The Lord of Compassion (Part 4)
By Joey Fernandez
Luke 7:  Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table.  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,  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.  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
 And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.”  “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred *denarii, and the other fifty.  “When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more?”  Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.”  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 she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.  “You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.  “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.”  Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”  Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?”  And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Jesus accepted the invitation of Simon the Pharisee to dine in his house, but from the time Jesus entered his house, He knew that it was an insincere invitation with questionable motives. Simon did not offer Jesus the customary gestures of providing water for His feet, giving Him a kiss, or anointing His head with oil. Everything that the Pharisee refused to give the Lord, the sinful woman gave immeasurably more with her whole heart. In Simon's mind, he even denied Christ's authority as the great prophet because Christ allowed that sinner of a woman to touch Him.
It was easy for Christ to see through his unbelieving heart. Jesus proved to Simon that He was indeed a great prophet by reading his thoughts. Before Simon could ask the Lord any question, Christ answered first and showed him a marked contrast between a self-righteous teacher of the Law and a truly repentant sinner.
Simon's kind was a "brood of vipers" who prayed openly thanking God that they were not sinners. They thought themselves truly righteous and looked with disdain upon those whom they thought would suffer in hell forever. They were blind to their sins and chose not to see the humility of the sinners. How easy it was for Simon to say: "She is a sinner", and yet fail to see how sinful his heart was.
The woman was the complete opposite. Her humble attitude showed that she was willing to invite shame to fall upon her as she stood behind Jesus to wipe His feet with her hair, kiss His feet, and anoint them with perfume. Simon knew that she was a sinner, and everyone else in that house probably knew that she was one. She may have been the worst of sinners, but her humble attitude was evidence of her genuinely repentant heart which caused Jesus to respond again with compassion. Not concerned about the Lord's feet which were covered with dirt and dust from walking on the unpaved streets, she soaked His feet with her expensive gift of perfume mixed with her tears. All these sacrifices she endured for the chance to show how horrible she felt about her sin, and how much she needed forgiveness from the One Man who could grant it.
This was not the first time Jesus knew what His critics were thinking. He liked to answer questions with questions that drove to the heart of the matter. He knew how to fish for the right answer that would not only answer with authority but also give evidence to His deity.
The parable of the two debtors was an excellent way to show it. He who is forgiven little, loves little, and he who is forgiven much, loves much. Jesus acknowledged that her sins were many, and since she was forgiven much, she loved much. Jesus does not look at the number of sins in our lives. All it takes is one sin to earn the wrath of God. If Simon was guilty of only one sin of pride, he still needed the forgiveness of Christ just as much as that sinful woman needed it. We all are debtors in the eyes of the Moneylender who graciously forgave us, whether we owe 50 or 500 denarii. Christ proved to all through this sinful woman that no matter great or how many our sins are, we can still be forgiven and enjoy peace with God.
Earlier in this chapter, Jesus performed two mighty miracles. He healed the centurion’s servant with just the power of His word and without even being at the scene. Then He raised the widow’s dead son. Finally, Jesus transformed the life of this great sinner and saved her. There is a saying that goes: A “kuripot” can never become a “galante”. One cannot overcome his past habits and change radically. But Christ performed another mighty miracle and transformed this woman from a sinner to a humble child of God. What a comforting promise she received from the Lord of compassion Himself: "Your sins have been forgiven." This promise is true for all who come to Christ in repentance. With brokenness of heart, be like this sinful woman and come to the Savior to accept His gift of forgiveness. Or be like the self-righteous Pharisee who felt he did not need forgiveness because he was not a sinner, and then suffer in hell forever. Our debt to the "Great Moneylender" has been paid in full by Christ. The sinful woman wisely chose the path of repentance and came to Christ in faith. She put her faith in Christ as her Messiah and received salvation.
As Jesus said in His closing statement before dismissing the woman: "Your faith has saved you." The love that she showed Christ was evidence of her faith in Him. Her faith expressed itself in her love for Christ.
May we all learn from this sinful woman and allow the Lord of compassion to transform us.