Jesus Teaches Simon the Pharisee
Luke 7:35-50 – October 24, 2021
Luke 7:35. In the book of Proverbs, Wisdom is always personified as a woman who calls people to faithfulness and obedience to God’s commands (Proverbs 1:20-33 and 8:1-9:6). Wisdom’s “children” are those who follow her instruction. Those who were spiritually wise could see the ministries of John and Jesus were both godly.
Luke 7:36. This Pharisee seems well intentioned, but it will become clear he intends to insult Jesus, that he is not a friend of Jesus.
Luke 7:37. She must have heard Jesus preach, and in repentance she determined to lead a new life. She came out of love and gratitude, in the understanding that she had been forgiven.
Luke 7:38. stood behind him at his feet. Jesus reclined on a couch with his feet extended away from the table, which made it possible for the woman to wipe his feet with her hair while the people were still eating.
Luke 7:39. A few points here: 1) The man is not speaking aloud; he is only thinking or speaking to himself. 2) He is still thinking of Jesus as a prophet, not the Messiah or God and 3) even the thought of Jesus as a prophet is rapidly vanishing.
Luke 7:40. Jesus knew what he was thinking and interrupted his thoughts as if he had been speaking out loud.
Luke 7:41-43. Jesus compares God’s grace to forgiveness of a major debts – 2 months and 20 months. This would have been especially powerful to the Jewish farming culture, which included those struggling with huge taxes and debt. Whether the debt was 2 months wages or 20 months wages, the debt would have been impossible to pay.
What did you think of the parable? It almost seems too simple until you realize the woman and Simon are represented by the two debtors.
Let’s look at Simon’s reply to Jesus concerning the parable. I was struck by the reply I suppose … .
I suppose. As used here, it seems to carry with it a tone partly of indifference, partly of uneasiness and perplexity as to what the drift of the parable might be. (Ellicott’s Commentary)
With the words Thou has judged correctly Jesus is saying “Listen up, now I will show you what I meant by my little story.
Luke 7:44-46. In this ancient culture of honor and shame, it was insulting to receive guests improperly. Greeting a teacher with a kiss and providing a guest oil for him to anoint his head were basic courtesies along with a washing of the feet.
Jesus contrasts the actions of the woman with Simon’s inaction. One needs to grasp the significance of sin in order to grasp the greatness of forgiveness. Simon remains blind to his need for forgiveness as he sees little need for forgiveness if he sees any need at all.
Luke 7:47a. her great love. Evidence of her being forgiven, just as a person who loves little gives evidence of having been forgiven little. The debtor whose forgiven debt is larger should respond with a greater love. Her love was evidence of her forgiveness, but not the basis for it.
Luke 7:47b. If we refuse to see the magnitude of our sin the Lord’s sacrifice may not seem significant to us. But when we understand the true condition of our sinful hearts and the terrible penalty of our transgressions, Jesus immense sacrifice for us inspires deep love and devotion.
Luke 7:48. Jesus repeats to the woman what he has already said to Simon about her. Her forgiveness is now explicitly confirmed on the basis of Jesus’ authority. Furthermore, Jesus’ declaration to the woman reassures her in the face of Simon’s hostility.
Luke 7:49. Here the reaction of the other guests shows that Jesus is more, much more, than a prophet.
Luke 7:50. your faith has saved you. Her sins were forgiven because of her faith in Him and now she could experience God’s peace
BOTTOM LINE: 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 need for forgiveness. When our commitment to Jesus is minimal it is because we think our sins did not amount to much. But they did. See James 2:10.