“36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined 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 amongh themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””
The religious leaders of the day did not show much honor to Jesus, even the honor that was custom in the culture at that time when you had a guest in your home! In contrast, this woman, a person from the street corner, recognized the greatness of Jesus and the darkness of her son. She as truly grieved for her sin, begged for His forgiveness through her humility, had faith that Jesus could forgive even the most vile sins, and honored Him as King with anointing.
Jesus tells us that she was forgiven of her sons because of her faith, but that the Pharisees who didn’t even honor Him with the most basic practices of respect, lacked the humility and faith needed in order to be forgiven of their sins.
Let us be more like the woman – recognizing God’s greatness and the magnitude of our sin, rather than only trying to appear religious to others. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)