36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat.

This is one of the notable occasions when the Lord Jesus Christ went out to dinner.
When He went out to dinner, it was never a dull affair.
Remember, He had been denouncing these Pharisees.
He called them spoiled brats; so it is difficult to believe that the invitation to dinner from this Pharisee was a friendly one.
The Pharisee invited Him to dinner so that he could spy on Him and find something wrong with Him.

Simon was a Pharisee, one of the separated ones.

Why should such a man invite Jesus to his house at all?

There are three possible reasons.

It is just possible that he was an admirer and a sympathizer, for not all the Pharisees were Jesus’ enemies (compare Lk 13:31).

  1. But the whole atmosphere of discourtesy makes that unlikely.

It could be that Simon had invited Jesus with the deliberate intention of enticing him into some word or action which might have been made the basis of a charge against him.

2. Simon may have been an agent provocateur.

Again it is not likely, because in Lk 7:40 Simon gives Jesus the title, Rabbi.

Most likely, Simon was a collector of celebrities; and with a half-patronising contempt he had invited this startling young Galilaean to have a meal with him.

3. That would best explain the strange combination of a certain respect with the omission of the usual courtesies.

Simon was a man who tried to patronize Jesus.
Simon is like many in the world today.
Perhaps like some in this church building this morning.

Comfortable around Jesus as long as you are in control.
As long as Jesus comes to you on your terms, you don’t mind being around Him.
Perhaps a fascination, admiration of Christians and Christ.
Perhaps a mental and emotional tolerance for Christians and Christ.
The scene is the courtyard of the house of Simon the Pharisee.

The houses of well-to-do people were built round an open courtyard in the form of a hollow square.

Often in the courtyard there would be a garden and a fountain; and there in the warm weather meals were eaten.

It was the custom that when a Rabbi was at a meal in such a house, all kinds of people came in–they were quite free to do so–to listen to the pearls of wisdom which fell from his lips.

They did not come to comment, only to watch.

That explains the presence of the woman.

37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,
38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.

In the east the guests did not sit, but reclined, at table.

The table was often in the shape of a “U” or a horseshoe.
The people would sit on the outside of the table.
They lay on low couches, resting on the left elbow, leaving the right arm free, with the feet stretched out behind; and during the meal the sandals were taken off.

That explains how the woman was standing beside Jesus’ feet.

This woman came in and took her place behind the Lord Jesus.

As she stood by the feet of the Lord Jesus, weeping, because her sins had been forgiven, she began to wet His feet with tears and wipe His feet with the hairs of her head.

Then she kissed His feet and anointed them with the costly ointment.

Some suppose this is Mary Magdalene, but we have no evidence that this was her.
In John 12:3, Mary of Bethany also anoints Jesus’ feet with oil, but this is a separate incident

Who was a sinner tells us more than that she was a sinner just like we are all sinners; she was a particularly notorious sinner – most likely, a prostitute

It was pretty bold for this woman with a sinful reputation to come into the house of a Pharisee; but she was willing to do anything to express her love for Jesus. Going into that house took courage and determination
Morris on the alabaster flask: “It had no handles and was furnished with a long neck which was broken off when
the contents were needed.
We may fairly deduce that this perfume was costly.

Jewish ladies commonly wore a perfume flask suspended from a cord round the neck, and it was so much a part of them that they were allowed to wear it on the sabbath.”

We can imagine the woman coming originally to only anoint Jesus’ feet with oil; but then, being overcome with emotion, tears flowing from her eyes, starting to wash His feet with her tears, wiping them clean with her hair, and kissing His feet repeatedly.

Normally, this oil would be used on someone’s head; she shows her humility by saying “the best perfume for my head is only good enough to anoint Your feet.”

“To have her hair flowing would be deemed immodest . . . . [she] kissed fervently, again and again.” (Bruce)
But in her emotional display of love, it doesn’t matter to her.

The woman was a bad woman, and a notoriously bad woman, a prostitute.

No doubt she had listened to Jesus speak from the edge of the crowd and had glimpsed in him the hand which could lift her from the mire of her ways.

Round her neck she wore, like all Jewish women, a little phial of concentrated perfume; they were called alabasters; and they were very costly.

She wished to pour it on his feet, for it was all she had to offer.

But as she saw him the tears came and fen upon his feet.

For a Jewish woman to appear with hair unbound was an act of the gravest immodesty.

On her wedding day a girl bound up her hair and never would she appear with it unbound again.

The fact that this woman loosed her long hair in public showed how she had forgotten everyone except Jesus.

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”

Simon the Pharisee doubted that Jesus was a prophet because he thought that Jesus was unable to see this woman’s heart; but Jesus has no problem seeing hearts – He tells Simon the Pharisee exactly what is on his heart!

Now this old Pharisee would not have spoken to this type of woman on the street.
He might have done business with her after dark when no one could see, but he would not have anything to do with a woman of her reputation during daylight hours.
When he saw her wiping and kissing the Lord’s feet, he thought, He must not be a prophet or he would know the kind of woman she is and have nothing to do with her.

