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A Sinner’s Love



A Sinner’s Love

sinners love

sinners love

 Jesus had a special way of confronting and challenging people to reconsider their rigid views, attitudes and prejudices. Luke’s version of the woman with the alabaster jar of expensive perfume causes us to revisit our ideas of propriety, stewardship and financial prudence.

The central character in this drama – a woman ‘who was a sinner’ – enters as an outsider into the carefully-planned dinner party set in the home of Simon, a wealthy Pharisee.

In a shocking and intimate display of gratitude and love for Jesus, she pushes her way into the inner circle of influential guests, and throwing herself at Jesus’ feet, anoints them with the perfume and her tears and then wipes them with her hair.

Her shameless and extravagant gesture was an emotional response to the overwhelming realisation and acceptance of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Not a spontaneous act, but a calculated, considered response.

As if to silence the ‘tut-tutting’ and the disapproving muttering of the outraged dinner guests, Jesus tells them a parable illustrating the topsy-turvy nature of grace, and the kingdom of God, and reminds the woman that she is indeed forgiven – saved by faith – no longer an outcast but a sister in Christ.

In the closing verses of this week’s gospel passage, we catch a glimpse of some of the courageous women who played a vital role in supporting Jesus and his team as they took the good news to the people.

‘(The Lord)…scatters the proud-hearted. He casts the mighty from their thrones, and raises up the lowly. He fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty….’ (Magnificat: Song of Mary: Lk 1:46-55)



Luke 7:36-8:3 [NRSV]    A Sinful Woman Forgiven

36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 37 And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment.

38 She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment.

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.’

40 Jesus spoke up and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’

‘Teacher,’ he replied, ‘speak.’

41 ‘A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?’

43 Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one for whom he cancelled the greater debt.’

And Jesus said to him, ‘You have judged rightly.’ 44 Then turning towards the woman, he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.’ 48 Then he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’

49 But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’

 50 And he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’


Luke 8: 1-3    Some Women Accompany Jesus

1 Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.