Luke 7 – The Sick Healed, the Dead Raised, the Sinner Forgiven
A. A centurion’s servant is healed.
1. (1-5) The centurion’s request.
Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”
a. He entered Capernaum: After the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:20-49), Jesus came to his city of residence (Matthew 4:13, He came and dwelt in Capernaum). This means that the location of the Sermon on the Plain was likely not far from Capernaum.
b. A certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die: This centurion appears as a devout, kind, humble man – yet, all the same he was a centurion – not only a Gentile, but a Roman soldier, and an instrument of Israel’s oppression.
i. The centurion had an unusual attitude towards his slave. Under Roman law, a master had the right to kill his slave, and it was expected that he would do so if the slave became ill or injured to the point where he could not work.
c. He sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant: Apparently, the centurion did not think himself worthy of a personal meeting with Jesus, and perhaps thought Jesus would not want to meet with a Gentile like himself, so he sent Jewish leaders as his representatives to Jesus.
d. The one for whom He should do this was deserving: The Jewish leaders did this for the centurion because he was a worthy man. In contrast, we can come to Jesus directly without a representative even when we are unworthy; He justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5).
i. “These considerations suggest that the captain was a God-fearer, a Gentile who embraced Israel’s God but who did not undergo circumcision.” (Pate)
2. (6-8) The centurion tells Jesus that He need not come, because he knows that Jesus need not be present to do His work.
Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
a. Then Jesus went with them: Jesus did not hesitate to go to the centurion’s house, and we half wish the centurion would have allowed Him. Would Jesus have entered a Gentile’s house? It was completely against Jewish custom, but not against God’s law.
i. Pate cites a rabbinic writing known as m. Obolot 18:7: “The dwelling-places of Gentiles are unclean.”
b. Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof: The centurion knew that it might be a problem for this prominent rabbi to come into his home, so he had his friends meet Jesus on the way to say that it was not necessary for Him to come all the way to the home.
i. The centurion was a remarkable man. The elders said he was worthy; he said he was not worthy. They praised him for building a house of worship; he felt unworthy that Jesus would come to his house. They said he was deserving; he felt himself undeserving. Strong faith and great humility are entirely compatible.
ii. “Two features of character blend in him which do not often meet in such graceful harmony. He won the high opinion of others and yet he held a low estimation of himself.” (Spurgeon)
iii. “Your faith will not murder your humility, your humility will not stab at your faith; but the two will go hand in hand to heaven like a brave brother and a fair sister, the one bold as a lion the other meek as a dove, the one rejoicing in Jesus the other blushing at self.” (Spurgeon)
c. But say the word, and my servant will be healed: The centurion fully understood that Jesus’ healing power was not a magic trick that required the magician’s presence. Instead he knew Jesus had true authority and could command things to be done and see them completed outside His immediate presence.
i. The centurion showed great faith in Jesus’ word. He understood that Jesus could heal with His word just as easily as with a touch.
d. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me: The centurion also knew about the military chain of command, and how the orders of one in authority were unquestioningly obeyed. He saw that Jesus had at least that much authority.
i. “He believes that, just as he, a man with authority, is obeyed by his subordinates, just so surely will the authoritative utterance of Christ be fulfilled even though He is not present where the sick person is.” (Geldenhuys)
3. (9-10) Jesus heals the servant and marvels at the centurion’s faith.
When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.
a. He marveled at him: The centurion’s understanding of Jesus’ spiritual authority made Jesus marvel. His simple confidence in the ability of Jesus’ mere word to heal showed a faith that was free of superstitious reliance on merely external things. This was great faith, worthy of praise.
i. Jesus only marveled on a few occasions. He did so here, at the faith of the centurion, and also at the unbelief of His own people (Mark 6:6). Jesus can be amazed at either our faith or our unbelief.
b. I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! Jesus considered the faith of this Gentile centurion – a living symbol of Jewish oppression – and thought it greater than any faith He had seen among the people of Israel.
i. As a political entity, there was no Israel; there was only a covenant people descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Yet Jesus still called them Israel.
c. Found the servant well who had been sick: Jesus both answered the centurion’s unselfish request and proved that He really did have the authority the centurion trusted Him to have.
B. Jesus raises a boy from the dead.
1. (11-13) Jesus comes upon a funeral procession.
Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”
a. Many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd: The fame and popularity of Jesus continued to grow. Many – more than only the twelve – were disciples of Jesus (in some sense).
i. Nain is “a town today located in the Jezreel plain, six miles southwest of Nazareth.” (Pate)
b. A dead man was being carried out: Any funeral is a tragedy, but this was a special loss. The deceased was the only son of his mother and that the mother herself was a widow. The loss of her only son meant a miserable future for the widow.
i. A large crowd from the city was with her: “The procession probably consisted partly of hired mourners and musicians with flutes and cymbals.” (Geldenhuys)
c. Do not weep: We are specifically told of the compassion of Jesus on this occasion. He instantly understood the situation and had sympathy upon the widow, giving her hope despite the tragedy of the situation.
i. When the Lord saw her: “Luke uses the absolute form of Lord, ‘the Lord’ (kyrios), which emphasizes Jesus’ deity.” (Pate)
ii. In a sermon on this passage (Young Man, Is This For You?), Spurgeon mentioned a few ways in which this event illustrates spiritual truth:
· The spiritually dead cause great grief to their gracious friends.
· For this grief there is only one helper, but He can truly help.
2. (14-17) Jesus raises the young man from the dead.
Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother. Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.” And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.
a. He came and touched the open coffin: Luke gives the vivid image of an open coffin. Jesus looked at the boy and spoke to a dead person as if he were alive.
b. Young man, I say to you, arise: Jesus spoke to the dead as if they were alive. Romans 4:17 says that this is what God alone does; to speak to the dead as if they were alive. God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did (Romans 4:17).
c. So he who was dead sat up and began to speak: On more than one occasion Jesus broke up funeral processions by raising the dead. This was also true for Jarius’ daughter (Luke 8:41-56) and Lazarus (John 11:1-45). Jesus didn’t like death, and He regarded it as an enemy that had to be defeated.
i. This young man was not resurrected but resuscitated; he rose from the dead only to die again. God promises that we will be resurrected and rise from the dead never to die again.
ii. “At this point, a famous anecdote comes to mind from the life of D.L. Moody. Mr. Moody was asked to conduct a funeral service, so he decided to study the gospels to find a funeral sermon delivered by Jesus. However, Moody searched in vain, because every funeral Jesus attended He broke up by raising the dead!” (Pate)
C. Jesus and John the Baptist.
1. (18-19) John sends a question to Jesus.
Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
a. Then the disciples of John: John the Baptist had his own disciples. Some of Jesus’ disciples started as John’s disciples (such as Andrew, John 1:35-40). It was noted when the disciples of Jesus began to outnumber those of John (John 4:1).
b. Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another? John 1:29-36 and other passages indicate that before this, John clearly recognized Jesus as the Messiah. His doubt might be explained because perhaps he himself had misunderstood the ministry of the Messiah. Perhaps John thought that if Jesus were really the Messiah, He would perform works connected with a political deliverance of Israel – or at least the deliverance of John, who was in prison.
i. It is possible that John made a mistaken distinction between the Coming One and the Christ, the Messiah. There is some indication that some Jews of that time distinguished between a prophet to come promised by Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15) and the Messiah. The dominant note here is one of confusion; John’s long trial in prison had confused him.
ii. “John was already in prison, and things began to appear incomprehensible to him. He had expected that Christ would speedily destroy the powers of darkness and judge the unrighteous. But instead of doing this, He leaves him, His forerunner, helpless in prison.” (Geldenhuys)
2. (20-23) Jesus’ answer to John the Baptist’s disciples: tell John that prophecy regarding the Messiah is being fulfilled.
When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’” And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight. Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
a. And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight: This was the real power of the Messiah in action; yet performed in personal, even humble ways.
i. Most of these miracles fulfill some promise found in Isaiah.
· The blind see (Isaiah 61:1, 35:5).
· The lame walk (Isaiah 35:6).
· The deaf hear (Isaiah 35:5).
· The dead live (Isaiah 26:19).
