Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 7:50
“And He said to the woman, your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50
Pharisees were a legalistic people who believed a person pleased God by following the Law. They were very strict regarding the Mosaic Law along the various unwritten traditions. Because of this, many of the Pharisees Jesus met were hypocrites in the way they obeyed the religious laws, and hence viewed themselves. In a banquet Levi gave, a tax collector is portrayed as a host and sinner, and Pharisees were seen as intruders. “And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax-gatherers and other people who were reclining at the table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, Why do you eat and drink with the tax-gatherers and sinners?” And Jesus answered and said to them, It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:29-32. Now in this banquet, a Pharisee is seen as a host and a sinner as an intruder.
In this account, there was a Pharisee who invited Jesus to come to his house for a meal. Common courtesies of the day would have been to offer Jesus water to wash his feet, or as is sometimes done, had his servants wash them. He should have greeted his guest with a kiss and anointed his head with oil. However, he did none of those things for Jesus even though he had invited Him to be his guest. This showed he probably did not hold Jesus as all that important. Now, note the difference with the Pharisee and this woman who was designated a sinner. “And behold, there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with the perfume.” Luke 7:37-38. She did all the things that were customary in that day, but with incredible humility. She knew who He was, for we read in an earlier verse. “And behold, there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with the perfume.” Luke 7:37-38.
Now when the Pharisee observes what this woman did, he sees this is proof that Jesus was not a prophet. It appears that the Pharisee was looking for something to judge Him on, and when he saw how Jesus dealt with the woman he basically thought Ha! I have Him now; He plainly knows nothing of the person He allows to touch Him; and so, He can be no prophet. However, Jesus saw through the woman and saw her humility, but He also saw through the Pharisee and saw his heart. But Jesus, knowing his thoughts, said “Simon, I have something to say to you. And he replied, Say it, Teacher. A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him more? Simon answered and said, I suppose the one whom he forgave more. And He said to him, You have judged correctly.” Luke 7:40-43. Simon answers correctly, the one forgiven more will love the one forgiving more. Jesus then lays out how the woman loved Him more than the Pharisee, showing it by the deeds she did for Him. But Simon did little for Jesus, thus showing how much less he loved Jesus. Then Jesus looks at the woman and says, which is our focus verse, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50.
We need to be careful how we see ourselves in this Christian walk. I have seen many times where someone will see themselves as great in the eyes of God, while looking at other Christians as not worthy of salvation. This is how the Pharisee saw what happened at the banquet, that they were worthy of salvation because of their life, but those who are ‘sinners’ are not. However, Through faith salvation came to the woman. Not because of her love but through faith exhibited by love, the woman experienced the forgiveness of sins. Her love was a subsequent witness to her faith and forgiveness. That Jesus’ fundamental concern in these verses is with this woman’s restoration to the community of God’s people, not with her individualistic experiences of forgiveness or assurance of divine acceptance is suggested first by the fact that she is presented as already behaving in ways that are a result of her new life. And in addition, Jesus addresses her with words ‘your faith has made you whole’ usually reserved for when a miraculous event takes place. This speaks of a restoration with God, and also with His people. Let us be careful that we do not act and respond to others in the way the Pharisee did, but in the way Christ did, with an attitude of love for our neighbor.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.