3 August 2015

Luke 7:36 – 8:3

“Then he 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?’” (vv. 48-49)

Psalm: Psalm 57


What an amazing woman this is! She gatecrashes a party of the great and the good, and washes the feet of the guest of honour as he reclines at the table. It takes some courage to do that.

The poor host, Simon, is beside himself. He is offering the very best of Jewish hospitality to a visiting rabbi when suddenly a woman sidles into the room and makes herself the centre of attention. Not only that, Jesus welcomes her! Simon now begins to wonder if he has made an error of judgement about Jesus, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of a woman this is who is touching him - that she is a sinner."(v. 39)

The point is, Jesus did know that she was a sinner, but more importantly, so did the woman! She came to make up for her sins by washing Jesus' feet with her tears. Jesus' response to this is to welcome her and forgive her. Released by love the woman is able to give love and her heart is at peace.

Meanwhile, Simon is furious because Jesus dared to compare him with this woman and found her to be the better host. It had not crossed Simon's mind that he was a sinner too. His sins are what he has not done, but that does not make him less of a sinner than the woman and his heart in in turmoil as the party ends.

To Ponder

  • What have you not done that you need to ask forgiveness for?
  • Reread the story as if you are the woman. What do you notice?

Bible notes author

The Revd Diane Clutterbuck

Diane is an ordained presbyter in the Methodist Church. She works as as a coach, supervisor and trainer mainly in the public and voluntary sectors with people and organisations who are committed to growth and development.