Jesus goes to eat with a Pharisee! Did the Pharisee want to trap Jesus, or was he sincere? It doesn’t really matter. Jesus is willing to go regardless, and it shows us something about how we should respond to others.
People could drop by when a rabbi was visiting. Some may even come by for food. But the woman in this passage did more than that. She belonged to the social class regarded as “sinners.” We aren’t told why. But she is overcome by the presence of Jesus, and washes his feet with her tears, dries them with her hair, and anoints them with oil. She, in fact, performs more host duties than the host, which may make us suspect Simon’s reasons for inviting Jesus!
Simon thinks that Jesus can’t really be a prophet, or he wouldn’t allow a “sinner” to touch Him and thereby become ceremonially defiled. Jesus knows what he’s thinking. He knows what Simon’s thinking! And He challenges him with a parable. The story illustrates the same principle as what Jesus said earlier: “Those who are well don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (5:31-32). Simon doesn’t understand who Jesus is. Simon doesn’t feel any need to be forgiven: he is righteous! The woman knew better, and was overcome with emotion. She needed Jesus, and Jesus responds to her contrition and faith: “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which were many, are forgiven, thus she loved much; but the one who is forgiven little loves little.”
The people are amazed that He would say such a thing: “Who is this, who even can forgive sins?” We who believe should be amazed too, because we know who this is, and we know our own hearts, and Jesus still forgives us!
1 Timothy 1:15-17 “This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’—and I am the worst of them! But here is why I was treated with mercy: so that in me as the worst, Christ Jesus could demonstrate his utmost patience, as an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life. Now to the eternal King, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen.”