· The poor hear the good news (Isaiah 61:11).
b. Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: Jesus wanted to assure both John and his disciples that He was the Messiah. But He also reminded them that His power would be displayed mostly in humble acts of service, meeting individual needs and not in spectacular displays of political deliverance.
i. We might phrase John’s question like this: “Jesus, why don’t You do more?” Morgan answered this: “To all such restless impatience, He utters the same warning…For the most part, the way of the Lord’s service is the way of plodding perseverance in the doing of apparently small things. The history of the Church shows that this is one of the lessons most difficult to learn.”
c. Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me: Jesus knew that the focus of His ministry was offensive to the expectation of the Jewish people, who longed for political deliverance from Roman domination. But there was a blessing for those who were not offended because of the Messiah who came against the expectation of the people.
i. “The verb rendered takes offence is picturesque. It derives from the trapping of birds, and refers to the action that depresses the bait-stick and so triggers off the trap. It is a colourful way of referring to the cause of trouble.” (Morris)
ii. “It is remarkable that the same word is predicated of John the Baptist and Israel concerning their response to Jesus – scandalized (skandalisthe; cf. Luke 7:23 with Romans 11:9 [cf. 9:33]). Israel was scandalized by Jesus, and we must take Jesus seriously in Luke 7:23 that it was possible for His audience to be offended at His nontraditional role, including John the Baptist.” (Pate)
iii. “A friend has turned these words into another beatitude – The blessedness of the unoffended.” (Meyer)
3. (24-28) Jesus teaches about John the Baptist.
When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written:
‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’
For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
a. What did you go out into the wilderness to see? Jesus explained that John was a great man of God, one who did not live for his own comfort or the approval of others. John was a chosen prophet of God, not a man-pleaser.
b. Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You: Jesus quoted the Malachi (Malachi 3:1) passage about the coming of John, because the prophets themselves were not prophesied, but John was, and this was one way that he was greater than all previous prophets.
· John was steady, not shaken easily like a reed.
· John was sober, in that he lived a disciplined life, not in love with the luxuries and comforts of this world.
· John was a servant, a prophet of God.
· John was sent, as the special messenger of the Lord.
· John was special, in that he could be considered the greatest under the Old Covenant.
· John was second to even the least in the kingdom under the New Covenant.
c. For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: Yet, John was greater than all the prophets, mainly because he had the privilege of saying of the Messiah “He is here” instead of “He is coming.”
d. But he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he: Though John was great, he was not born again under the New Covenant. This is because he lived and died before the completion of Jesus’ work at the cross and empty tomb. Therefore, he did not enjoy the benefits of the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Hebrews 8:6-13).
i. “As we may say, as a rule, that the darkest day is lighter than the brightest night; so John, though first of his own order, is behind the last of the new or Gospel order. The least in the Gospel stands on higher ground than the greatest under the law.” (Spurgeon)
ii. “This is no small comfort to the ministers of the gospel, against the contempts cast upon them by the world. They are somebodies in heaven, whatever men make of them.” (Trapp)
4. (29-30) The reaction to the teaching of Jesus.
And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.
a. And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John: Those who had repented in preparation for the Messiah by receiving John’s baptism found it easy to receive what Jesus said.
b. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves: The religious leaders had little use for the demonstration of repentance in John’s baptism. Their hearts were hard towards John, so it was no surprise that they were also hard towards Jesus.
5. (31-35) Jesus admonishes those who refuse to be pleased by either His ministry or John’s.
And the Lord said, “To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, saying:
‘We played the flute for you,
And you did not dance;
We mourned to you,
And you did not weep.’
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by all her children.”
a. To what then shall I liken the men of this generation: Jesus considered the nature of His current generation, and how they were choosy and uncertain in receiving God’s message and His messengers.
b. We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we mourned to you, and you did not weep: The idea was that those who have a heart to criticize will find something to criticize. Many people wouldn’t be pleased with either John or Jesus.
i. “It is probable that our Lord alludes here to some play or game among the Jewish children, no account of which is now on record.” (Clarke)
ii. The point is clear enough. “If the message is unwelcome, nothing that the messenger can say or do will be right.” (Maclaren)
c. He has a demon: The religious leaders looked at the ascetic lifestyle of John and concluded that he was mad and demon possessed.
d. A glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners: The title friend of tax collectors and sinners was especially in contrast to the more severe ministry of John the Baptist. Not many people would say that John the Baptist was the friend of tax collectors and sinners.
i. “A malicious nick-name at first, it is now a name of honour: the sinner’s lover.” (Bruce)
ii. Jesus didn’t say this of Himself; He told us what the religious leaders said about Him – and for the most part, it was wrong. It wasn’t true that John the Baptist had a demon. It wasn’t true that Jesus was a glutton and a winebibber. It wasn’t true – at least in the sense that they meant it – that Jesus was a friend of tax collectors and sinners. But there was another sense, a glorious sense, in which that last accusation was true.
