Today we see Jesus interact with a Roman Centurion, raise a widow’s son from the dead encourage John the Baptist and have a woman pour perfume on his feet. Never a dull moment!
Included below is commentary, additional thoughts and explanation for each section. Each colored verse (Example: 7:1 can be clicked on to allow you to see that verse. Be sure and check out the Life Application sections, I think they are helpful.
A Roman Officer Demonstrates Faith / 7:1-10
The story of the officer’s extraordinary faith in Jesus reiterates a dominant theme in Luke’s writings (this Gospel and the book of Acts): the inclusion of the Gentiles in the family of faith. The faith of this officer foreshadows the faith of another officer, Cornelius, the first Gentile convert to Christianity (see Acts 10).
7:1 Capernaum had become Jesus’ “home base” while he was in Galilee. Located on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum was the largest of the many cities surrounding the lake. Far more than just a fishing village, it was the economic center of Galilee and sat near a major trade route and thus was a wealthy city. The city housed a contingent of Roman soldiers.
7:2-3 A Roman army officer had a highly valued slave who was sick and near death. The officer wanted him to be healed. Why so much concern about a slave? The Jewish historian Josephus wrote that Roman soldiers had many slaves who actually trained and fought with them. So this slave may have been the officer’s personal attendant with whom he felt a close bond. The officer had heard about Jesus, so he certainly knew of Jesus’ healing power. He sent a request for healing to Jesus apparently because he believed Jesus was sent from God. He may have known about the healing of the official’s son (which probably occurred earlier, see John 4:46-54). He knew that Jesus had the power to heal his slave. Matthew 8:5 says the Roman officer visited Jesus himself, while Luke says he sent some respected Jewish leaders to present his request to Jesus. In those days, dealing with a person’s messengers was considered the same as dealing with the one who had sent them.
- LIFE APPLICATION – BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS
- Notice who the main characters are in this short drama: the Jewish elders, a Roman centurion, and the centurion’s slave. The elders were part of God’s chosen nation, Israel, but they are generally not well spoken of in Scripture. Centurions are generally regarded positively by the Gospel writers but were obviously not part of the chosen people. And slaves were regarded at that time as human chattel, little more than mere property. Jesus broke through all those barriers, all the way to the sick man’s need. The gospel travels well across ethnic, racial, national, and religious barriers. Are you willing to work through them as well? Do you have friends, Christian or non-Christian, from other racial and ethnic backgrounds? Jesus was no respecter of such artificial divisions. Reach out to those whom Jesus came to save.
7:4-5 The animosity between the Jews and the Romans was no secret. The Jews hated the occupation army; the Romans, in turn, hated the Jews. Yet in this story we find a different sort of Roman soldier—a man who seems to have been a God-fearing man. He loved the Jewish people, and he built a synagogue (meaning that he funded it and certainly had genuine interest in it and the God worshiped there). That this officer could request a favor of these Jewish elders and have them respond so willingly would normally come as a surprise. That the elders earnestly begged Jesus to come on behalf of this officer was even more out of character with normal Jewish / Roman relations.
- LIFE APPLICATION – A WORD FROM JESUS
- It’s difficult to find people who can be taken absolutely at their word. In spite of good intentions, many people are not completely reliable and trustworthy. What a treasure when we meet reliable people! We respect and admire them. The centurion who sent for Jesus’ help somehow knew that Jesus was completely dependable. And, what’s more, he knew Jesus was capable of doing what he said he would do. Hence the soldier’s confession of faith: “Say the word, and my servant will be healed.” His trust in Jesus serves as an excellent model for ours. We should strive to obey Jesus and take him at his word.
7:6-8 Jesus responded to the request brought by the Jewish elders and went with them. Just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent another message by way of some friends, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home . . . Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.” The officer understood that since he was a Gentile, he was considered unclean by the Jews. He may also have felt himself unworthy to have Jesus enter his home. This Gentile understood more than most of the Jews of Jesus’ day; he saw Jesus’ superiority. He saw that Jesus’ authority was greater than his own and that Jesus did not have to personally visit his home. Jesus’ word would be enough.
