36. One day something totally unprecedented happened...one of the Pharisees actually invited Jesus to his home to dine with him. And Jesus, in spite of His strained and often volatile relationship with the religious leaders, graciously accepted the man's invitation and went to his house for dinner. The meal went smoothly...nothing controversial was brought up at the table...the atmosphere during the entire dinner party was harmonious and conciliatory...and afterward Jesus reclined at the table with his host and the others who were there, simply enjoying the evening, and relishing its promise of the possibility of a new relationship between them all.
37. But then something happened that interrupted the flow of the night's events, and completely changed the dynamics of everything that was happening in the Pharisee's house. Somehow, a woman, who was generally known as the town's leading and most infamous prostitute, had heard that Jesus was in the house, and had found her way into the dining area where He was. Suddenly she was standing right in front of Him, holding an alabaster flask of perfumed ointment.
38. None of the surprised people at the table said anything as she moved around behind Him, and suddenly burst into a flood of tears. Then, moving back to where she was, she collapsed on the floor in front of Him, took His bare feet into her hands, and pressed her face onto them so that the flow of her tears could physically wet them. Then she began to wipe them with her own long hair, while she affectionately kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.
39. Now the Pharisee who had invited Him saw what was happening, but because he didn't want to embarrass his dinner guest (mainly because he knew who she was), he just let it happen. Initially, he didn't say anything, assuming that she would finish up this unusual and provocative demonstration quickly, and then just leave his house. But after a few awkward moments of watching this display (which Jesus seemed perfectly fine with), he began to feel uncomfortable, and then offended. He said to himself, "If this man were really a prophet, He would surely know who and what sort of woman this seductress is who is touching Him in this way. If He had any sense of propriety or discernment at all, He would put a stop to it...not only is she doing this in my home without my consent...she is a woman who pleasures men for money...she shouldn't even be here, and she certainly shouldn't be touching a holy man!"
40. And Jesus, knowing what the man was thinking, said to him, "Simon, I want to say something to you." And he answered, "All right, Teacher...say it."
41. "A certain man who lent money at interest had two debtors...one owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42. When it became clear that neither of them had any means of paying him back, he freely forgave them both. Now which of them do you think will love him more?
43. Simon answered, "I suppose the one for whom he forgave and cancelled more. And Jesus said to him, "You're exactly right."
44. Then, turning back toward the woman who was still caressing His feet in her hands, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? When I entered your house this evening, you didn't even offer Me any water for My feet...but she has wet My feet with her own tears, and has wiped them with her own hair.
45. You didn't greet me with a kiss, but she, from the moment she came in, has not ceased to tenderly kiss My feet.
46. You didn't anoint My head with oil...not even with cheap, ordinary oil...but she has anointed My feet with costly and rare perfume.
47. So this is my conclusion...I know who she is, and I know what she does for a living...but her sins, many as they obviously are, are forgiven her, simply because she loves so much, and has proved it here. But he who is forgiven little loves little.
48. Then He said to her, "Sweetheart, your sins are all forgiven!"
49. And this statement undid any and all relationship building that may have occurred that night between Him and the Pharisees. Those who were at the table were scandalized by the whole scenario...for them, it was wrong on so many levels...and they began to say among themselves, "Who does this man think that He is that He can even forgive sins?"
50. But Jesus, undeterred as usual by the religious leaders and their lack of understanding, ignored them and said to the woman, "You washed my feet with your own tears and dried them with your own hair, so I say to you that your own faith has saved you! Go from here and enter into peace in your life!"