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Extravagant Worship

36 Afterward Simeon,[a] a Jewish religious leader, asked Jesus to his home for dinner. Jesus accepted the invitation. When he went to Simeon’s home, he took his place at the table.

37 In the neighborhood there was an immoral woman of the streets, known to all to be a prostitute. When she heard that Jesus was at Simeon’s house, she took an exquisite flask made from alabaster,[b] filled it with the most expensive perfume, went right into the home of the Jewish religious leader, and in front of all the guests, she knelt at the feet of Jesus. 38 Broken and weeping, she covered his feet with the tears that fell from her face. She kept crying and drying his feet with her long hair. Over and over she kissed Jesus’ feet. Then, as an act of worship, she opened her flask and anointed his feet[c] with her costly perfume.

39 When Simeon saw what was happening, he thought, “This man can’t be a true prophet. If he were really a prophet, he would know what kind of sinful woman is touching him.”[d]

40 Jesus said, “Simeon, I have a word for you.”

“Go ahead, Teacher. I want to hear it,” he answered.

41 “It’s a story about two men who were deeply in debt. One owed the bank one hundred thousand dollars,[e] and the other only owed ten thousand dollars. 42 When it was obvious that neither of them would be able to repay their debts, the kind banker graciously wrote off the debts and forgave them all that they owed. Tell me, Simeon, which of the two debtors would be more thankful? Which one would love the banker most?”

43 Simeon answered, “I suppose it would be the one with the greater debt forgiven.”

“You’re right,” Jesus agreed. 44 Then he spoke to Simeon about the woman still weeping at his feet.

“Do you see this woman kneeling here? She is doing for me what you didn’t bother to do. When I entered your home as your guest, you didn’t think about offering me water to wash the dust off my feet. Yet she came into your home and washed my feet with her many tears and then dried my feet with her hair. 45 You didn’t even welcome me into your home with the customary kiss of greeting, but from the moment I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You didn’t take the time to anoint my head with fragrant oil, but she anointed my head and feet with the finest perfume. 47 She has been forgiven of all her many sins. This is why she has shown me such extravagant love. But those who assume they have very little to be forgiven will love me very little.”

48 Then Jesus said to the woman at his feet, All your sins are forgiven.”[f]

49 All the dinner guests said among themselves, “Who is the one who can even forgive sins?”

50 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith in me has given you life. Now you may leave and walk in the ways of peace.”

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  1. 7:36 The name Simeon is supplied from v. 40.
  2. 7:37 This is a soft, cream-colored stone often used for jars and vases.
  3. 7:38 Six times in Luke we find someone at Jesus’ feet (described as “beautiful” in Isa. 52:7): (1) the sinful woman mentioned in this verse who poured out her worship and tears at Jesus’ feet; (2) the demonized man who worshiped at Jesus’ feet (8:35); (3) Jairus, who fell at his feet pleading for a miracle for his daughter (8:41); (4) Mary, who sat at his feet and received his word (10:39); (5) the healed leper who fell at his feet in deep gratitude (17:15–16); (6) those who worshiped Jesus at his resurrection when he showed them his hands and his feet (24:39–40).
  4. 7:39 Simeon thought Jesus should have known the sinfulness of the woman, but Simeon should have known the love of the one next to him, who was ready to forgive and restore. Religion focuses on the sinfulness of a person, but faith sees the glory of the one who forgives and heals.
  5. 7:41 The Greek text uses the monetary term denarius. The point is that one person owed more than a year’s wages, the other much less.
  6. 7:48 Twice in Luke’s Gospel we hear Jesus say, “All your sins are forgiven.” Once he says it to a man (Luke 5:20) and here to a woman. The proof of her sins being forgiven is her love; with the healed man it was his life, for he took up his bed and walked.

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