Simon the Snob and a Courageous Sinner

by TerryLema

The last event in Luke 7 is to me the most treasured. I like reading about the Centurion’s faith. I like noting the compassion Jesus had for the widow who lost her only son. And the story of John the Baptizer and his disciples always makes we wonder about things. But the interaction between Jesus, Simon the Pharisee and a sinful woman is the most precious to me. [Luke 7:36-50]

Jesus had been invited to dinner at the house of Simon the Pharisee. Simon apparently dispensed with the common courtesies afforded guests (water to wash their dusty feet, a kiss of greeting, anointing oil). It showed the great lack of respect that Simon had for Jesus.

At some point during the meal a woman in the town who was known as a “sinner” snuck into Simon’s home and found Jesus. She had an alabaster jar of fragrant oil and she stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with her tears. She wiped His feet with the hair of her head, kissing them and anointing them with fragrant oil.”

Simon snobbishly labeled both Jesus and the woman—she was a sinner and Jesus could certainly not be a prophet if He allowed this woman to touch Him.  Jesus, immediately recognizing what Simon was thinking, told him a parable about much forgiveness and much love. The parable was about a creditor who had two people in debt to him, one owing 500 denarii and the other only 50. The creditor forgave both … so which debtor would love more?  Of course, the one who owed the most.

The woman knew she was a great “sinner,” but her faith, as Jesus noted later, drove her to Jesus. It took much courage for her to come into the house of Simon, a Pharisee who did not think he had any debt at all.

Jesus pointed out to Simon his lack of respect and how this “sinner” woman had provided everything Simon had failed to provide. Then Jesus had two things to say to the woman … “Your sins are forgiven … Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

I love this story because I know that I am like that sinful woman. It took courage to admit that five decades ago, but I did. I came to my Precious Savior. My sins are forgiven. Now I am saved through God’s grace by faith. My peace is real.

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