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D. Jesus’ compassion for people ch. 7
This section of Luke’s Gospel records Jesus revealing Himself further to the people. Luke presented Him as the fulfillment of prophecies about God’s gracious intervention into life (e.g., Isaiah 61:1-2 a; cf. Luke 4:18). Jesus met many needs of people, both physical and spiritual. Luke pictured Jesus showing compassion on a Gentile, a widow, and a sinful woman. The multitudes generally regarded these gracious acts as evidences of a divine visitation. However the Pharisees viewed them with suspicion.
"In his ministry Jesus intervenes on the side of the oppressed and excluded, assuring them that they share in God’s salvation and defending them against others who want to maintain their own superiority at the expense of such people. The groups for whom Jesus intervenes are not sharply defined and delimited. They include a number of partly overlapping groups. In his ministry Jesus helps the poor, sinners, tax collectors, women, Samaritans, and Gentiles. Each of these groups was excluded or subordinated in the society to which Jesus spoke, and the Lukan narrator seems to be especially interested in Jesus’ ministry to these people." [Note: Tannehill, 1:103.]
This verse is transitional. It helps us appreciate the fact that people generally (Gr. laos), not just disciples, were listening to the Sermon on the Mount, at least the last part of it (cf. Matthew 7:28). The Greek word that Luke used to describe the completion of Jesus’ teaching on that occasion is eplerosen, which means "fulfilled." He thus implied that this teaching was a fulfillment of prophecy about the Messiah, perhaps that He would preach good news to the poor (Luke 4:18; Luke 6:20; Isaiah 61:1).
1. The healing of a centurion’s servant 7:1-10 (cf. Matthew 8:5-13)
This incident shows Jesus extending grace to a Gentile through Jewish intermediaries. It would have helped Luke’s original Gentile readers appreciate that Jesus’ mission included them as well as the Jews. It is another case in which Jesus commended the faith of someone (cf. Luke 1:45; Luke 5:20). Luke continued to stress Jesus’ authority and the power of His word (cf. Luke 4:32; Luke 4:36). The similarities between this incident and the conversion of Cornelius are striking (cf. Acts 10).
"His story is thus an example of the fact that God is willing to accept all men alike and that everyone who fears him and performs righteousness is acceptable to Him (Acts 10:34 f.)." [Note: Marshall, The Gospel . . ., p. 277.]
The good relations between the Jews and this Gentile also show their compatibility, an important lesson for early Christians since there were Jewish Gentile tensions within the early church. Jesus also noted the unbelief that characterized the Jews generally, another important factor that the early church had to deal with. In his account of this healing, Matthew, writing to Jews, stressed the inclusion of Gentiles in God’s plan, but Luke, writing to Gentiles, emphasized the importance of Gentiles loving Jews. [Note: Edersheim, 1:544.]
These verses are unique to Luke’s account. They give detail about the character of the centurion. He had a personal concern for his slave whom he honored and respected (Gr. entimos), which was unusual and commendable. This affectionate regard is also clear in his use of the Greek word pais to describe the servant (Luke 7:7). This word elsewhere sometimes describes a son (John 4:51). The centurion also enjoyed the respect of the Jews in Capernaum so much that he felt free to ask some of the local Jewish leaders to approach Jesus for him (cf. 1 Timothy 3:7). Normally the Jews did not like the Roman soldiers who occupied their towns. The slave was evidently too sick to bring to Jesus. Luke described him as about to die. Matthew described him as paralyzed and in great pain (Matthew 8:6).
The village leaders explained to Jesus why they were interceding for the centurion. Their affection for him is obvious and quite untypical, as was a Roman soldier’s affection for the Jews. Any person in this centurion’s position could have enriched himself honestly. [Note: B. S. Easton, The Gospel according to St. Luke, p. 95.] Consequently the fact that he was so generous with the Jewish residents of Capernaum shows his selfless concern for their welfare. Early Jewish Christian readers should have concluded that since Jews thought this Gentile worthy of Jesus’ help they should see no problem with accepting similar people into the church.
It seems unusual that the centurion would send for Jesus and then tell Him not to come. Apparently his humility moved him to do so (cf. Luke 3:16). He felt unworthy that Jesus should enter his house. He understood that Jews customarily avoided entering the homes of Gentiles because they considered them ritually unclean. He may also have wished to spare Jesus the embarrassment of entering a Gentile’s house since many Jews would have criticized Jesus for doing so. He even felt unfit (spiritually, morally, religiously) to meet Jesus outside his house.
