Lesson 132—October 2, 2016
Audio commentary by David Daniel
Scripture: Luke 7:40-50
Lesson Goal: To learn a lesson from a Pharisee named Simon and “this woman.”
Introduction: In verse 39, the Pharisee (Simon) had whispered under his breath, “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.” Jesus responds to the Pharisee’s comment and his attitude in verse 40.
(v. 40) “And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ So he said, ‘Teacher, say it.’”
When the Pharisee whispered under his breath, he was revealing his true feelings and attitude concerning Jesus. The Believer’s Study Bible explains: “The Pharisee doubted Jesus’ credentials because He associated so openly with sinners. Jesus’ association with sinners is a prominent theme in the book of Luke.”
Please read Luke 5:8, 30, 32; 13:2; 15:1, 2, 7, 10; 18:13; 19:7; 24:7.
What do these passages teach us about Jesus?
Jesus wanted Simon’s undivided attention. He wanted him to clearly hear His words. Jesus was about to respond to the Pharisees doubt and spiritual blindness, but we should know that even as Jesus responds, He is giving evidence of the very issue that Simon had questioned in verse 39: “if He were a prophet.” The fact that Jesus knew Simon’s thoughts and his “under-the-breath” whisper gives evidence of the very thing that he was doubting. Jesus indeed was a prophet, but also so much more.
Simon the Pharisee thought that if Jesus were truly a prophet, He would reject this woman’s attention as both inappropriate and demeaning. No true prophet would ever respond as Jesus had responded. For Simon, it was beyond comprehensible. He thought he was about to expose this Jesus.
Without Simon voicing anything at all, “Jesus answered and said to Simon…”
In the following verses, something very important happens (vv. 41-47). Instead of Simon exposing the falsity concerning Jesus, Jesus is about to expose the truth concerning Simon.
What does the light of Jesus’ truth expose about who you really are? Please answer prayerfully and honestly.
Jesus tells a simple story to shine the light of the truth on Simon’s heart. In verses 41-42, He tells that a certain creditor had two men who owed him money (debtors). One debtor owed the creditor an amount 10 times greater than the other. “One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.” Both of these debtors owed money to the same creditor, and both “had nothing with which to repay.” But then Scripture tells that the creditor freely forgives the debts against both debtors.
For better understanding of Jesus’ words, it is helpful to understand that five hundred denarii was about one and one-half years’ wages for a common man of labor; therefore, fifty denarii would be about two months’ wages. But the most important fact is that neither could pay their debt.
The creditor extends grace and mercy to both debtors and freely (graciously) forgives them both of their debts. Freely, (Greek “charizomci”), literally means “graciously forgives.”
Please read Romans 8:32; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 2:13 and 3:13.
“What made the moneylender’s act so generous is that by forgiving the debts of the two individuals, he incurred those debts in full”
Please explain the following statement.
When God forgives our sins, He incurs the debt; and Jesus, His Son, died to pay our sin debt. Please use Scripture to support your explanation.
In verse 42, Jesus directs a pointed and personal question to Simon: “Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
Simon answers cautiously: “I suppose…,” perhaps thinking that Jesus is going to use him or embarrass him. “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” Jesus did not embarrass him. He simply tells Simon: “You have rightly judged.” You have answered correctly.
The principal truth of Jesus’ illustration and point to Simon was very plain and clear—the one that is forgiven the most will love the forgiver the most. With great forgiveness comes great love, and with great love comes great forgiveness.
(v. 44) “Then [Jesus] turned to the woman and said to Simon…” Jesus is about to shine the light of truth upon Simon and his hypocrisy.
How many times does Jesus use the phrase “this woman” in verses 44-47? What is the significance of this phrase?
“Do you see this woman?” From the time she had crashed Simon’s dinner party, he had done nothing but observe her. He had looked at her. He had seen her. He had watched her. He had evaluated her. He had judged her—SINNER.
What did Simon see when he looked at the woman?
What did Jesus see when he looked at the woman?
When you look at someone you define as “a sinner,” whose eyes do you look through—the eyes of the Pharisee Simon or the eyes of Jesus?
Your “under-the-breath” comments and your hidden secret whispers reveal a great deal about your heart.
Simon had watched “this woman” as she did the despicable, but even more despicable in Simon’s eyes was the fact that Jesus allowed this woman to do such a thing!
Exactly what had “this woman” done? She had shown a great appreciation and affection to Jesus. In fact, all the things she had done stood in direct contrast to Simon’s behavior and attitude toward Jesus.
From the very moment Jesus entered the house of Simon the Pharisee, there were no common courtesies shown Him. There was no extension of welcome. But as the woman approached Jesus, she did all the things Simon, as Jesus’ host, should have done but neglected to do.
(v. 44b) “You gave Me no water for my feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears [literally like rain falling], and wiped them with the hair of her head. (v. 45) You gave Me no kiss [welcome] but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. (v. 46) You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.” “All the things that you should have done, but did not do, she has indeed done for me,” said Jesus. Simon had not given Jesus the common courtesy of a welcome kiss, which was customary in that day. He had not given Jesus any water to wash His feet, which was a simple common courtesy toward visitors in one’s home. Simon had not anointed Jesus’ head with oil, usually perfumed oil, as was customary for an honored guest in one’s home.
Simon had not made the most of his opportunity to welcome, serve and honor Jesus, but “this woman” had seized the opportunity. She had poured her appreciation, affection and love upon Jesus as she worshipped and ministered to Him. She put herself at risk to dare enter the house of a Pharisee. Her love for Jesus overpowered any threat or risk to her.
What does your love for Jesus motivate you to do? Do you dare risk embarrassment to worship Him? Does your love for Jesus, and your understanding of what He has done for you, exceed any risk of embarrassment or humiliation as you express your gratitude and thanksgiving to Him?
(v. 47) “Her sins are forgiven.” The actions of this woman were the result of a heart that had been forgiven. Her works (actions) testified to her faith.
What do your actions testify to concerning your relationship with Jesus Christ?
(v. 48) Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” In verse 47, Jesus had already spoken of her forgiveness. But to leave no doubt, He makes a public declaration: “Then He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’”
This woman’s outpouring of love for Jesus was the point (evidence) of her transformed life.
What is the evidence of your transformed life?
(v. 49) Who is this who even forgives sin?
(v. 50) Saving faith brings peace.