Parable of Loving God


Feast in the house of Simon, by Francken (1630)

Luke 7:36-39 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.

The first few verses are important to understand the context of the parable. A sinful woman from the city happened to know that Jesus was at the Pharisees house, came and washed His feet with tears and anointed His feet with the fragrant oil. The Pharisee who invited Jesus, doubted if He was even a prophet when He is allowing the woman who is a sinner to touch Him.

The Parable

Luke 7:40-42 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” 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. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?

The parable is about a certain creditor who had two debtors. One debtor owes 500 denarii and the other with 50 denarii. They had nothing with which they can repay. The creditor  freely forgave them both. Then, Jesus asks, which of the two will love the creditor more and the Pharisee answered, the debtor who owes more.

Luke 7:43-50 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins? Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

The Pharisee answered, the one to whom more debt are forgiven. Then Jesus answered, the one to whom more sins are forgiven, loves Him more and the one to whom less sins are forgiven loves Him less.

Loving God requires “Action”

A sinful woman came to Jesus loving Him and all her sins are forgiven. Well, that’s great. Everyone can say they love God. But Jesus didn’t stop there. He showed what it means to love Him.

  • The woman washed His feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.
  • The woman had not ceased to kiss His feet since the time He came in.
  • The woman had anointed His feet with fragrant oil.

You don’t love God just by saying, “I love God”. You truly love God only if you are ready to wash Christ’s feet and kiss them by showing your humility and accept His authority and ready to anoint His feet with something far more valuable that could cost your entire wealth.

Mark 14:4-5 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.

Based on a similar incident, we can roughly estimate that the cost of the fragrant oil with the sinful woman anointed the feet of Christ is around 300 denarii.

Mark 6:37 But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” .. Mark 6:44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.

Sometimes, we miss out the costs involved. it is better to stop to evaluate the cost and see if we are ready to spend that amount.

If we can buy bread worth 200 denarii, we can feed 5000 men. Hence, with 300 denarii, we can feed 7500 people. To put another way, she had enough money to have bread at her home for 20 years! It is probably the most valuable thing she might have had from her savings of her entire life. Yet she placed everything on the feet of Jesus.

Beware! Some will not receive any grace. Repent while you are alive.

Beware! Some will not receive any grace. Repent while you are alive.

Think about what happened to Ananias and Sapphira who put their possession at apostle’s feet but with a lying heart.

If can say you love God and yet not ready to submit to God and also submit all your valuable treasures at the feet of Jesus, you do not love God. Among all who came, sinful woman who was ready to submit her valuables and herself at Jesus feet was saved and returned home with her sins forgiven. Are you ready to submit yourself and all your valuables at the feet of Jesus?

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