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Mary Elizabeth Baxter :: The Woman which was a Sinner—Luke 7:30-50

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"The Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves," because they were not baptised of John; and Jesus, knowing their heart, said, "Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting in the market‐place, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you and ye have not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of Man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold, a gluttonous man, and a wine‐bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!"

They were unwelcome words to those who sought to establish their own righteousness; but there were ears which heard them and conveyed them to a very different heart, a very dissimilar spirit; they reached a woman of the city who was a sinner! Something in the words of Jesus, something in His presence, inspired hope in the heart of the hopeless; and this woman, who perhaps had long looked on herself as utterly, irremediably condemned, found a ray of light shining into her dark despair. This is the Man who can bring help to me.

Jesus had accepted the invitation of one of the Pharisees "that He would eat with him," and this poor woman, attracted as she never had been by anyone before, crept quietly in after Him. She brought with her an alabaster box of ointment, purchased, perhaps, by the proceeds of sin. There was but


in the Pharisee's house which belonged to her; there is but one place in the wide world which belongs to sinners-it is at the feet of Jesus. And there she stood behind Him, out of sight, weeping. He had spoken no word to her, but His presence said very much; and as the hot tears fell in a stream upon His feet, she began to wash the dust of the journey away with them, and she wiped them with the hair of her head. Then she also "kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment."

It was the same Jesus who, later on, after His resurrection, said to Mary Magdalene: "Touch Me not;" but Mary's was an educated soul which had learnt to understand the heart of Jesus, and she did not need a touch, or anything which would be patent to her senses, in order to believe in the love of her Lord. Devils such as had been cast out of Mary Magdalene, still possessed this poor woman of the city, as her broken heart expressed itself in what she was doing.

The Pharisee who had bidden Jesus saw what was going on, and made his own comment-not openly, it was simply the thought of his heart:

"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."

How often in the day such an uncalled‐for judgment arises in the hearts of those who think that they are righteous and despise others! O how humbling it is, that one who needs the blood of Christ as much as the guiltiest sinner, can yet be so under the power of the enemy as to judge that sinner in his or her heart! Simon has many disciples; who is there amongst us that has not had to be cleansed from the sin of judging others in our hearts?

If the Pharisee's jealous eyes had watched what was going on externally, the eyes of Jesus, which are as a flame of fire, had marked all that was going on internally in the Pharisee's heart. Jesus was in the habit of answering thoughts; He does so still.

"Simon," He said, "I have somewhat to say unto thee."

"Master, say on."

"There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him most?"

"I suppose that he to whom he forgave most," was the Pharisee's answer.

It was only "I suppose;" he did not put his heart into the answer, and yet he "rightly judged."

Then Jesus, who had not so much as looked upon the poor sinner, by turning to her, showed her that, all the while, He had been conscious of her broken heart and of her burning tears, and "He said unto Simon:


"O Pharisee, seest thou one who hates sin and is ready to flee from it? O thou who settest thyself up to judge, seest thou this woman, nearer God, nearer heaven, than thou art, with all thy fancied righteousness?"

"I entered into thine house, thou gavest Me no water for My feet." Thou hast not treated Me even as an ordinary guest, thou hast markedly neglected Me, "but she has washed My feet with tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest Me no kiss; but this woman, since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss My feet. My head with oil Thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed My feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee"-by thine own judgment which is spoken, by the value which she sets upon Me-there is proof to thee that "her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." "By that little love, Simon, it is clear thou hast been little forgiven. Has there been nothing to forgive; or has there been much to forgive and it is not yet forgiven? Judge thou, Simon, which it is."

And He said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven."

The wicked imputations of Simon's thoughts were rebuked by the position which Jesus took to the poor woman; on His side nothing passed, but words of pardon. What a rebuke to Simon!

There were many who sat at meat (no doubt it was an arranged thing), to criticise Jesus, and they began to say among themselves:

"Who is this that forgiveth sins also?"

But the woman did not stay to see the argument out; she had got what she came for, and Jesus dismissed her with the words:

"Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."

And thus when a sinner comes to Jesus with a broken heart, recognising His presence, and hating the darkness of his sin as he sees it in the light, there is power and there is justice in Jesus to forgive sins, and to say with all the power of His limitless authority: "Go in peace."

Widow of Nain—Luke 7:11-25 ← Prior Section
Ministering Women—Luke 8:2-3 Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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