The three main characters in the passage of Luke 7:36-50 are Jesus, Simon, and the unnamed “woman of the city”. Jesus has been invited to a party at the home of Simon, who is a Pharisee, but he’s also skeptical of Jesus’s claim of being the Messiah and having the ability to forgive sins. While they’re enjoying their meal, the sinful woman entered the party, found Jesus, and worshipped him. She did so by weeping at Jesus’s feet, washing them with her tears, drying them with her hair, kissing them, and anointing them with expensive ointment. Jesus, having the ability to know Simon’s thoughts, responded to him with a parable. Throughout this parable, it becomes clear that Simon’s skepticism is about to be crushed. Jesus demonstrates he has authority over sin by forgiving the woman of her sins and stating her faith has saved her.
Each of these individuals- Jesus, Simon, and the woman- have unique traits and responses to one another throughout this passage. Jesus has been invited by the type of person who is trying to have him arrested and killed. However, being invited to Simon’s house reveals that Jesus is approachable and flexible. He shows his willingness to interact with those who doubt him as Messiah in order to bring truth to the unbelievers. He is showing that he isn’t too busy to further the kingdom of God. Simon has invited Jesus over to his house to test him. Simon has the home-field advantage and likely plans to expose Jesus as a fraud. There are other Pharisees present at this meal, but Jesus isn’t afraid to face them or their difficult questions. He does what only the Messiah can do: delivers truth and forgives sins. Lastly, we have the woman who isn’t invited to the party as a guest but arrives to beg for scraps from the lavish meal. However, she disregards her role as a beggar of food to be a beggar of forgiveness. She seeks Jesus, and upon finding him, she humbles herself and worships. Jesus responded to her sins with grace and to her faith with salvation and peace.
What is your response to Jesus? Being a believer, you probably aren’t skeptical of who he is or what he does, but you may have a heart posture of skepticism about your role in evangelism. In the Pharisee, we see doubt and disregard for Jesus’s authority. In Jesus, we see approachability and warmth. In the woman, we see humility and faith. What do nonbelievers see in you?