· He wasn’t a friend of tax collectors and sinners in the sense that He was like them, or in the sense that He helped them commit their sin. This is what the religious leaders meant by their accusation, and it was a false accusation.
· He was a friend of tax collectors and sinners in the sense that He loved them; He did not despise them or push them away. He genuinely wanted to help them and rescue them from the guilt, the shame, the power, and the penalty of their sin.
e. But wisdom is justified by her children: However, the wise man is proved to be wise by his wise actions (her children). Jesus had especially in mind the wisdom to accept both Jesus and John for what they were and what were called to be.
i. “Probably the children of wisdom is a mere Hebraism here for the products or fruits of wisdom.” (Clarke)
ii. People criticized John but look at what he did – he led thousands of people into repentance, preparing the way for the Messiah. People criticized Jesus but look at what He did – taught and worked and loved and died like no one ever has.
D. Jesus forgives a sinful woman.
1. (36-38) A sinful woman anoints Jesus’ feet.
Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.
a. Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him: This seems to show that relations between Jesus and the religious leaders were not yet totally antagonistic. There were some Pharisees who at least wanted a closer, honest look at Jesus.
b. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner: Some suppose this was Mary Magdalene, but we have no evidence of this. In John 12:3 Mary of Bethany also anointed Jesus’ feet with oil, but this was a separate incident.
i. “It ought not to astonish you that there were two persons whose intense affection thus displayed itself; the astonishment should rather be that there were not two hundred who did so, for the anointing of the feet of an honored friend…Loved as Jesus deserved to be, the marvel is that he was not oftener visited with these generous tokens of human love.” (Spurgeon)
c. Who was a sinner: This tells us more than that she was a sinner in the sense that all people are. She was a particularly notorious sinner – most suppose that she was a prostitute. Her presence in the Pharisee’s home showed courage and determination.
i. Trapp calls her, “A strumpet, a she-sinner… a hussy.”
ii. It was bold for a woman with a sinful reputation to come into the house of a Pharisee, but she was willing to do anything to express her love for Jesus.
d. Brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil: Both the container and the contents show that this was an expensive gift she brought to honor Jesus. Since Jesus later announced that her sins were forgiven (Luke 7:48-50), it may be that Jesus forgave her earlier, and would soon publically declare her forgiven.
i. Morris on the alabaster flask: “It had no handles and was furnished with a long neck which was broken off when the contents were needed…We may fairly deduce that this perfume was costly. Jewish ladies commonly wore a perfume flask suspended from a cord round the neck, and it was so much a part of them that they were allowed to wear it on the sabbath.”
ii. “Her service to Jesus was personal. She did it all herself, and all to him. Do you notice how many times the pronoun occurs in our text? [she, three times and her twice in Luke 7:37-38] … She served Christ himself. It was neither service to Peter, nor James, nor John, nor yet to the poor or sick of the city, but to the Master himself; and, depend upon it, when our love is in active exercise, our piety will be immediately towards Christ — we shall sing to him, pray to him, teach for him, preach for him, live to him.” (Spurgeon)
e. And stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears: We can imagine that as the woman anointed Jesus’ feet with oil, she was overcome with emotion. With tears flowing from her eyes, she washed His feet with her tears, wiped them clean with her hair, and she kissed His feet repeatedly.
i. “People reclined on low couches at festive meals, leaning on the left arm with the head towards the table and the body stretched away from it. The sandals were removed before reclining.” (Morris)
ii. Normally, this oil was used on someone’s head. “In all probability, the woman intended to anoint Jesus’ head with her perfume. But, because Jesus, like the other participants, reclined with His head toward the table, the closest the woman could get to Jesus was His feet.” (Pate)
iii. “O for more of this love! If I might only pray one prayer this morning, I think it should be that the flaming torch of the love of Jesus should be brought into every one of our hearts, and that all our passions should be set ablaze with love to him.” (Spurgeon)
iv. “To have her hair flowing would be deemed immodest…[she] kissed fervently, again and again.” (Bruce) We can only imagine how awkward this scene was, and how everyone silently watched the woman and her emotional display. No one said anything until Jesus broke the silence in the following verses.
