(36) A Pharisee invited Jesus to eat with him. Jesus went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfumed oil. She stood behind Jesus and began to cry, washing his feet with her tears, wiping them with the hair on her head, kissing them and anointing them with the perfumed oil.
(39) When the Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this, he said in mind to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what sort of woman was touching him — a sinner.”
(40) Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.
(41) “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii and the other owed fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back so he forgave both of them their debts. So, which of them will love him more?”
(43) Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had been forgiven of the bigger debt.” “Your judgment is good,” Jesus said.
(44) Then turning toward the woman, but still speaking to Simon, he said, “Do you see this woman here? I came into your house and though you did not give me any water for my feet, she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman has not stopped kissing my feet, from the time I set foot here. You did not put oil on my head, but she has anointed my feet with perfume. Therefore, I tell you, her great loves proves that her many sins have been forgiven. But whoever is forgiven of only a little, loves only a little.”
(48) Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
(49) The other guests at the table began to say within themselves, “Who is this who person who dares to ‘forgive sins?’”
(50) Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Enter into peace.” (Luke 7:36-50 DSV – The sinful woman)
1. How are Pharisees depicted in Luke’s Gospel? Is there a pattern to this depiction?
2. What is the significance of “an alabaster jar of perfumed ointment?” (vs.37) What is the significance of the specific mention of this sort of container and can we determine the possible composition of the ointment?
3. The woman is said to have lived “a sinful life” (vs.37). What does this mean exactly? Can we determine from this wording of what sins she was guilty and is there any basis whatsoever for thinking, as some commentators presume, that she was Mary Magdalene?
4. What was a typical setting for a meal for guests like at this time in this culture?
5. The Pharisee refers to the question of whether or not Jesus was a “prophet” (vs.39) and addresses Jesus as “teacher” (vs.40). How is Jesus addressed in Luke’s Gospel, by whom and how do these descriptions affect the flow of meaning in Luke’s Gospel?
6. What do we know of the customs of greeting guests Jesus refers to in vs.44-46? How were guests in this culture typically greeted?
7. Jesus told the woman her sins were forgiven (vs.48). Who else does Jesus speak a word of forgiveness to directly or indirectly in Luke’s Gospel? In the other Gospels?
8. The guests ask themselves, in effect, “Who does this person think he is since he is bold enough to pronounce someone’s’ sins forgiven?” (vs.49) Where else in Luke’s Gospel does this question as to Jesus’ identity get stated directly in Luke’s Gospel?
9. Is this account of Jesus being anointed by a woman parallel to other accounts mentioned in other Gospels (i.e. – Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8) or merely similar to them?