The officer was accustomed both to obeying and to being obeyed. He may have understood that Jesus’ power and authority came from God. When Jesus spoke, God spoke. Jesus did not need rituals or medicines or even his touch or presence to accomplish a healing. The officer applied his understanding of authority to Jesus.
- LIFE APPLICATION – AUTHORITY
- A private does not ponder the wisdom of his sergeant’s orders before carrying them out. A captain doesn’t debate with a colonel the merits of his decisions. Soldiers respond to and obey orders from their commanding officers. Otherwise, the military would collapse in chaos and never be able to defend itself against another army. Any good military person, like this centurion, understands this implicitly. That is probably why the centurion was able to grasp so profoundly the authority that Jesus possessed over even diseases. When you read God’s commands in the Bible, or sense his leading in prayer, do you respond as automatically as a soldier under someone else’s authority? Do you carry out the Lord’s instructions as faithfully and unquestioningly as this centurion? Do you regard yourself as a person under God’s authority?
7:9 The Jews who had been looking for Jesus couldn’t see him for who he was, yet this Gentile did. Jesus was amazed and exclaimed to the crowd that he had not seen faith like this in all the land of Israel. This did not mean that no one in Israel had faith, but many did not accept the Good News (Romans 10:16). Without the benefit of really knowing the Old Testament Scriptures and learning from esteemed Jewish leaders, this Gentile man understood the need to depend totally on Jesus’ power. He knew, without a doubt, that Jesus could do what seemed impossible. Such faith both astonished and pleased Jesus.
- LIFE APPLICATION –FAITH LIKE THIS
- Everybody loves to see the underdog come through. It’s become a movie cliché—the poor kid with nothing going for him except his own heart and determination wins against the wealthy, privileged kid whose parents and trainers have given him every material advantage. There’s something about a man or woman who achieves against the odds and overcomes the obstacles. Spiritually, the Jews had every advantage: they had Abraham as their father, Moses had given them God’s law, and they had the great written record of the kings and the prophets to instruct and inspire them. In spite of all that, they were still lacking something: courageous, unquestioning faith. This Gentile, on the other hand, this Roman centurion—who had none of the advantages God’s people had enjoyed for hundreds and hundreds of years—had such a faith, and it astonished Jesus and, presumably, gave him great joy. The faith present in many who have been in church for many years would hardly astonish Jesus. Believers must keep their trust in Christ at full strength. Reading Christ’s words and studying his amazing life will fortify your faith.
7:10 Luke did not even record another word spoken by Jesus, but emphasized that the officer’s faith had been well placed. The officer’s friends returned to his house and found the slave completely healed.
Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son from the Dead / 7:11-17
With a touch and his word, Jesus gave life. He had already healed a number of maladies: demon possession (4:35), sin (5:20), and all kinds of diseases (5:13, 15). Here Jesus clearly demonstrated his power over death.
7:11-12 The village of Nain was a few miles southeast of Nazareth and about a day’s journey from Capernaum. Upon approaching the gate, they came upon a funeral procession. A woman led the procession, followed by the dead man being carried out, and then many mourners. A funeral procession—the relatives of the dead person following the body that was wrapped and carried on a kind of stretcher—would make its way through town. As the procession passed, bystanders would be expected to join. In addition, hired mourners would cry aloud and draw attention to the procession. What made this funeral especially sad was that the dead boy was the only son of a widow.
7:13 This woman had already lost her husband, and here her only son was dead—her last means of support. The crowd of mourners would go home, and she would be left penniless and alone. The widow was probably past the age of childbearing and would not marry again. Unless a relative would come to her aid, her future was bleak. In the first century, it was very difficult for a woman to earn her own living. Without anyone to provide for the widow, she would be an easy prey for swindlers, and she would likely be reduced to begging for food. No wonder when the Lord saw this sad sight and the tearful woman, his heart overflowed with compassion. In fact, as Luke repeatedly emphasized, Jesus cares about people’s deepest needs. As Jesus’ crowd met the crowd of mourners, Jesus went to the woman and gently said, “Don’t cry.” This would be an empty statement under most circumstances; however, Jesus, Lord over death itself, was going to change the circumstances. Jesus has the power to bring hope out of any tragedy.
7:14 Jesus again reached out to someone in need with compassion, risking becoming unclean. To touch even the bier would have made him unclean. Risking ceremonial defilement according to the law (Numbers 19:11-22), Jesus touched the coffin. Jesus approaching the procession and touching the coffin was highly unusual, so the bearers stopped. Then Jesus spoke directly to the body, “Get up.”
- LIFE APPLICATION – COMPASSION
- How do you react when you see a funeral procession? Sadness, grief, indifference, even anger or annoyance . . . different people have different responses to others’ grief. Luke 7:13-14 shows us Jesus’ response to such a situation. The text does not reveal if Jesus knew the bereaved mother or her son, but he felt compassion for her. Perhaps Jesus was thinking ahead to the time when his own mother would have to endure the loss of her son. Whatever the reason, we know that Jesus reached out to this woman in empathy and compassion in her time of grief. When you are confronted by human suffering, grief, pain, need, you have a choice: you can walk away, hiding behind social, pragmatic, or even religious excuses; or you can emulate Jesus and reach out in compassion to others in his name.
7:15 Suddenly the boy who had been dead sat up and began to talk. What he said is left to our imagination, but the important point is that Jesus gave him back to his mother. Jesus did the ultimate act of compassion—he did what no human being could have done. These words are almost identical to 1 Kings 17:23 when the great Old Testament prophet Elijah brought a widow’s only son back to life.
7:16 The miracle of raising a widow’s son to life brought to the people’s minds the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath. The people praised God, and exclaimed that a mighty prophet had arrived among them. The people thought of Jesus as a prophet because, like the Old Testament prophets, he boldly proclaimed God’s message and performed great miracles. Both Elijah and Elisha had raised children from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:8-37). The people were correct in thinking that Jesus was a prophet, but he was much more—he was God himself. That they recognized the hand of God at work probably does not mean that they recognized Jesus as God. Instead, they were using an Old Testament expression that often denoted blessing (as in Ruth 1:6; 1 Samuel 2:21).
7:17 The obvious result of Jesus’ miraculous act of raising a dead person to life meant that the report of what Jesus had done that day spread everywhere. The town of Nain is actually in the region of Galilee, so the word Judea is used here not for the region, but for the entire “land of the Jews” (as in 4:44). Word about Jesus went all over the country and beyond.
Jesus Eases John’s Doubt / 7:18-35
At this time, John the Baptist was in prison (see 3:19-20). King Herod, also known as Herod Antipas, had married his own sister-in-law, and John the Baptist had publicly rebuked Herod’s blatant sin. In an attempt to quiet him, Herod had imprisoned him (see also Matthew 4:12; 14:1-5). “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting?” (7:19). Luke used John the Baptist’s simple question as a springboard for exploring Jesus’ identity. He was not merely a prophet (as the people recognized in the preceding section; 7:16), he was the Prophet, the promised Messiah.
7:18-20 John the Baptist had his own disciples who apparently were keeping in touch with him during his imprisonment. They told him about everything Jesus was doing—healing people, raising some from the dead, and teaching about a coming Kingdom. This caused John to wonder, so he called two of his disciples and sent them back to Jesus with a question, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep on looking for someone else?” John had baptized Jesus, seen the heavens open, and heard the voice of God (3:21-22), yet something caused him to doubt. Perhaps John was wondering why Jesus brought blessing but little judgment, for John had preached that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire and separate the “wheat” from the “chaff” (3:15-17). Jesus’ peaceful teaching and healing ministry may not have seemed to measure up. Maybe John wondered that if Jesus was the promised Messiah, why he didn’t just say so. John, like the rest of the Jews, expected Jesus to be the conquering Messiah-King. What did all the parables and veiled teachings mean?