However the main point of the centurion’s words was his recognition of Jesus’ authority. He viewed Jesus’ relationship to sickness as similar to his own relationship to his subordinates. He saw both men as operating in a chain of command under the authority of others but also in authority over others. Jesus could bid sickness to come, to go, and to behave, as this soldier ordered his slaves. Jesus only needed to issue an authoritative command, as the centurion gave orders, and the sickness would depart. All they had to do was say the word and things happened. This man not only viewed Jesus as having authority over sickness, but he even believed that Jesus’ spoken word would be sufficient to heal.
Jesus’ comment did not slander the faith of the Jews. One would expect them to have faith since they had the prophecies about Messiah in Scripture, but the Gentiles did not have that light. The centurion believed that Jesus could heal His servant, not that He would heal him. The only two instances of Jesus "marveling" at people are here, on account of faith, and at Nazareth, because of unbelief (Mark 6:6). The centurion’s belief in Jesus’ authority was unusual, apparently because it rested on reports, and perhaps personal observation, of Jesus’ previous ministry. Jesus rewarded his faith by healing his servant.
"Here was one, who was in the state described in the first clauses of the ’Beatitudes,’ and to whom came the promise of the second clauses; because Christ is the connecting link between the two, and because He consciously was such to the Centurion, and, indeed, the only possible connecting link between them." [Note: Edersheim, 1:549.]
Jesus did not limit His healing ministry to people who believed that He was the divine Son of God. He evidently healed some people who expressed no understanding of His true identity simply because He felt compassion for them and chose to bless them (cf. John 9:11; Acts 10:38). Even the Twelve did not understand that Jesus was both God and man until God revealed that to Peter at Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:16). It may therefore be incorrect to conclude that this centurion became a believer in Jesus’ deity here, though He may have. He did believe that Jesus was at least a prophet of God, and probably he believed that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. Jesus rewarded his faith because he responded as he should have to the information about Jesus that he had. That is essentially what Jesus had been teaching his disciples to do in the Sermon on the Mount. That is what Luke wanted his readers to do too. [Note: See Zane C. Hodges, "The Centurion’s Faith in Matthew and Luke," Bibliotheca Sacra 121:484 (October-December 1964):321-32.]
Jesus may have gone directly from Capernaum (Luke 7:1-11) to Nain ("the pleasant"). Nain was only about 20 miles southwest of that town. It lay on the northern slope of the Hill of Moreh that stood at the eastern end of the Jezreel Valley. It was 6 miles south and a little east of Nazareth and is easily visible across the valley from Nazareth. The Hill of Moreh is a significant site because on its south side stood Shunem where Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:18-37). Luke distinguished two groups of people who accompanied Jesus, namely, His disciples and a large multitude of presumably non-disciples.
2. The raising of a widow’s Song of Solomon 7:11-17
This miracle lifted the popular appreciation of Jesus’ authority to new heights. Luke also continued to stress Jesus’ compassion for people, in this case a widow whose son had died, by including this incident in his Gospel. The importance of faith in Jesus is not strong in this pericope. However the motif of the joy that Jesus brings recurs. The incident also sets the stage for Jesus’ interview by John the Baptist’s disciples that follows (Luke 7:18-23).
Friends were carrying the corpse out of the city gate to bury it outside the town, as was customary. The fact that the widow now had no surviving husband or son meant that she was in desperate circumstances economically as well as emotionally (cf. 1 Kings 17:10). She would probably become destitute without someone to provide for her needs. The large retinue of mourners was common though it suggests that she had friends.
This is Luke’s first narrative use of the term "the Lord" for Jesus (cf. Luke 7:19; Luke 10:1; Luke 10:39; Luke 10:41; Luke 11:39; Luke 12:42; Luke 13:15; Luke 17:5-6; Luke 18:6; Luke 19:8; Luke 22:61; Luke 24:3; Luke 24:34). It anticipates the title the early Christians gave Him (e.g., Acts 2:36), and in this story it anticipates the remarkable demonstration of His sovereignty that followed.
Luke noted Jesus’ compassion for the woman, one of his characteristic emphases. The Lord’s words expressed His compassion, but they proved to be far from merely hollow words of encouragement. He would shortly give her reason not to weep but to rejoice.
