Jesus is anointed by the last person on earth thought to be a member of the Kingdom of the Messiah.
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman- Luke 7:37-50
Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” Tell me, teacher,” he said. Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Big Idea: Jesus offers a forgiveness that brings those whose sin has kept them out of the community into the community of the Kingdom.
Notes: Jesus has said that his followers should love your enemies and not judge others; now, he shows through action what this looks like. He has associated with a racially marginalized Roman centurion and raised an economically marginalized poor widow’s son from the dead but now he allows a religiously and morally marginalized woman to touch him in unimaginable ways. Her actions are unconscionable in Jewish society generally, but Jesus allowing her to act this way toward him in such a public and important circumstance is beyond the pale. The responses of those at the banquet are predictable. What isn’t predictable is Jesus’ response; it is all about forgiveness and in particular, his authoritative place in giving people forgiveness.
This sermon will focus on 1) the impossibility of being too far gone in one’s sin to be forgiven and 2) the community of Christ-followers obligation to draw all people, regardless of the nature of their sin, into the Kingdom.
The practical ‘so what’ of this sermon will concentrate on identifying today’s ‘sinful women,’ overcoming anyone’s sense of having fallen too far to be worthy of forgiveness and challenging the church to reach out to the most unlovely of those around us.