by Tony Nester

Little Forgiven, Little Love
Tony R. Nester
Luke 7:36-50

Jesus was between two very different people -- a very proper Pharisee named Simon who had invited Jesus to dine with him and an unnamed sinner-woman who slipped in uninvited and bathed Jesus' feet with her tears.

Simon had invited Jesus to his table in order to evaluate Jesus. Was Jesus sufficiently orthodox? Was he spiritually pure? Did he uphold the Scriptures? Was his righteousness up to the standards of the Pharisees like Simon?

In the end, however, it was Simon who came under judgment. Jesus caused Simon to recognize that though Simon was committed to righteousness, justice, and purity, there was still something lacking in Simon's heart toward God -- and that something was love.

The unnamed sinner-woman entered Simon's courtyard uninvited. She had seen Jesus enter Simon's house and followed him there. She saw Jesus reclining at the table as was the custom of the day -- faces toward the low table, cots arranged so that people could support themselves with one arm while reaching for food with the other. It made for a leisurely meal with long conversations. This woman approached Jesus from behind to anoint him with her alabaster jar of precious ointment.

We do not know her name. Nor do we know the specific nature of her sins -- was she a prostitute? a partner in adultery? a thief? a traitor?: we don't know.

What we do know from the Scripture that her reputation was fixed and widely known by others, including Simon, who immediately recognized her as "that sinner woman".

And yet, like Simon -- but in reverse -- Jesus reveals that her standing before God is not what it appears to be to others. Jesus announces that she is without blame in God's sight. Her sins have been forgiven. Her faith has been wondrously effective. She need not carry any guilt on heart.

Why? Because Jesus saw in her the very thing that was lacking in Simon's heart: a great and powerful ...

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