When we think about all of the various sins there are in the world, we might think there are hundreds or thousands of different kinds of sinners. However, if we narrow it down, we may come up with a number much smaller, representing the types of sinners on earth. In Luke 7:36-50, Jesus was in a house with two sinners. However, these two sinners were very different from each other.
The first sinner was the owner of the house. He was a Pharisee named Simon. He had invited Jesus into his home to eat, but we do not know his motives for doing so. We would like to assign genuine and positive motives, but in reading the text, it is difficult to do that. While he had invited Jesus to be his guest, he did not provide any of the “welcome amenities” that were customary in that day.
The second sinner was “a woman in the city” (believed to be an immoral woman “of the streets”) who crashed the party, coming into the home and dinner uninvited. She heard that Jesus was there, and she wanted to be where He was. She stood at His feet, wept, washed His feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, kissed His feet and anointed them with fragrant oil. She provided the “welcome amenities” that Simon did not.
Simon was a sinner, but he didn’t believe it. He was suspicious of Jesus, questioning His divine knowledge. He was judgmental of “what manner of woman this is” who was touching Jesus. The woman was a sinner, but she knew it. She came “behind” Jesus. She did the most menial of all tasks to express her heart to her Savior. What a contrast!
Jesus told a short parable to awaken Simon to the contrast between him and this woman. “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both.” Jesus then asked Simon (get this!), “Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
Jesus indicates that this woman’s sins had already been forgiven her (in some earlier encounter), based upon the Greek perfect tense in verse 48, “Your sins have been forgiven in the past and they remain forgiven at this moment.” So, this woman was not doing all of this because she was seeking forgiveness. She was expressing her immense love for Jesus for having forgiven her of her sins.
This is the tale of two sinners: one who looked at everyone else as sinners, and one who could not contain her excitement for having been forgiven. Friend, which are you? When was the last time you profusely thanked the Lord for forgiving you of your sins? Never take that for granted!