7:21 The acts listed here that Jesus was doing consist of observable deeds that Jesus’ contemporaries had seen and have reported for people to read today. The prophets had said that the Messiah would do these very acts (see Isaiah 35:5-6; 61:1). These physical proofs helped John—and will help people today—to recognize who Jesus is.
7:22-23 Jesus answered John’s doubts by telling John’s disciples to go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard. Jesus gave specific examples of miracles he had done—some are recorded in the Gospels, probably many more are not. Jesus’ actions revealed who he was—and Jesus knew that by telling the messengers to say this, John would come to the right conclusion. Then, as if in a postscript, Jesus told the messengers to tell John, “God blesses those who are not offended by me.” The word for “offended” suggests closing a trap. God’s blessing would come to those who accepted Jesus’ credentials and believed in him rather than being “caught and trapped” by their false expectations and thus missing him completely.
- LIFE APPLICATION – LOOK FOR ANSWERS
- John was confused because the reports he received about Jesus were unexpected and incomplete. John’s doubts were natural, and Jesus didn’t rebuke him for them. Instead, Jesus responded in a way that John would understand: Jesus explained that he had accomplished what the Messiah was supposed to accomplish. God can handle all doubts, and he welcomes all questions. Do you have questions about Jesus—about who he is or what he expects of you? Admit them to yourself and to God, and begin looking for answers. Only as you face your doubts honestly can you begin to resolve them.
7:24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus talked to the crowd about John. In case anyone got the wrong impression of John or thought that Jesus was rebuking him, Jesus set the record straight by explaining John’s ministry. In the following verses, Jesus asks three questions and gives three answers. When John the Baptist began his ministry, he was preaching out in the wilderness, and people went out to see and hear him (3:3). Jesus asked if the people had found a man weak as a reed. A “reed” is the cane-like grass that grows on the banks of the Jordan River. To compare a person to a reed was to say that the person was without moral fiber or courage, easily tossed about by various opinions, never taking a stand on anything. The people did not see a weak and fearful person. Instead, the people witnessed John’s fiery preaching and willingness to speak out against sin.
7:25 In a second question, Jesus asked if the people had trekked out into the wilderness expecting to see a man dressed in expensive clothes. Again, Jesus gave the answer—John’s rough attire made of camel’s hair (Matthew 3:4) was hardly expensive or beautiful. Someone dressed like that would be found in palaces, not in the wilderness.
7:26-27 In this third question, Jesus pinpointed the reason that the people had gone into the wilderness—they went out to see a prophet. In fact, they had seen, Jesus said, more than a prophet. Jesus described John as “more” because John alone had inaugurated the messianic age and had announced the coming Kingdom of God. More than being a prophet, John had been the subject of prophecy, fulfilling Malachi 3:1. Jesus changed the words “before me” to “before you,” showing that the wording refers to Jesus as the Messiah. John was the last to function like the Old Testament prophets, the last to prepare the people for the coming Messianic age. John came to announce the arrival of the Kingdom; with Jesus Christ, the Kingdom arrived.
7:28 Of all people, no one fulfilled his God-given purpose better than John the Baptist. His role as forerunner of the Messiah put him in a position of great privilege with none greater. Yet in God’s Kingdom, all who come after John have a greater spiritual heritage because they have clearer knowledge of the purpose of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The most insignificant person in the Kingdom of God is a faithful follower who participates in the Kingdom. John would die before Jesus would be crucified and rise again to inaugurate his Kingdom. Because they will witness the Kingdom’s reality, Jesus’ followers will have privilege and place greater than John’s. Jesus was not contrasting the man John with individual Christians; he was contrasting life before Christ with life in the fullness of Christ’s Kingdom.
