Study Guide

Gospel of Luke Chapter 7:36-50

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Chapter 7:36-50

A Dinner Party Turns Ugly

  • A Pharisee invites Jesus over for dinner, and while he's reclining, a sinning woman starts hanging on his feet, soaking them with her tears, and drying them with her hair.
  • Yeah, we'll give you a second to picture that.
  • The Pharisee who invited Jesus wonders to himself how this so-called prophet is unaware that this woman who's hanging all over him is a big sinner.
  • Jesus launches a story about a single creditor's two debtors.
  • Here's the deal. One of the debtors owes five-hundred denarii, the other owes fifty. (A denarius is a type of currency that's about a day's wage.)
  • Neither are able to pay, and the creditor releases them both from their debts.
  • Jesus asks a very easy question, "Now which of them will love him more?" (7:42).
  • Obviously, it's the one with the bigger debt, and Simon answers correctly.
  • Jesus leaves the story hanging and gets a little snippy, comparing Simon with the sinning woman.
  • She washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, while Simon provided no water for his feet.
  • She hasn't stopped kissing his feet, while Simon didn't even greet him with a kiss.
  • She anointed his feet with ointment, while Simon did no such thing.
  • Come on Simon, get with the program.
  • Jesus applies the logic of the story he's told to the current situation, concluding that the woman's many sins are forgiven because she's shown Jesus so much love.
  • He adds, surely in reference to Simon, "the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little" (7:47).
  • Ouch.
  • In case there's any doubt, Jesus tells the woman that her sins are forgiven.
  • But his co-recliners think that Jesus is presumptuous in claiming the power to forgive sins. Remember, they think that power belongs only to God (5:21).
  • Jesus doesn't care. He loves creating tension at highbrow dinner parties and so reiterates to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace" (7:50).

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