One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”
“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he 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, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Two individuals are contrasted, both in the events that took place and in the story told by Jesus. One has a great debt and one has a lesser debt, yet both need forgiving for they cannot pay the debt. We see the Pharisee and the woman with a sin-filled background. It is assumed the Pharisee is the lesser of the two, for he follows the letter of the law and attempts to live a sin-less life. But he has one failing; that is the lack of love and compassion for those less fortunate. The woman has the greater debt with her lifetime of sin; but she recognizes her need for forgiveness if the application of the story told by Jesus can be our judge. Her tears demonstrate a repentant, sorrowful attitude. And Jesus grants her forgiveness.
Jesus states her faith has saved her from the consequences of her sin. And the Pharisee questions Jesus ability to do so. Her belief gains her the forgiveness she seeks. Oh to have Jesus look at you and tell you your faith has saved you! Let us find ourselves in the company of the woman; recognizing our sinful condition and believing for the forgiveness and resulting salvation that comes with it. Let us avoid being in the company of the Pharisee who saw only the woman’s faults not his own. He did not look on in compassion and love for a soul lost and wanting finding. In that position alone, he placed himself in need of forgiving.
Take away: Love much, be forgiven, go in peace.