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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Barcus & Laura Neal

April 21st, 2024: Faith of an Anointer- Luke 7:36-50

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (1 Timothy 1:12-15).


The longer we profess faith in Jesus Christ, the more life tears at our faithful resolve. We are tempted to quit, and we need to start over, repeatedly, out of frustration, failure, fear, doubt, and self-will. We, like Paul, find that sin is ever present. When we’d prefer to do good - we simply don’t. Even so, the scripture gives us the solution to this problem, Jesus came into the world to save sinners. The longer we serve Christ Jesus, the more we realize the price paid covers us- all of us- individually.  


And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.


Not all Pharisees were bad.  You will find two in scripture that took care of the body of Jesus after His death (Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus).  Jesus  went to eat with a Pharisee whose name was Simon, in the very  same way he went to eat with societal outcasts.  Simon asked; Jesus went. It works the same way today.  Have you asked?  Jesus is a gentleman; He won’t force his way in.  


And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,


This is one of three occasions in scripture where a woman anoints Jesus with oil. This woman is left unnamed.  She brings a white stone (alabaster) box of ointment. In this account, we do not know the exact value of the oil. Commentators speculate that this event took place about a year before Jesus’ crucifixion. Note also, that it does not say what the woman’s sin actually is. Maybe knowing her specific sin shouldn’t matter, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23, and If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8).


And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.


Interesting, isn’t it?  It doesn’t say how this woman came to be at the Pharisee’s gathering, but here she is. The Pharisee knows the law and writes laws; he recognizes immediately the sinful status of this woman. He draws from what he can reason- maybe as he has taught or even how he has been taught.  He sees but doesn’t see with the eyes or heart of God.  She is extremely humbled (washing feet), presenting herself despite the risk of her reputation and using what she has with reverence and tears. Simon the Pharisee thinks a thought- and Jesus reads his mind and answers it openly. 


Left out of the lesson are verses 40-43.   We have included these few verses:

 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.


Jesus’ answer is directed toward Simon.  Two people owe a creditor. One owes a large debt the other one not so large.  Both are not able to pay.  That is key.  Neither the one that owes a lot or the one that owes a little can pay. Both should be sent to prison or sold to pay the debt.  But Jesus says that the creditor forgives them both.  They both benefit from the generosity of the creditor.  How easy it is to see the faults, failures, and sins of others. We deceive ourselves by thinking we are any less a sinner than anyone else.   The Pharisee does not see himself in the same situation as his “sinner” guest. Yet, for all his attempts at goodness, Simon the Pharisee also has a debt he cannot pay.  


 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.


Seest thou this woman!  We should all take a good long look.  Established manners of the day included providing water to wash tired, dusty feet. She went beyond protocol and anointed his feet with ointment. The lowest servant provides this service, she doesn’t hesitate to perform it.  Minister has become a title in our time, but its literal meaning is to serve.  Her actions are worship, she is humble and vulnerable, demonstrating her faith in Jesus, and hope for her salvation. See this woman- weeping, kissing His feet, using what she has and despite ridicule and shame, bringing it all to Jesus.


She isn’t worried about what Simon or anyone else thinks of her, her thoughts are on the Master.  Have you brought your all to Jesus?  Can you count how many things he has forgiven in your life?   Can you feel the gratitude, the honor and the praise in her actions?  The longer we live, the more forgiveness we need.  We ask and we are given freely the grace of God.   Do you see this woman?  Can you see yourself?


And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.


Regardless of our station in life or how hard we try, we miss the mark.  We sin in thought, in word, in deed, or by simply not doing something we know we should. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (James 4: 15-17). 


Simon the Pharisee, left this gathering with a new perspective. He is included in the ones who need to be redeemed.  The law shows us our sin and our desperate need.  The gospel of Christ shows us the solution.  Oh, the relief of knowing your sins are forgiven!  The disappearance of shame and disgrace.  A fresh start. A new heart.  A heart that wants to see others accept this same gift and rejoice with them.  Faith in God will change us completely.


Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalm 2: 11-12).


Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Matthew 7: 7-8).


More Verses to consider:

  1.  1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  2. Ephesians 2:8-9 - For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God

  3. Isaiah 1:18 - Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

  4. 1 John 3:2 - Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.


Thank you for studying with us! God bless!


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