2. (39-40) An objection to what the woman did.
Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
a. When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this: The host now became a questioner, possibly a hostile one.
b. This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner: Simon the Pharisee doubted that Jesus was a prophet because he thought that Jesus was unable to see this woman’s heart. Jesus will show that He can read the heart of man by exposing Simon’s heart.
c. Simon, I have something to say to you: Jesus broke the silence – probably a terribly awkward silence – by saying that He had something to say, and to say personally to Simon.
i. “When all the philosophers are dumb, and cannot give one word of help or comfort; when learning has no message to inspire or to console the heart; when sympathy hesitates to break the silence…the Lord has something to say.” (Morrison)
3. (41-43) Jesus answers with a parable.
“There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”
a. There was a certain creditor who had two debtors: Jesus used a simple parable to illustrate the point that the more we are forgiven, the more we should love.
i. “Christ tells the supercilious and self-conceited Pharisee by this parable, that himself was a sinner also as well as the woman, and as a debtor to God’s judgment, had as much need of his grace in Christ for remission of sin and removal of wrath.” (Trapp)
ii. “All men are debtors to God; yet some are greater debtors than others.” (Spurgeon)
b. Which of them will love him more? Simon seemed to hesitate in his response (I suppose). He probably understood that Jesus set a trap with this story.
4. (44-47) Jesus applies the parable to both Simon and the sinful woman.
Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
a. Do you see this woman? Simon the Pharisee thought that Jesus was the one who could not see her. His thought was, “Jesus, don’t you see this shameful woman associating so closely to You?” Jesus turned the thought around on Simon, saying, “Do you see this woman? Simon, do you see her love, her repentance, her devotion? That’s what I see.”
i. Simon the Pharisee did not see the woman as she was (a humble sinner seeking forgiveness, pouring out love for Jesus) because he looked at her as she had been (a notorious sinner).
ii. “It is not easy for us to blot out a past, and to free ourselves from all prejudice resulting from our knowledge of that past. Yet that is exactly what the Lord does. And He does so, not unrighteously, but righteously. He knows the power of His own grace, and that it completely cancels the past, and gives its own beauty to the soul.” (Morgan)
b. I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet: Simon the Pharisee denied Jesus the common courtesies from a host to a guest – washing the feet, a kiss for a greeting, and anointing the head with oil. Yet, he criticized the woman for giving these courtesies to Jesus.
i. Jesus noticed neglect and appreciated devotion. He did not reject deeply emotional devotion.
c. I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much: She wasn’t forgiven because of her great love; her great love was evidence that she had been forgiven, probably privately on a prior occasion and now publicly.
5. (48-50) Jesus assures the woman of her forgiveness from God.
Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
a. Your sins are forgiven: If Jesus has already said that her sins are forgiven (Luke 7:47), yet He also said this directly to the woman. We need the healing power inherent in the words your sins are forgiven.
i. It can be so hard for us to truly believe that we are forgiven; often, we must be persuaded of it.
b. Who is this who even forgives sins? Jesus had the authority to forgive the woman, and He was right to do so. She displayed humility, repentance, trust, and love for Jesus.
i. “Even the guests began to realize that Jesus was more than a prophet; He was divinely able to forgive an unclean woman.” (Pate)
c. Your faith has saved you: The key to her forgiveness was faith – it was her faith that saved her, because it was her faith that believed the words from Jesus your sins are forgiven. Faith enabled her to take the grace God gave to her.
i. Forgiveness is ready from God; there is no hesitation or shortage on His part. Our part is to come with humility and loving submission to Jesus, and to receive the forgiveness He offers by faith.
d. Go in peace: The woman came to Jesus in complete humility, with the attitude that she was not worthy to even be in His presence. That was a good way for her to come to Jesus, but He did not want her to stay there. He raised her up, acknowledged her love, forgave her sin, and sent her in peace.
i. The word “go” was probably not welcome. She liked being at the feet of Jesus. Yet Jesus sweetened the “go” by adding, “in peace.” She could go in peace because she heard from Jesus that her faith had saved her.
ii. Of the works done in this chapter, this was the greatest. Healed sickness (as in the centurion’s servant), or restored life (as in the widow’s son) are not permanent works of healing, because those bodies would one day die again. Sins that are forgiven are forgiven forever.
©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission