February 29, 2016: Someone Despised
A woman…who was a sinner (v. 37).
Here’s another lesson about the universal reach of the good news, featuring another Simon (Luke mentions at least seven different Simons or Simeons!). This one is another Pharisee with whom Jesus crosses swords.
In this case, strangely, you might almost say the Pharisee and the Savior are in agreement. The woman “who was a sinner” was probably a prostitute, and was certainly notorious in the area. But what mattered was simply “her sins, which were many,” rather than what kind of sins they were. You may be a gentile, a leper, a tax collector; none of those facts will exclude you from the company of God’s people. But sin will. On that, Jesus and Simon were agreed.
How wrong Simon was, though, to assume that Jesus didn’t know about the woman’s sins! He did know, and also knew her desire to be rid of them, her awareness that Jesus could forgive them, and the gratitude she expressed in bathing and anointing his feet.
“Follow the logic, Simon,” Jesus seems to say. “What keeps people outside is sin—your kind of sin as much as hers. I am the only person who can deal with it. She knows that, and loves me for it. How about you?”
Prayer: Remind us, Lord, of how much you have forgiven us, and how much we should love you.
Today’s devotional was written by Michael Wilcock, a retired pastor in the Church of England. This Lenten series comes from Words of Hope, whose mission is to build the church in the hard places through media. To learn more about the organization or subscribe to Words of Hope’s daily devotions, visit www.woh.org.