Luke’s Gospel emphasizes that Jesus came to save people who were lost. The passage before us (Luke 7:36-50) accentuates Jesus’ plan of salvation and the human conditions that accompany that plan. The good news is that everyone Jesus encounters, he desires to save from their sins, and his mission was more than sufficient to save all humanity. Nevertheless, not everyone accepts the salvation he brought. The encounter and dialog between Simon the Pharisee and Jesus concerning the sinful woman will shed light on why this is so.
Read Luke 7:36-39
What kind of invitation is Jesus given, and by whom? What do you think the purpose was for inviting Jesus over?
What kind of woman is described here? Why would she dare enter the Pharisee’s home? Do you think she already knows something of Jesus?
Where does the woman position herself and what is she doing? Why would a sinner do such things?
What does the Pharisee say to himself when he sees Jesus permitting this display to continue? According to the Pharisee, Jesus has failed the test of being a prophet. How does the Pharisee reason to that conclusion?
Read Luke 7:40-43
Jesus presents a parable to Simon. What is it about? How do the two amounts compare to one another?
Does either debtor have the money to pay the debt back? What action does the moneylender take? What is the key question this parable poses? What is Simon’s response?
Read Luke 7:44-50
Why do you think Jesus turns and faces the woman while still addressing Simon? What contrast does Jesus make between Simon’s actions and the woman’s?
In verse 47 Jesus makes a pronouncement about the sinful woman. What do you think Jesus is saying?
Do you think this means people are forgiven because of how much they are able to love (by works)? Or do people love much because they have come to realize the enormous debt already forgiven them (by faith)?
In what way(s) did you see Jesus act unexpectedly in this story?
The first lesson of this incident is that Christ came to seek and to save sinners. A woman who was considered a great sinner by her peers was forgiven by our Lord, while those who thought themselves righteous went away unforgiven.
The second lesson we can learn from our text is to recognize the characteristics of self-righteousness as evident in the life of Simon the Pharisee. To the sinful woman, Jesus was everything. To Simon, Jesus was an accessory.
Do a heart check… Who do you identify with? Simon? The woman? Both? After digging in, you may find that you are actually someone/something different than you realized. If you feel comfortable share.
How could you practically model the sinful woman’s posture and attitude toward Jesus this week? In what ways could you step out and humbly sacrifice your reputation or the way you might look to simply lay everything at his feet?
How will you treat Jesus as EVERYTHING this week instead of an accessory?