The "coffin" (Gr. sorou) was a litter that carried the shrouded corpse. By touching it Jesus expressed His compassion, but His act also rendered Him ritually unclean (Numbers 19:11; Numbers 19:16). Probably His action told the bearers that He wanted to do something. So they stopped. Undoubtedly the residents of Nain knew Jesus, and His reputation was probably another reason they stopped. This was the first time Jesus restored to life someone who had died, according to the Gospel records. Again the simple but powerful word of "the Lord" proved sufficient to effect the miracle.
Luke probably wrote that the young man sat up and spoke to authenticate the resuscitation. Luke drew additional attention to the parallel incident when Elijah raised a widow’s son by noting that Jesus gave the young man back to his mother (cf. 1 Kings 17:23). He had given him to her once at birth indirectly, but now he gave him to her again. This act further illustrates Jesus’ compassion for the widow and His grace.
Again Luke noted that the result of Jesus’ ministry was that fear (Gr. phobos) gripped the people (cf. Luke 1:12; Luke 5:26). This is a natural human reaction to a demonstration of supernatural power. They also praised God that this act of power had such a beneficial effect (cf. Luke 2:20; Luke 5:25-26; Luke 18:43; Luke 23:47).
The people remembered the life-restoring miracles of Elijah and Elisha in that very neighborhood centuries earlier. They quickly concluded that God had sent them another prophet similar to them (cf. 1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:18-37). However calling Jesus a prophet was not the same as acknowledging Him as Messiah much less God. Their second exclamation did not necessarily mean that they acknowledged Jesus as God. It is an Old Testament expression meaning that God had sent help to His people (Ruth 1:6; cf. Luke 1:68). Some of the people may have concluded that Jesus was Immanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:14), but their words allow a broader meaning.
Luke concluded this pericope with a notation that the news (Gr. logos, word) about this incident radiated over that entire region (cf. Luke 4:14; Luke 4:37). The surrounding district probably refers to the area beyond Judea that included Perea where John heard of Jesus’ mighty works (Luke 7:18).
"Jesus’ amazing healings and exorcisms contribute to the very rapid spread of his fame. Comparison of the following statements shows how the narrator conveys an impression of rapidly growing fame: After the exorcism in the synagogue of Capernaum, ’a report about him was going out to every place of the neighboring area’ (Luke 4:37). After the healing of the leper, ’the word about him was spreading more’ (Luke 5:15). In the next scene Pharisees and teachers of the law are present ’from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem’ (Luke 5:17). This is surpassed in Luke 6:17-18, where we hear of ’a great multitude of the people from all the Jewish land and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and be healed.’ We reach the climax of this development in Luke 7:17: ’And this statement about him went out in the whole Jewish country and all the neighboring region.’" [Note: Tannehill, 1:85-86.]
In Acts the spread of the news about Jesus would go from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
This incident doubtless became the basis for many people concluding that Jesus was either the fulfillment of the prophecy about Elijah’s return (Malachi 4:5-6) or Elijah himself (Luke 9:8). Hopefully it brought others into saving faith in Him.
"These things" probably means the activities of Jesus that Luke had recorded including the healing of the centurion’s servant and the raising of the widow’s son. John evidently had second thoughts about Jesus because Messiah was to release prisoners (Isaiah 61:1) and Jesus claimed to fulfill that prophecy. However, He had not released John who was in prison (Matthew 11:2; cf. Luke 3:20). Moreover the fact that Jesus was apparently fulfilling the prophecies about Elijah’s coming may have made John wonder if Jesus was the Messiah or Elijah. Luke apparently reported John’s question twice in these verses to stress that this was the issue at stake.
"Disappointment often calls us to a deeper, less self-focused walk with God." [Note: Bock, Luke, p. 215. See also Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God.]
Jesus’ response to John the Baptist’s inquiry 7:18-23 (cf. Matthew 11:2-6)
3. The confusion about Jesus’ identity 7:18-35
It was only natural that these people had questions about who Jesus really was. Was He a prophet? Was He Elijah? Was He another former prophet? Was He "the Prophet" that Moses had predicted (Deuteronomy 18:18)? Was He the Messiah? Was He Immanuel, "God with us" (Isaiah 7:14)? Even John the Baptist began to have questions. On the one hand Jesus was fulfilling prophecy that indicated He was the Messiah. He was preaching righteousness, healing the sick, casting out demons, even raising the dead. However, He was not fulfilling other Messianic prophecies such as freeing the captives (John was one), judging Israel’s enemies, and restoring the Davidic dynasty to power.
