Luke 7:36–50 (ESV)
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”
41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
- While Simon was quick to notice this woman’s sinful past, what did he fail to take notice of (in himself, in her, in Jesus)?
- What is my response when others around me show an extravagant devotion and zeal toward God that far outstrips my own?
- Why would the one who had a smaller debt love the merciful moneylender less?
- In what ways do I feel that my sins are “not that bad”? What are some obstacles that I have in understanding the depth of mercy and grace that I have received?
“If our lives have been changed by an experience of God’s grace, we can never get over the fact that we have been forgiven. God’s love, experienced in forgiveness, becomes the controlling force in our lives. The gratitude of the forgiven is also the source of new life.”
- How has my experience of God’s forgiveness become a controlling factor in my life?
- Are there areas in my life that I have kept away from God’s forgiveness and grace?
 R. Alan Culpepper, “Luke,” New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. IX (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1995), 173.