40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42 “And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”

Jesus uses a simple, and easily understood parable to illustrate the point: the more we are forgiven, the more we should love

We don’t need to go and sin more in order to be forgiven more, thus loving God more – all we must do is become more sensitive to our current state of sinfulness

43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”
44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.

For the first time the Lord acknowledges this woman.
He has not paid a bit of attention to her up to this time, but now He turns and looks at her.
While He is looking at her, He says to Simon, who is on the
other side of the table, “Do you see this woman?”
Simon had already said within himself that he did not think the Lord knew what kind of woman she was or He would not have permitted her to touch Him.
Now our Lord says, “Simon, do you really know this woman?
Look at her.
You think you see her but you do not at all.”
The Lord is really rubbing this Pharisee the wrong way.
This is the reason I believe that the Lord was not invited to dinner as a friendly gesture, but so that the Pharisee could spy upon Him.
Now the Lord Jesus says:

45 “You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.
46 “You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.

When a guest entered such a house three things were always done.
The host placed his hand on the guest’s shoulder and gave him the kiss of peace. That was a mark of respect which was never omitted in the case of a distinguished Rabbi.

The roads were only dust tracks, and shoes were merely soles held in place by straps across the foot.

So always cool water was poured over the guest’s feet to cleanse and comfort them.

Either a pinch of sweet-smelling incense was burned or a drop of attar of roses was placed on the guest’s head.

These things good manners demanded, and in this case not one of them was done.

The Lord is saying, “You did not even exercise the common courtesies of the day.”

The Lord declares he did not have good manners.

If Simon had been the proper kind of host, he would have washed the Lord’s feet.

He would have anointed the Lord’s head and kissed Him.

That was the custom of the day, but Simon did none of these things.

47 “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

Therefore, Jesus explains the motive of the woma
n’s deeply emotional devotion: She loved Jesus because she was anticipating in faith His forgiveness to her humble heart

Simon the Pharisee did not see the woman as she was (a humble sinner seeking forgiveness, pouring out love for Jesus) for he was looking at her as she had been (a notorious sinner)

Simon the Pharisee denied Jesus the common courtesies between a host and a guest (washing the feet, a kiss for a greeting, anointing the head with oil); does he now reproach the woman for giving them to Jesus?

Jesus notices neglect and appreciates devotion; and He does not reject such highly emotional devotion

The story demonstrates a contrast between two attitudes of mind and heart.

Simon was conscious of no need and therefore felt no love, and so received no forgiveness.
Simon’s impression of himself was that he was a good man in the sight of men and of God.

The woman was conscious of nothing else than a clamant need, and therefore was overwhelmed with love for him who could supply it, and so received forgiveness.

The one thing which shuts a man off from God is self-sufficiency.

And the strange thing is that the better a man is the more he feels his sin.

Paul could speak of sinners “of whom I am foremost” (1Tim 1:15).

Francis of Assisi could say, “There is nowhere a more wretched and a more miserable sinner than I.”

It is true to say that the greatest of sins is to be conscious of no sin; but a sense of need will open the door to the forgiveness of God, because God is love, and love’s greatest glory is to be needed.

48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

What he said blanched the soul of Simon.

This poor woman from the streets, without hope, wanted forgiveness.

The God of heaven is there and He has forgiven her.

Now He tells Simon, “You have judged correctly.

You said that the one who owed the most would naturally be the one who would love him most.

Well, she was a great sinner and has been forgiven a whole lot.

But you, because you don’t think you are a sinner, have not even asked for forgiveness.”

And that hypocritical old Pharisee sat there — an unforgiven sinner.

Jesus assures the woman of her forgiveness from God

If Jesus has already said that her sins are forgiven (verse 47), why does he turn to the woman and repeat it?

Because we need the healing power inherent in the words your sins are forgiven

It can be so hard for us to truly believe that we are forgiven, that often, we must be persuaded of it

On what basis does Jesus forgive her?

Not because He just wants to irritate Simon the Pharisee; but because the woman has displayed humility of repentance and a devoted love for Jesus

The humility and love are themselves God’s work within the woman; she could not come to Jesus in this way unless God have first moved within her

The key to her forgiveness was faith – it was her faith that saved her, because it was her faith that believed the words from Jesus your sins are forgiven; faith enabled her to take the grace God was giving to her

Forgiveness is ready from God; there is no hesitation or shortage on His part. Our part is to come with humility and loving submission to Jesus, and to receive the forgiveness He offers by faith

The woman came to Jesus in complete humility, with the attitude that she was not worthy to even be in His presence.

That was a good way for her to come to Jesus, but He doesn’t want her to stay there.

He raises her up, acknowledges her love, forgives her sin, and sends her in peace.

49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Luke 7:36-50 (NKJV)
Of the works done in this chapter, this is the greatest; sickness that is healed (as in the centurion’s servant), or life that is restored (as in the widow’s son) are not permanent works of healing – those bodies will one day die again.

But sins that are forgiven are forgiven forever
Ironside- As long as people try to justify themselves, God cannot help them.
But when they recognize their need and own their guilt, He can save them.