Luke included much about the controversy over Jesus’ identity because it authenticates Jesus’ identity and strengthens the confidence of disciples in their Savior. As witnesses of Jesus Christ, Luke’s readers faced many hostile challengers of Jesus’ identity. This section enables disciples to counter these challenges more effectively.
Luke recorded and Jesus listed several messianic works that He had done (cf. Isaiah 29:18-19; Isaiah 35:5-6; Isaiah 42:7; Isaiah 61:1). Isaiah did not predict that Messiah would cleanse lepers. Perhaps Jesus mentioned that because His ministry fulfilled Elisha’s ministry, and he cleansed a leper (cf. 2 Kings 5).
Acts of judgment are conspicuously absent from this list since that was not the time for judgment. Apparently in Jesus’ day the Jews believed that Messiah would not claim to be the Messiah before He performed many messianic works. [Note: R. Longenecker, The Christology of Early Jewish Christianity, pp. 71-74.] Jesus pronounced "blessed" those who accepted the evidence that He presented and concluded that He was the Messiah rather than stumbling over it. John was in danger of stumbling, namely, drawing the wrong conclusion and thereby falling into a trap (Gr. skandalisthe, cf. Isaiah 8:13-14). Stumbling is the opposite of believing here.
"There is a difference between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is a matter of the mind: we cannot understand what God is doing or why He is doing it. Unbelief is a matter of the will: we refuse to believe God’s Word and obey what He tells us to do." [Note: Wiersbe, 1:196-97.]
John was not reed-like nor was he soft or effeminate. John did not serve an earthly king but the heavenly King, and his clothing identified him as a prophet of God. Jesus said that John was a prophet but more than a prophet.
Jesus’ testimony to John’s identity 7:24-28 (cf. Matthew 11:7-11)
Evidently Jesus spoke these words praising John because John’s question about Jesus’ identity made John look like a vacillator, a reed blowing in the wind. Jesus assured his hearers that that was not what John was. John’s testimony to Jesus’ messiahship was reliable.
These verses are almost identical to Matthew 11:10-11. Jesus identified John as the forerunner of Messiah predicted in Malachi 3:1. As Messiah’s forerunner, John enjoyed a role greater than any other prophet, even those who gave messianic prophecies. However even the most insignificant participant in the messianic kingdom is superior to John because John only anticipated it.
"Being least in the kingdom is better than being the best anywhere else." [Note: Bailey, p. 117.]
Luke 7:29-30 do not appear in the Matthew parallel. They reveal a deep division among the people, and they set the scene for Jesus’ comments that follow (Luke 7:31-35).
Many of the "common people," even tax collectors, had responded to John’s message and had undergone his baptism (Luke 3:12; Luke 3:21). When they heard Jesus’ preaching, these people responded positively. They acknowledged God’s justice (justified God) when they heard Jesus speaking highly of John. That is, they accepted God’s ways as they were and did not try to force Him to behave as they might have preferred. Jesus’ words about John vindicated their earlier decision to submit to John’s baptism.
Jesus’ condemnation of His unbelieving generation 7:29-35 (cf. Matthew 11:16-19)
John had questioned Jesus’ identity, and Jesus had defended John’s identity. Jesus now warned his hearers who rejected John’s identity and Jesus’ identity.
However, the Pharisees and lawyers (scribes) did not submit to John’s baptism showing that they had rejected God’s purpose, namely, His plan of salvation for them.
This second group, the present generation of unbelievers, was similar to faithless Israel in the past (cf. Deuteronomy 32:5; Deuteronomy 32:20; Judges 2:10; Psalms 78:8; Psalms 95:10; Jeremiah 7:29). They, too, were subject to God’s wrath. They were behaving no better than fickle children who become upset when their peers refuse to cooperate with them. Jesus pictured the religious leaders as children sitting down and calling out to others to march to their tune. However, their peers would not cooperate, so the religious leaders criticized them.
These unbelieving religious leaders did not like John because he was too much of an ascetic. He would not "dance" for them. However they did not like Jesus either. They believed He was too much of a libertine as they defined that term, too joyful. Jesus would not "weep" for them. Because John ate locusts and wild honey instead of bread and wine, the unbelieving Pharisees and lawyers accused him of having a demon. His fanatical behavior also suggested this to them. Jesus, on the other hand, took part in feasts eating and drinking freely. They accused Him of gluttony and drunkenness. The Old Testament described an Israelite who was a glutton and a drunkard as worthy of stoning (cf. Deuteronomy 21:20). Furthermore Jesus associated with people whom the Jewish leaders regarded as apostates.
