Tuesday in the Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 7:36-50

A Most Beautiful Portrait of Love

Luke is the only “Evangelist,” as the writers of the gospels are often called, to report this account from our Savior’s life.  Jesus is again shown as the forgiving Son of God and Son of Man who is plenteous in mercy, and unwilling to allow social custom to stop him from extending compassion and love to repentant sinners.  We do not know this woman’s name, and this account should not be confused with other gospel reports of another woman (Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus) who anointed his head just before his passion.  What we do know is that this woman was “a sinner,” suggesting sexual immorality.  Of course, men should never forget that this poor woman’s designation (as well as that of millions of women throughout history) is a direct result of their perverse cravings and lusts.

She enters the house with amazing courage given that it belonged to a Pharisee, approaches Jesus from behind (they reclined at a low table so that their legs and feet were behind them), and washes his feet with her tears, dries them with her hair, and kisses and anoints them with an expensive alabaster flask of ointment – one of the most moving displays of love and devotion in all of Scripture.  Simon, his host, says 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.”

Jesus, knowing Simon’s thoughts, puts an easy lesson before him: a certain creditor cancelled the debt of two debtors, one who owed him five-hundred (we’ll say, “dollars”) and another who owed him fifty.  Then Jesus asks Simon, “Now which of them will love him more?”  Simon replies with the obvious answer that the one who owed him more would love him more.  Jesus compliments him for his discernment, but then compares him to the woman: Simon did not wash Jesus’ feet when he entered the house (a slight for which Simon could be rightly scolded), or kiss him, or anoint Jesus with oil.  The woman had done all of these acts of devotion, and in the most humble way.  The lesson plainly illustrates the difference between Simon’s arrogance and the woman’s humility, his thoughtlessness and her devotion.

Now please understand that the love for which Jesus commended the woman was not the cause of her forgiveness, but the result of it.  And only a sinful wretch would construe Jesus’ words to mean that he or she should commit sin with impunity that they might “love much” (Romans 6:1-4).  And as for Jesus’ wonderful authority to forgive sins, refer to Mark 2:1-12.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

Leave a Reply