7:29-30 The obvious contrast here cannot be missed. The words are simple but their significance is profound. All the people, referring to the crowds, and even the tax collectors had come to understand an important truth. When these common, ordinary people, and these evil, self-serving tax collectors heard Jesus’ words, they agreed that God’s plan was right. Certainly John had done his job—these people were ready to accept Jesus because they had been prepared. They had listened to John’s preaching (3:7-18) and had been baptized by him.
But the group who should have been most ready and most accepting had refused John’s baptism. They had refused the repentance and confession that John had required (probably because they felt themselves already righteous and did not need to do so). The Pharisees and experts in religious law had rejected the forerunner of Jesus; the obvious result was that they also had rejected their own Messiah. Luke explained that in so doing, they had rejected God’s plan for them. While they may have understood God’s law, they had missed his purpose.
- LIFE APPLICATION – DISCOVER THE PLAN
- The tax collectors (who embodied evil in most people’s minds) and common people heard John’s message and repented. In contrast, the Pharisees and experts in the law—religious leaders—rejected his words. Wanting to live their own way, they justified their own point of view and refused to listen to other ideas. Rather than trying to force your plans on God, try to discover his plan for you.
7:31-32 This generation referred to the people, many of whom were the religious leaders (7:30), who had rejected John the Baptist and so also rejected Jesus. Jesus condemned their attitudes. No matter what Jesus said or did, they took the opposite view. Jesus compared them to children playing a game in the central part of town where the town’s business was conducted. These children played games, perhaps copying adults in either celebrating as at a wedding dance or wailing as at a funeral. Some wanted to play “wedding” and calling out to others to join them, but their companions ignored their invitation and didn’t want to play. Then the children suggested playing “funeral,” but the others again refused to play. Nothing they did could get their friends to join them; neither extreme pleased them. Jesus’ generation, like the children in the square, did not respond to the calls issued by John the Baptist and by Jesus.
- LIFE APPLICATION – CHILDLIKE OR CHILDISH?
- Children at play can be a joy to watch. Their free, uninhibited laughter and total abandonment to the pursuit of having fun are beautiful to see. But a child who is sulking and withdrawn can be equally exasperating; nothing makes him happy, nothing will cheer him up, nothing is any good at all. Jesus said believers are to be childlike in their faith (Matthew 18:1-4)—free, trusting, joyful. But he had harsh words for those whose behavior was childish. To them he basically said, “Nothing is good enough for you. Nothing makes you happy.” Would an impartial observer describe your Christian walk as childlike or childish? Believers should enjoy the Lord and his people rather than constantly feeling unhappy, critical, looking for reasons to withdraw from brothers and sisters who may be slightly different. Do you change churches often, criticizing various pastors, music and worship leaders, or programs? Take a few minutes to examine your heart to see if you need a more mature approach to your Christian faith.
7:33-34 The religious leaders criticized John the Baptist because he didn’t drink wine and he often fasted. Because he was so different, the religious leaders assumed that he was demon possessed. By contrast, Jesus (here calling himself the Son of Man) would feast and drink. But that did not satisfy the Jews either. They simply labeled him as a glutton and a drunkard who hung out with the lowest sort of people. Many of the Jews in Jesus’ generation, including most of the religious establishment, simply refused to listen to either John or Jesus. Neither John’s asceticism nor Jesus’ enjoyment of life could please the stubborn people who chose not to believe, no matter what was offered.