"People who want to avoid the truth about themselves can always find something in the preacher to criticize." [Note: Wiersbe, 1:197.]
John and Jesus were both living parables. John taught the importance of repentance, and Jesus offered joy and blessing. However the Jewish religious leaders missed the points of both their messages because John and Jesus did not "dance to their tunes." Jesus probably referred to Himself as the Son of Man here because this title always stresses His deity (Daniel 7:13-14). This would heighten the seriousness of the religious leaders’ rejection.
Despite the rejection of the Jewish leaders, those who accept God’s plan (Luke 7:30) as John and Jesus announced it demonstrated its rightness. Their lives were testimonies to the truthfulness of what they had believed, which John and Jesus had proclaimed. Jesus stated this truth as a principle. The behavior of good children (i.e., disciples) normally points to their having wise parents (i.e., John and Jesus). John and Jesus had also behaved as good children of God and had vindicated His wisdom by their behavior.
Luke’s account of these condemnatory words is fuller than Matthew’s. Luke focused on the religious leaders’ rejection whereas Matthew applied Jesus’ words to all the unbelieving Israelites that He faced more generally.
We should not overlook the fact that Jesus accepted an invitation to dinner from a Pharisee. He did not cut all the religious leaders off simply because most of them rejected Him. He dealt with people as individuals. Simon appears to have been a critic rather than a disciple of His. Nevertheless Jesus accepted his invitation.
4. The anointing by a sinful woman 7:36-50
This incident, appearing only in Luke’s Gospel, illustrates the truth just expressed in Luke 7:35. Here is a case in point of what Jesus had just described happening (Luke 7:34). Jesus reached out to a sinner only to receive criticism from a fastidious Pharisee. The love that the woman lavished on Jesus contrasts with Simon the Pharisee’s lack of love for Him. The motif of Jesus’ identity is also significant in this story since Jesus had forgiven the woman’s sins, and this raised a question about His authority. Again Luke featured a woman in his narrative showing Jesus’ concern for women. There are some similarities between this story and the one about Mary anointing Jesus’ feet in Simon the leper’s house, but that was a different incident (cf. Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8).
". . . the story of the sinful woman in the Pharisee’s house reminds us of the previous conflict over Jesus’ authority to release sins, suggesting that this is a continuing conflict. This reminder may also help readers to recall Jesus’ basic claim of authority to release sins in Luke 5:24." [Note: Tannehill, 1:106.]
Social custom allowed needy people to visit such meals and to partake of some of the leftovers. [Note: Liefeld, p. 903.] Moreover it was not unusual for people to drop in when a rabbi was visiting. [Note: Martin, p. 224.] Luke gallantly omitted describing why the woman was a sinner, though the commentators love to guess. Some have assumed that the woman was Mary Magdalene, but this is pure speculation. The point was that she was a member of the social class called sinners that the Pharisees regarded as treating the law loosely. The liquid perfume was in an expensive alabaster vial. Jewish women frequently wore such vials suspended from a cord around their necks. [Note: Morris, pp. 146-47.]
Jesus was probably reclining on a divan to eat with His head and arms close to the table and His feet stretched out away from it, as was customary at important meals. The woman’s sacrificial gift and her tears raise questions the text does not answer. Was she grateful to Jesus for some act of kindness that He had showed her, or was she seeking His help? By constantly kissing (Gr. katephilei, the imperfect tense) Jesus’ feet the woman was expressing her affection, respect, and submission (cf. 1 Samuel 10:1). Normally people anointed the heads of others, not their feet.
Simon deduced that Jesus could not be a prophet since if He were He would not permit a sinful woman to do what this woman was doing. The touch of a "sinner" brought ceremonial defilement.
Simon had no reason to expect Jesus’ words to him to have anything to do with what Simon had been thinking. Simon had concluded that Jesus could not tell sinners from non-sinners. He would now learn that Jesus knew what was in his heart (cf. Luke 5:22). Simon politely addressed Jesus as "teacher" (Gr. didaskale, Luke’s equivalent of "rabbi," cf. Luke 9:38; Luke 20:21; Luke 20:38; Luke 21:7; Luke 22:11), less than a prophet.
