Days after my wife gave birth to our third child, I made the mistake of forgetting to bring home ice cream from the grocery store. While I made it home in record time with (almost) everything else on the list, I had forgotten the most important item . . . chocolate brownie ice cream! Obviously, I was in need of forgiveness! If Jesus walked the earth today, this could easily have been the beginning of one of His parables.
In today’s text, Jesus told a parable during a dinner party at a Pharisee’s home. A woman interrupted the gathering by weeping at Jesus’ feet. She then wiped His feet with her hair and doused them with expensive perfume. As the Pharisee watched this generous act of kindness, he could not believe what his eyes were witnessing (v. 39). Sensing the Pharisee’s thoughts, Jesus turned this incident into a teaching moment His host and the guests would remember: Thankfulness flows out of forgiveness. He shared a parable about a moneylender who forgave two men’s debts (vv. 41–42). Then Jesus related it to the scene that was occurring at His feet.
The woman in our text today would have most likely been well known in that town, but for all the wrong reasons. Luke doesn’t tell us exactly what her sin was, but the text indicates that most people knew about it and she was ashamed of what she had been doing or had done (v. 39). This is why her actions toward Jesus took incredible courage. Despite what others thought, she stopped at nothing to demonstrate her thankfulness, perhaps because she knew she was in the presence of One who was not going to demean, take advantage of, or criticize her. She was in the presence of someone who could offer her forgiveness. Her abundance of thankfulness flowed from Jesus’ forgiveness.
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