It's easy to read this story and not give it a second thought, but read that story again. Try to imagine what this scene looked like as it was being played out. Here is Jesus in the house of a Pharisee. When I read this, I picture the Pharisee as a wealthy man with servants and lots of stuff in his house. It's like visiting a high-priced attorney's home. Marble floors, beautiful wooden desk, leather furniture, and every luxury he could afford. While they are eating dinner, this woman who has lived a sinful life comes in. We are not told that she says anything, only that she weeps at his feet. I have wept. I know what it means to have the tears gently streaking down your face and dripping off your chin and your nose. Here is a woman who has wept so much at the feet of Jesus that she has wet his feet with her tears. Since she had no towel to dry them, she used her hair. She kissed his feet and poured the perfume on them too.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is - that she is a sinner.”
Can you believe this guy?!? Right here is the problem with the Church today. They don't want sinners in the church. They don't want to be associated with sinners. They don't want sinners to touch them. They would rather condemn sinners from afar and question anyone who dares to stoop so low as to interact with them. People in the Church forget that they were once sinners too. Jesus has a little story to tell.
Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
Message? The one with more to be forgiven will appreciate the forgiveness that much more. Think of it like this, if you owe your friend $5 and he says, don't worry about it, that's cool. It's not a lot of money, so you're not going to fall on your face thanking him. If your friend told you that he just paid off your house, car, and college loans for your children, you would fall on your face thanking him. You would cherish your friend and love on him showing him all kinds of appreciation. The story makes sense.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Wow. Jesus is drawing up a very big difference here. When you welcome a guest into your home, you have your servants wash the feet of their guests. Remember in Bible times, they didn't have fancy shoes like we do today. Most people wore sandals. Most people walked everywhere. That means that the dirt and grime from walking gets in between your toes and under your feet. They would smell. Bad. It was customary to at least offer them water to wash their feet. Jesus tells us that his host did not do this, but this woman did. She washed his feet with her tears and tried them with her hair.
It was customary to greet your guests and welcome them with a kiss. Nothing weird about that, it's just customary. It was common to anoint each other with oil (lotion, perfume, etc), but this Pharisee did none of these things. Truly, it was bordering on disrespectful. I mean, there are just certain things you do when you have guests in your home. Jesus points out that this sinful woman did more than the host did. She kissed his feet where he did not kiss him at all. She poured expensive perfume on his feet when he gave him nothing.
She has poured out love on Jesus and he has forgiven her many sins. Did you notice that he said she had many sins? Did you see him identify all of the sins? No? He didn't! He said there were man and that they were forgiven. Period. No belittling. No chastisement. No penance. She was already convicted of her sins. She wept, but she loved Jesus and she knew that He could forgive her:
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
He forgives her sins. The people are amazed because no one but God has authority to forgive sins, until now. He ignores the people. His attention is on her. Your FAITH has saved you. Go in peace.
Repent of your sins. That means turn away from them (that's a 180, not a 360).
Do you need forgiveness for your sins?
Jesus has what you need.
All you have to do is have faith that he can save you.
My prayer for you today is that the Lord will increase your faith and mine.