Third Sunday after Pentecost
June 13, 2010 (Lectionary 11)
2 Samuel 11:26–12:10, 13-15
Psalm 32 (5)
1 Kings 21:1-10 [11-14] 15-21a
Psalm 5:1-8 (8)
Prayer of the Day
O God, throughout the ages you judge your people with mercy, and you inspire us to speak your truth. By your Spirit, anoint us for lives of faith and service, and bring all people into your forgiveness, through Jesus Christ, our savior and Lord.
Alleluia. In this is love, that God loved us and | sent the Son
to be the atoning sacrifice | for our sins. Alleluia. (1 John 4:10)
1a. CONTEXT: Luke 7:36-8:3
The general theme of the two volume work of Luke-Acts relates to beneficial actions of God in the lives of people in this world. The theme is developed in the meaning of what God has done, first in the servant, Jesus, and then in the servant, the church. In volume one, the Gospel, after introducing Jesus, the work of Jesus is described in two stages. This is followed by a report of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
This lection is a portion of stage one of the report of Jesus' work. This stage focuses on the identity of Jesus. After reporting the call of the disciples, Luke includes his version of the Sermon on the Mount. Following the sermon is a series of segments describing contacts by Jesus with people. In these contacts the nature of his mission is revealed. Jesus healed the son of a Roman Centurion. He restored life to the son of a widow. He related his work to the ministry of John the Baptist. In this lection, Jesus contrasts his contact with the reputable guests at a party with his contact with a woman known to be a sinner.
1b. TEXT: Luke 7:36-8:3
ESV: A Sinful Woman Forgiven
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table. 37 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, 38 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. 39 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.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”
41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 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. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss 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 are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at 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.”
Women Accompanying Jesus
8:1 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them  out of their means.
1 - 7:49 Or to
2 - 8:3 Some manuscripts him
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
1. 36 Ἠρώτα δέ τις αὐτὸν τῶν Φαρισαίων ἵνα φάγῃ μετ’ αὐτοῦ· καὶ εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Φαρισαίου κατεκλίθη1. 37 καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ ἥτις ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει ἁμαρτωλός, καὶ ἐπιγνοῦσα ὅτι κατάκειται2 ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ Φαρισαίου, κομίσασα3 ἀλάβαστρον4 μύρου5 38 καὶ στᾶσα ὀπίσω παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ κλαίουσα, τοῖς δάκρυσιν6 ἤρξατο βρέχειν7 τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ καὶ ταῖς θριξὶν8 τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτῆς ἐξέμαξεν9, καὶ κατεφίλει10 τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ καὶ ἤλειφεν11 τῷ μύρῳ5. 