- LIFE APPLICATION- RELIGION VS. RELIGIOSITY
- What comes to your mind when you hear someone described as “religious”? A man wearing a dark suit and narrow tie, or a woman with a frumpy dress and long face? Unfortunately, contemporary culture has made the word “religious” synonymous with “boring,” “rigid,” and “no fun.” And yet what a contrast Jesus presents—someone who enjoyed life, lived with gusto, and brought joy to the most downcast and rejected people. He enjoyed himself and others. Christians should acknowledge that they often fit the narrow, stuffy stereotype so often portrayed on TV and in the movies. Then they should look at their vibrant, life-loving Lord and repent, asking him for the grace to live the abundant life he himself lived and died to give them.
7:35 God’s wisdom is seen in Jesus’ deeds. People could see the Kingdom’s power through Jesus’ miracles. These miracles proved Jesus’ teaching to be right. People might reject both the miracles and the teaching, but that will not change their truth nor will it hinder the Kingdom’s arrival. Those who follow wisdom are the followers of Jesus and John. These followers lived changed lives. Their righteous living demonstrated the validity of the wisdom that Jesus and John taught.
A Sinful Woman Anoints Jesus’ Feet / 7:36-50
In this section, Luke continued to explore the two radically different reactions to Jesus’ ministry (see 7:29, 30). In this passage, the blatant arrogance of the Pharisees and the wise humility of a sinful woman stand side by side.
7:36 While Jesus did dine with tax collectors and others whom the religious elite thought to be “sinners” (5:29-30; 7:34), he also would share a meal with a Pharisee (see also 11:37; 14:1). This Pharisee was named Simon (7:40). When guests came to a home, they would remove their sandals; then their feet would be washed by servants.
7:37 This immoral woman, who may have been a prostitute, went to see Jesus. A meal such as this was not a private affair; people could come in, sit around the edges, watch what went on, and listen to the conversation. Thus, this woman could have gotten in, although her reputation would proceed her and she would not necessarily be welcome among this company of people. So it probably took her great courage. The woman brought a beautiful jar filled with expensive perfume. Many Jewish women wore a small perfume flask on a cord around their neck. This jar of perfume would have been valued very highly by this woman.
7:38 Although the woman was not an invited guest, she entered the house anyway and knelt behind Jesus at his feet. These people were reclining as they ate, so the woman anointed Jesus’ feet without approaching the table. She began weeping, and as her tears fell on his feet, she wiped them off with her hair. This woman understood that Jesus was very special. Perhaps she, as a sinner, had come to Jesus with great sorrow for her sin. Perhaps she had followed John the Baptist and had confessed her sins. She may have been in the crowds that had been following Jesus and had come to believe in him. She may have come to Jesus grateful for being forgiven and so offering him the gift of her valuable perfume. To wash Jesus’ feet was a sign of deep humility—it was the job of a slave.
7:39 The Pharisee looked over from his meal and saw what was happening—that is, he saw this woman with a notorious reputation in his house, near his table, weeping and pouring perfume on the feet of his guest. Any self-respecting rabbi would have realized this woman’s sinful nature and recoiled at being touched by her—for to be touched by a sinner would make Jesus unclean and the Pharisees avoided any contact with “uncleanness.” This Pharisee concluded, “If God had really sent Jesus, he would know what kind of woman is touching him” and would have told her to go away.
This religious leader had no concern for this woman’s plight, no desire to lift her from her sinful life, or to help her become a better Jewish woman. Instead, he judged her as a sinner, shoved her aside, and presumed that any other rabbi (and especially one who was a “prophet”) would do the same.
7:40 Jesus knew the Pharisee’s thoughts and so spoke up and answered them (see also 5:22; 6:8). Simon had already made a judgment of Jesus and probably felt morally superior to him as well. But Jesus had asked for his attention, so he acted like the good host. “All right, Teacher,” Simon replied, “go ahead.”
