“A Pharisee invited Jesus to have dinner with him. So Jesus went to the Pharisee's home and got ready to eat. When a sinful woman in that town found out that Jesus was there, she bought an expensive bottle of perfume. Then she came and stood behind Jesus. She cried and started washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. The woman kissed his feet and poured the perfume on them. ” [Luke 7:36-38]
"...whoever has been forgiven little loves little."
Simon, the Pharisee, had asked Jesus home to eat with him, perhaps through curiosity or perhaps through hostility. A sinful woman appeared in the room at the same time. We do not know who she was; the tradition that she was Mary Magdalene lacks scriptural support.
This woman brought a white translucent flask of perfume. As Jesus reclined on a couch while eating, with His head near the table, she stood at His feet. She washed His feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and kissed them repeatedly. Then she anointed them with the costly perfume. Such worship and sacrifice revealed her conviction that there was nothing too good for Jesus.
Simon’s attitude was quite different. He felt that prophets, like Pharisees, should be separate from sinners. If Jesus were truly a prophet, he concluded, He would not let a sinner bestow such affection on Him.
Jesus read his mind, and courteously asked Simon permission to say something to him. The Lord told the story of the creditor and the two debtors. One owed fifty dollars, the other five. When neither of them could repay at all, he cancelled both debts. At this point Jesus asked Simon which borrower would love the lender more. The Pharisee correctly ansered, “ I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” In admitting this, he condemned himself, as Jesus proceeded to show him.
From the time the Lord had entered the house, the woman had lavished affection upon Him. The Pharisee, by contrast, had given Him a very cool reception, not even attending to the usual courtesies such as washing the guest’s feet, kissing His cheek and giving Him oil for His head. The reason was that the woman had the consciousness of having been forgiven much, whereas Simon did not feel he had been a great sinner at all. “But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
Jesus did not suggest that the Pharisee was not a great sinner. Rather He emphasized that Simon had never truly acknowledged his vast guilt and been forgiven. We are all great sinners. We can all know great forgiveness in the One who died for our sins. We can all love the Lord greatly.
A Sinner Anoints the Savior
"I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown"
“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.” [Luke 7:44-47]