Read: Luke 7:36-50
In C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, Edmund and Susan Pevensie both display loyalty to the lion Aslan. However, Edmund’s loyalty is of a different sort, because Aslan not only forgives him after he betrays them all, but sacrifices himself to pay for Edmund’s betrayal. Susan has many of the same experiences as Edmund, but never knows the weight of forgiveness that Edmund did. In The Last Battle, it is revealed that she fell away from her belief in Aslan.
Today’s parable is also a study in contrasts, and stems from a dramatic scenario. A sinful woman enters the home of a Pharisee. In an intimate, inappropriate gesture, she wets Jesus’ feet with her tears, kisses them, pours perfume on them, and wipes them with her hair. Simon, the host, is mortified (v. 39).
Jesus instructs Simon and his guests using a story (vv. 41-43). One person owed a small amount (almost two months’ wages), another a large amount (almost two years’ wages). Both were released from their debts. The answer to the question, “Which of them will love him more?” is obvious, and Simon gets it on the first try. Then Jesus compares Simon and the woman.
Simon didn’t show Jesus any of the courtesies of the day. He didn’t provide Jesus water to wash His feet (v. 44), give Him a kiss of greeting (v. 45), or anoint His head (v. 46), all common signs of affection and respect. By contrast, the woman displays a love far surpassing Simon’s. She didn’t just provide water but washed His feet with her tears. She couldn’t stop kissing Him. She even provided a costlier anointing perfume than ordinary oil.
Jesus drives His point deep: this woman’s great love is evidence of her forgiveness and salvation (v. 50).
Simon shows little love not because he has sinned little; in fact, his pride and disregard of Jesus suggest otherwise. Rather, he doesn’t realize the true nature of his sin or his deep need for Christ.
What has Christ forgiven for you by His death on the Cross? How will you love Him today?