) Inclusive Ministry Support From a Wide Range of Disciples
1. (8:1b) Twelve Apostles = Dedicated Inner Circle
“and the twelve were with Him,”
2. (8:2-3a) Many Women
a. Healed Women
“and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses:”
“Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,”
b. Prominent Women
“and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward,”
Leon Morris: The rabbis refused to teach women and generally assigned them a very inferior place.
Anyabwile: The Christian church would never have gotten off the ground were it not for women. Churches around the world would have closed their doors generations ago if it were not for women. Luke affirms these women by naming them for us. If our Lord valued and included women in his ministry, then every church should include them in every way the Lord and his Word permits. In every way women are called and gifted to serve, we want to see them encouraged and flourishing in their service in accord with the Word of God so that the Word of God might be spread among us.
3. (8:3b) Many Others – Generously Supporting the Ministry
“and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.”