I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”
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What we see in this story is two completely different attitudes toward the Messiah.
It’s unclear why Simon invited Jesus to dinner. Not all the Pharisees viewed themselves as the enemy of Jesus, but because this man disregarded all the customs of his day when entertaining a guest—a kiss of greeting, cool water to wash the dust off the guest’s feet, and a drop oil to anoint their head with a sweet, welcoming fragrance—we don’t get the impression that Simon had high esteem for Jesus. It’s possible he only invited Him out of curiosity.
Regardless, Simon’s rudeness was highlighted by the actions of the woman who appeared at the feet of Jesus. This woman was of “ill-repute,” meaning that she was a prostitute. She brought the only thing she had.of value, which was a small alabaster vial of costly perfume. More than likely, it was an essential oil of some kind. Since getting into oils myself in the last several years, I can tell you that some of them are extremely expensive. So I can see how a small vial could be worth a small fortune.
The woman threw all dignity to the side when she dropped to her knees and began kissing the feet of Jesus. With her tears and costly perfume, she tended to Jesus’ feet as Simon had neglected to do. With her unbound hair (which was considered immodest in that culture), she then dried them.
Was she being purposefully immodest? I don’t believe so I believe that it only proves that she didn’t care what anyone thought of her—she only cared that she show her love to the one Man who had the power to cleanse and forgive her.
The Pharisee didn’t see any need for forgiveness, and so he received none. Neither did he show any love toward Jesus.
The woman saw her great need for forgiveness, and she received it. And she who knew her need lavished her love on her Savior, and was loved in return.
What keeps us from intimacy with the Lord? The belief that we don’t need Him. But when we are most conscious of our sin, and desperate for redemption, that’s when our intimacy with Jesus begins.