- LIFE APPLICATION – SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS
- Have you ever badly overestimated your abilities in some area? Maybe you asked someone to play tennis or one-on-one basketball, only to get blown off the court. Or perhaps you volunteered to sing and then found out the music was way beyond your abilities. It’s a very humbling and enlightening experience. Simon the Pharisee had a similar experience with Jesus. Simon badly overestimated his own righteousness. He looked at the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with her perfume and her tears as someone of less value, morally inferior. Jesus had to show Simon his own sins—particularly the sins of ungraciousness and inhospitality—in order for him to understand his own need for forgiveness. When you see someone caught in some kind of notorious sin, how do you respond: “Thank God I’m not like that” or “Lord, have mercy on me, the sinner”? If you have understood God’s forgiveness and personally experienced it, be willing to grant forgiveness to others.
7:41-43 This creditor had one man who owed him five hundred pieces of silver, and another who owed him fifty pieces. It would not be difficult for Simon to see which debtor would love the creditor more if he forgave them both their debts. “That’s right,” Jesus said.
7:44-46 Simon had committed several social errors in neglecting to wash Jesus’ feet (a courtesy extended to guests because sandaled feet got very dirty), offer him the kiss of greeting, and anoint his head with oil. The sinful woman, by contrast, lavished tears, expensive ointment, and kisses on Jesus. In this story it is the grateful prostitute, and not the self-righteous religious leader, whose sins were forgiven.
7:47 This woman’s act of humility and love show that she had been forgiven. Jesus did not overlook her sins. He did, in fact, know that this woman was a sinner (7:39), and he knew that her sins were many. But the fact that her many sins were forgiven caused her to overflow with much love for Jesus. The woman’s love did not cause her forgiveness, for no one can earn forgiveness. Her faith in Jesus, despite her many sins, saved her (7:50). By contrast, self-righteous people, like Simon, feel that they have no sins that need to be forgiven, therefore they also have little love to show for it.
- LIFE APPLICATION-GREAT FORGIVENESS
- Overflowing love is the natural response to forgiveness and the appropriate consequence of faith. But only those who realize the depth of their sin can appreciate the complete forgiveness God offers them. Jesus has rescued all of his followers, whether they were once extremely wicked or conventionally good, from eternal death. Do you appreciate the wideness of God’s mercy? Are you grateful for his forgiveness?
7:48 Although it is God’s grace through faith that saves, and not acts of love or generosity, this woman’s act demonstrated her true faith, and Jesus honored her faith by telling her in no uncertain terms, “Your sins are forgiven.” Jesus supported this woman and treated her with dignity. Believers need to demonstrate Jesus’ approach in dealing with people.
- LIFE APPLICATION – PERSPECTIVE
- Simon saw the sin; Jesus saw the sinner. Simon saw her offenses; Jesus saw her need. Simon saw the depth of her depravity; Jesus saw the magnitude of her love. All people are sinners. That fact alone should keep anyone from feeling superior or self-righteous. People also are loved beyond measure. That should keep anyone from feeling worthless or hopeless. Is there someone whom you have been looking down upon, considering his or her sins as much more serious than your own? Do you need to repent of any self-righteous attitudes toward anyone? When you are confronted with the sins of others, remember Jesus’ words of forgiveness for this woman. When you face the reality of your own sins, remember that God’s mercy and forgiveness are just as real—and just as necessary—for you too.
7:49-50 The Pharisees believed that only God could forgive sins, so they wondered why this man Jesus was saying that the woman’s sins were forgiven. They asked each other, “Who does this man think he is, going around forgiving sins?” They did not grasp the fact that Jesus was God and therefore did have the authority to forgive sins. But Jesus simply looked at the woman and said, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” This woman’s humility did not save her, nor did her tears or her expensive perfume. It was her faith, her complete trust in the only one who could forgive her sins and save her. When people trust Christ, he changes their lives, gives them freedom from sin, and gives them peace with God.
Please feel free to join the discussion and add your own comments and personal insights at the bottom of each day’s post. It would be great to hear from you.
Until tomorrow, Darrell
Life Application Bible Commentary and Life Application Concise New Testament Commentary
For more about The Ridge Fellowship or Darrell Koop, go to www.ridgefellowship.com