The Pharisee who had invited Jesus was watching, and thought, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what sort of person is touching him; isn’t this woman a sinner?” Then Jesus spoke to the Pharisee and said, “Simon, I have something to ask you.” He answered, “Speak, master.” And Jesus said,
“Two people were in debt to the same creditor. One owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty. As they were unable to pay him back,
he graciously canceled the debts of both. Now, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, who was forgiven more.”
And Jesus said, “You are right.” And turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? You gave me no water for my feet when I entered your house;
but she has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You didn’t welcome me with a kiss; but she has not stopped kissing my feet since she came in. You provided no oil for my head; but she has poured perfume on my feet. This is why, I tell you, her sins, her many sins, are forgiven, because of her great love.
But the one who is forgiven little, has little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others reclining with him at the table began to wonder, “Now this man claims to forgive sins!” But Jesus again spoke to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace!”
The Pharisee hosting Jesus does not blame the woman for her intimate expressions. Everyone knows the woman and her profession.
Nothing is then surprising in the woman’s acts, which the host reads as indecent seduction.
What surprises the Pharisee is Jesus’ toleration and appreciation of the woman. His regard for Jesus,
as prophet and man of God, collapses as Jesus falls prey to the lure of perfume and hair. Here lies the big difference:
the Pharisee pays more attention to the perfume and hair. Jesus pays more attention to the tears. He sees remorse and longing for renewal.
The Pharisee reads the woman’s gesture as seduction; Jesus reads it as begging for God’s forgiveness and love.
Jesus digs deep into motivations far more than actions. That is the mark of a real prophet—reading people according to how God reads them,
that is, through the heart.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2020