39 ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Φαρισαῖος ὁ καλέσας αὐτὸν εἶπεν ἐν ἑαυτῷ λέγων· οὗτος εἰ ἦν προφήτης, ἐγίνωσκεν ἂν τίς καὶ ποταπὴ12 ἡ γυνὴ ἥτις ἅπτεται αὐτοῦ, ὅτι ἁμαρτωλός ἐστιν. 40 καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν· Σίμων, ἔχω σοί τι εἰπεῖν. ὁ δέ· διδάσκαλε, εἰπέ, φησίν. 41 Δύο χρεοφειλέται13 ἦσαν δανιστῇ14 τινι· ὁ εἷς ὤφειλεν δηνάρια15 πεντακόσια16, ὁ δὲ ἕτερος πεντήκοντα17. 42 μὴ ἐχόντων αὐτῶν ἀποδοῦναι ἀμφοτέροις18 ἐχαρίσατο19. τίς οὖν αὐτῶν πλεῖον ἀγαπήσει αὐτόν; 43 ἀποκριθεὶς Σίμων εἶπεν· ὑπολαμβάνω20 ὅτι ᾧ τὸ πλεῖον ἐχαρίσατο19. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ὀρθῶς21 ἔκρινας. 44 καὶ στραφεὶς22 πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα τῷ Σίμωνι ἔφη· βλέπεις ταύτην τὴν γυναῖκα; εἰσῆλθόν σου εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν, ὕδωρ μου ἐπὶ τοὺς πόδας οὐκ ἔδωκας· αὕτη δὲ τοῖς δάκρυσιν6 ἔβρεξέν7 μου τοὺς πόδας καὶ ταῖς θριξὶν8 αὐτῆς ἐξέμαξεν9. 45 φίλημά23 μοι οὐκ ἔδωκας· αὕτη δὲ ἀφ’ ἧς εἰσῆλθον οὐ διέλειπεν24 καταφιλοῦσά10 μου τοὺς πόδας. 46 ἐλαίῳ25 τὴν κεφαλήν μου οὐκ ἤλειψας·11 αὕτη δὲ μύρῳ5 ἤλειψεν11 μου τοὺς πόδας. 47 οὗ χάριν26, λέγω σοι, ἀφέωνται αὐτῆς αἱ ἁμαρτίαι αἱ πολλαί, ὅτι ἠγάπησεν πολύ· ᾧ δὲ ὀλίγον ἀφίεται, ὀλίγον ἀγαπᾷ. 48 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῇ· ἀφέωνταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι. 49 καὶ ἤρξαντο οἱ συνανακείμενοι27 λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς· τίς οὗτός ἐστιν, ὃς καὶ ἁμαρτίας ἀφίησιν; 50 εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα· ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε, πορεύου εἰς εἰρήνην. 1 Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ καθεξῆς28 καὶ αὐτὸς διώδευεν29 κατὰ πόλιν καὶ κώμην30 κηρύσσων καὶ εὐαγγελιζόμενος τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ οἱ δώδεκα σὺν αὐτῷ, 2 καὶ γυναῖκές τινες αἳ ἦσαν τεθεραπευμέναι ἀπὸ πνευμάτων πονηρῶν καὶ ἀσθενειῶν31, Μαρία ἡ καλουμένη Μαγδαληνή32, ἀφ’ ἧς δαιμόνια ἑπτὰ ἐξεληλύθει, 3 καὶ Ἰωάννα33 γυνὴ Χουζᾶ34 ἐπιτρόπου35 Ἡρῴδου καὶ Σουσάννα36 καὶ ἕτεραι πολλαί, αἵτινες διηκόνουν αὐτοῖς ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐταῖς.
κατακλίνω, ϖερβ, σιτ δοων, σιτ ατ μεατ, μακε σιτ δοων (5−0)
κατάκειμαι, ϖερβ, λιε, σιτ ατ μεατ, κεεπ, σατ δοων (12−0)
κομίζω, ϖερβ, ρεχειϖε, βρινγ (12−0)
ἀλάβαστρος, νουν, αλαβαστερ βοξ, βοξ (4−0)
μύρον, νουν, οιντμεντ (14−0)
δάκρυον, νουν, τεαρ (10−0)
βρέχω, ϖερβ, ραιν, ωαση, ραιν , σενδ ραιν (7−0)
θρίξ, νουν, ηαιρ (15−0)
ἐκμάσσω, ϖερβ, ωιπε (5−0)
καταφιλέω, ϖερβ, κισσ (6−0)
ἀλείφω, ϖερβ, ανοιντ (9−0)
ποταπός, αδϕεχτιϖε, ωηατ μαννερ οφ, ωηατ, ωηατ μαννερ οφ μαν, ωηατ μαννερ οφ περσον (7−0)
χρεοφειλέτης, νουν, δεβτορ (2−0)
δαν(ε)ιστής, νουν, χρεδιτορ (1−0)
δηνάριον, νουν, πεννψ, πενχε, πεννψωορτη (16−0)
πεντακόσιοι, αδϕεχτιϖε, φιϖε ηυνδρεδ (2−0)
πεντήκοντα, αδϕεχτιϖε, φιφτψ (7−0)
ἀμφότεροι, αδϕεχτιϖε, βοτη (14−0)
χαρίζομαι, ϖερβ, φοργιϖε, γιϖε, φρεελψ γιϖε, δελιϖερ, γραντ, φρανκλψ φοργιϖε (23−0)
ὑπολαμβάνω, ϖερβ, συπποσε, ανσωερ, ρεχειϖε (15−0)
ὀρθῶς, αδϖερβ, ριγητλψ, πλαιν, ριγητ (4−0)
στρέφω, ϖερβ, τυρν, τυρν ονεσ σελφ, τυρν ονε, τυρν αγαιν, τυρν βαχκ αγαιν, τυρν ονε αβουτ, βε χονϖερτεδ, ϖρ τυρν (22−0)
φίλημα, νουν, κισσ (7−0)
διαλείπω, ϖερβ, χεασε (1−0)
ἔλαιον, νουν, οιλ (11−0)
χάριν, αδϖερβ, φορ τηισ χαυσε , βεχαυσε οφ, ωηερεφορε , ωηερεφορε , φορ σακε, το σπεακ ρεπροαχηφυλλψ (9−0)
συνανάκειμαι, ϖερβ, σιτ ατ μεατ ωιτη, σιτ ωιτη, σιτ τογετηερ ωιτη, σιτ δοων ωιτη, σιτ ατ ταβλε ωιτη (7−0)
καθεξῆς, αδϖερβ, ιν ορδερ, αφτερωαρδ, αφτερ, βψ ορδερ (5−0)
διοδεύω, ϖερβ, γο τηρουγηουτ, πασσ τηρουγη (2−0)
κώμη, νουν, ϖιλλαγε, τοων (26−0)
ἀσθένεια, νουν, ινφιρμιτψ, ωεακνεσσ, δισεασε, σιχκνεσσ (24−0)
Μαγδαληνή, νουν, Μαγδαλενε (12−0)
Ἰωάν(ν)α, νουν, ϑοαννα (2−0)
Χουζᾶς, νουν, Χηυζα (1−0)
ἐπίτροπος, νουν, στεωαρδ, τυτορ (3−0)
Σουσάννα, νουν, Συσαννα (1−0)
2. ANALYSIS: Luke 7: 36-8:3
Notes from the English Text: Simon, a prominent community leader, invited Jesus, the traveling Rabbi, to a dinner party at his home. The polite atmosphere of the dinner was soon disrupted when a woman of the city, known to be a sinner, approached Jesus while he was at the table. To the shock of the host, Jesus allowed the woman to wash his feet with her tears and dry them with her hair.
When Simon challenged his behavior, Jesus told his host a small story about two men who owed debts they could not repay. One owed a small amount while the other owed much. The Lender cancelled the debts of both. Jesus then asked: "Which of the two will be more grateful?" Simon selected the one whose cancelled debt was larger. Jesus agreed and then pointed out the contrast between the way she had treated him and the way Simon had treated him. The behavior of both revealed the attitudes in their hearts.
Notes on Greek words and phrases:
7:37 - [ ]; "a sinner in the city;" This arrangement of words to describe her is a reflection of her notoriety. It does not in itself describe what kind of sin.
7:41 - [ ]; "debtor;" This word is used only here and Luke 16:5 in the New Testament.
7:42 - [ ]; "forgave;" This is a warm word for forgiveness. It is a favor freely and graciously offered.
7:47 - [ ]; "forgiven;" This word describes a direct assurance of forgiveness or pardon.
Notes from commentaries:
In the social setting of Jesus' day, dinner parties were often community events. The table in the middle of the room was for invited guests. People of the community were welcome to stand around the wall and listen in as the guests talked. Dinner guests literally "reclined" at table. Couches were set at angles around the table. Guests reclined with their heads near the table. The woman who approached Jesus, left the wall and went to his feet which were extended away from the table. With that arrangement, she could easily wash his feet and dry them.
While the typical conclusion about the woman who was "a sinner of the city" is that she was a prostitute, that is not necessarily so. A "sinner" could be one guilty of immorality, like a prostitute. "Sinner" also referred to people who engaged in a dishonorable or ritually unclean occupation. Some such occupations were tax collector, shepherd, donkey-driver, peddler, and tanner. Her husband or father could have followed an occupation that set the family apart in the city.
The text does not report the cause of the woman's tears. What it does report is her exceptional gratitude to Jesus. The implication of gratitude is that she had already been forgiven and responded accordingly.
Simon invited Jesus to a dinner because he was a visiting Rabbi. He half-thought he might be a prophet. His reception was polite but not warm. Some of the expected courtesies of a host were omitted. Simon did not have a servant wash Jesus' feet - a sign of concern for a guest's comfort when people wore sandals and accumulated dirt in travels. He did not offer perfumed oil for Jesus's head - a relief after walking in the hot sun. The contrast is between the host whose hospitality is restrained and the woman whose ministries were excessive. Jesus indicated that her care was prompted by deep gratitude for forgiveness.
Simon was shocked that Jesus allowed a woman, a sinner, to touch him in public. That Jesus did so weakened Simon's belief he might be a prophet. He expected a prophet to know what kind of woman she was.
In good Rabbinic fashion, Jesus told Simon a story. "Two men borrowed money. One owed 500 coins; the other owed 50. Neither was able to repay the loans. The lender forgave both." Which would be more grateful, Jesus wanted to know. Simon thought the person who had the larger debt cancelled.
Simon thought Jesus did not really see the woman like he did. Jesus questioned that: "Simon, do you see this woman?" Simon only saw her exterior. Jesus saw deep into her heart. Jesus really was a prophet. Then, perhaps it was obvious that Simon was unable to see her like Jesus did, Jesus explained what was happening in her life. Her behavior was an expression of deep gratitude for being forgiven. The character of her heart was revealed by what she did.
Her behavior was in sharp contrast to that of Simon. His behavior had revealed not even courteous care for Jesus at the same time her behavior revealed deep gratitude. She had been forgiven - he had not.
3. STRATEGY: Luke 7: 36-50
The text offers several possibilities for application to human life today. The loving, forgiving activity of God precedes the human response. The text strongly emphasizes that the woman's grateful behavior was a RESPONSE to what God had done for her. She did not minister to Jesus to be forgiven; she ministered to Jesus in gratitude for having been forgiven. In a society that can so easily require one to earn or deserve what is received, this text offers an opportunity to explore the grace of God. If people must earn or deserve God's love, they are "out of luck." None do. BUT they have hope because God chooses to give love first.
A second option can focus on the grateful response of the woman to her forgiveness. Genuine gratitude prompts one to do acts of devotion to Jesus. While she was able to serve Jesus directly, today we serve him in the people around us. Anyone in need, hurting, or helpless becomes "Jesus" whom we can serve. It requires little effort to discover many we can care about.
A third option could be self-righteous blindness. The malady of Simon exists in us today. Too easily those of us who are "reputable" stereotype those who are not like us and label them "sinner." This text, and its "meta-story" may convict us and call us to spiritual insight and true repentance that can accept the freely offered forgiveness of God.
A fourth option might assist the church in responding to a current issue. While it may not address the entire lection, it does stimulate a new perception. The question of Jesus: "Simon, Do you see this woman?" could be asked of us. While society has often failed "to see" women, the church is worse. We have looked at the exterior of gender or role and missed seeing God's call, God's gifts in women. This lection could become the opportunity to "see women." [In 1984, a guest Chaplain for the Minnesota House of Representatives learned about women in politics. In his prayer to open the House session, the minister asked the Lord "to bless the men" in the chamber" and to help "the men make wise decisions." He made other references to male legislators, none to women. When he said, "Amen," and returned to the House retiring room, he was followed by the 19 women House members. They let him know they did not appreciate being left out of his prayer. He apologized and told them: "I am sure God gave his blessing to you, too."]
4. Hymn Suggestions: Luke 7:36–8:3
Gathering: Healer of Our Every Ill (ELW 612; HB )
Day: MY FAITH LOOKS UP TO THEE (ELW 759)
Meal: O Jesus, Joy of Loving Hearts (ELW 658)
Sending: Great is thy Faithfulness (ELW 733)
Exegete: Brian A. Nelson, D. Min. (Disciples of Christ, W. Lafayette, IN)
LEXEGETE™ © 2010