Jesus proceeded to tell His host a parable about two debtors. A denarius was worth one day’s wage for an agricultural laborer. Regardless of the buying power of the money in view obviously both men owed considerable debts, but one was 10 times greater than the other. Jesus regarded love as the expression of gratitude.
The answer to Jesus’ question may have been obvious to Simon, though he seems to have known very little about forgiveness and love. However, he apparently knew that Jesus sometimes used questions to lure His critics into a trap. So he replied with uneasy reluctance allowing the possibility that the answer might not be as obvious as it appeared to be.
Jesus probably surprised Simon by making the woman the focus of his parable and by contrasting her with Simon. Moreover Jesus made her the heroine and Simon the villain, the opposite of how Simon thought. The woman was guilty of sins of commission, but Simon was guilty of sins of omission. All the things Simon had failed to do for Jesus were courtesies that hosts frequently extended their guests. However Simon had not acted discourteously. He had just not performed any special acts of hospitality on Jesus. [Note: A. E. Harvey, The New English Bible: Companion to the New Testament, p. 244.] The scented oil in view would have been olive oil that was plentiful and inexpensive. The woman, however, had gone far beyond courtesy and had made unusual sacrifices for Jesus out of love. Simon appears in the incident as the greater sinner of the two.
Jesus next drew a conclusion from what He had just said. The woman’s great love showed that she had received great forgiveness. Jesus did not mean that she had earned great forgiveness with her great love. Her love was the result of, not the reason for, her forgiveness. This is clear from the parable (Luke 7:42-43) as well as from Jesus’ later statement that it was her faith, not her love, that had saved her (Luke 7:50). As a maxim, the intensity of one’s love tends to be proportionate to his perception of the greatness of his forgiveness.
Jesus now confirmed to the woman what had already taken place. This was a word of assurance. Jesus used the perfect tense in Greek (sosoken). We could translate it, "Your sins have been forgiven and stand forgiven." She had evidently obtained God’s forgiveness sometime before she entered Simon’s house. Jesus was not now imparting forgiveness to her for the first time but was commenting on her forgiven condition. This is clear because throughout the story Jesus consistently regarded the woman as a forgiven person. Her acts of love sprang from her sense of gratitude for having received forgiveness. Jesus had earlier forgiven the sins of the paralytic man in Capernaum (Luke 5:20). Here he did not forgive the sins of the sinful woman but announced authoritatively that they stood forgiven.
Some of the people present mistakenly assumed that Jesus was forgiving the woman’s sins. This again raised the question of who He was (cf. Luke 7:39; Luke 5:21). Jesus did not answer it nor did Luke. Those present and the readers could and can draw their own conclusion, which should have been and should be obvious by now.
Jesus concluded the incident by giving the woman a further word of encouragement and clarification. It was her faith, not her love, that had resulted in her salvation, of which her forgiveness was a part. Consequently she could depart at peace about her condition even though others might continue to regard her as a "sinner" (cf. Luke 8:48; Luke 17:19; Luke 18:42). Here salvation has the larger meaning of spiritual deliverance. This is clear because of Jesus’ previous comments about forgiveness and the lack of reference to physical deliverance (i.e., healing). Likewise the common Jewish farewell, "May God’s peace be yours" (Judges 18:6; 1 Samuel 1:17; 2 Samuel 15:9; 1 Kings 22:17; Acts 16:36; James 2:16), assumes a larger meaning when connected with spiritual salvation. This woman was able to go into a lasting condition of peace because of her faith (cf. Romans 5:1).
". . . Luke 7:36-50 is the first of three reported occasions (see Luke 11:37-54; Luke 14:1-24) on which Jesus is invited to dine at a Pharisee’s house, and each of the three is a comparatively lengthy scene. This type-scene repetition suggests that this is a characteristic situation during Jesus’ ministry and one of special interest to the narrator. Each of these scenes is an occasion of conflict." [Note: Tannehill, 1:178.]
"Jesus’ parable of the two debtors and His comments to Simon and the woman teach a number of lessons: (a) Salvation is the result of God’s gracious work received by faith. (b) God graciously forgives the debt of sin that no one can repay. (c) Peace with God is possible because of the forgiveness of sins. (d) The more one understands forgiveness, the more love he will have for Christ. (e) Humble service stems from a heart of gratitude for God’s grace." [Note: Bailey, p. 117.]
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 7". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter