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Because He First Loved Us

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A Sermon on Luke 7:36-50

A Sinful Woman Forgiven

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward 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 wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (ESV)

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Do you know Jesus, or simply know things about Him? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines this question by looking at the life of Simon the Pharisee. Jesus was invited to dine with Simon, but Simon had not believed that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. This is unlike the woman who washes Jesus’ feet with her hair and anoints him. She, who is a sinner, recognizes Jesus for who He is and treats him as such. Those who know they are the greatest sinners are driven to come and worship at the feet of Jesus. While those like Simon do not submit to Christ Jesus as Lord of their lives are ignoring the only source of forgiveness. This is because true religion has Christ at the center. It is one that is concerned with loving God and others because they have been transformed and made new in Christ Jesus. They see themselves for who they are and come to Christ for salvation and cleansing from all sin and unrighteousness. It is God’s law that drives sinners to see their need for salvation and it drives them to Jesus Christ who alone can save sinners from judgment and condemnation.


Additional Scripture Translations

Luke 7:36-50, New American Standard Bible

The Anointing in Galilee

36Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to eat with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37And 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, 38and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and she wiped them with the hair of her head, and began kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. 39Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner!”

Parable of Two Debtors

40And Jesus responded and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 41“A moneylender had two debtors: the one owed five hundred denarii, and the other, fifty. 42When they were unable to repay, he canceled the debts of both. So which of them will love him more?” 43Simon answered and said, “I assume the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” 44And turning toward 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 wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You gave Me no kiss; but she has not stopped kissing My feet since the time I came in. 46You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48And He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” 49And then those who were reclining at the table with Him began saying to themselves, “Who is this Man who even forgives sins?” 50And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Luke 7:36-50, King James Version

36¶ And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. 37And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 40And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 44And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.


About Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.