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A Roman officer there had a servant. For notes on the healing of this servant, see Matthew 8:5 to Matthew 13:11. Soon afterward Jesus went to a town named Nain. Only Luke tells of this “raising from death.” Nain was a town on the northwest slope of “Little Hermon,” about twenty-five miles south of Capernaum.
Just as he arrived at the gate of the town. Most towns in the Middle East had walls and a gate. He met the funeral procession coming out. The dead were always carried out of a Jewish town to be buried outside. The dead man. He was being carried in an open coffin, covered with a cloth. [SOROS = coffin; bier; urn; a stand on which a corpse is carried.] The only son. A bitter loss. Compare Jeremiah 6:26; Amos 8:10.
His heart was filled with pity. Jesus really loved people. He had pity toward those who were sad and in need. Compare Matthew 14:14.
And touched the coffin. This signaled them to stop. Get up! This is the first time he commanded the dead to “get up!” Compare the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Matthew 9:18-26); and the raising of Lazarus (John 11:0). Imagine the amazement of the crowd, also of the disciples!
The dead man sat up. Jesus speaks and the miracle is done! Language cannot express the feelings of this moment.
Everyone was filled with fear. They are shocked and astonished to see the dead man get up. A great prophet has appeared among us! Even the Twelve had not yet declared his Messiahship. Through all the country. All Palestine. Even John the Baptist, in prison east of the Dead Sea, seems to have heard about this.
And sent them to the Lord to ask him. John the Baptist had already identified Jesus as the Messiah (John 1:31-34). But the Jews expected a political Messiah, and John wonders why Jesus does not overthrow Herod and the Romans, declare himself king, and release him from prison. See notes on Matthew 11:2-19.
A Pharisee invited Jesus. Only Luke gives this anointing, and it is not the same as the one in Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8, in which Mary was the woman. This event is early in the ministry of Jesus, before the gap between himself and the Pharisees became so severe they could not be friendly with each other. Jesus would eat with Pharisees and tax collectors alike. Pharisees are described in Luke 18:9-14. Johnson says: “We must imagine the guests arriving, Simon greeting each one with a hug and kiss [this was the custom], having slaves to wash their feet [it was dusty and they wore sandals], pouring olive oil over their heads to moisten the parched skin [which also was the custom ‘]. But one guest is ignored, he is a poor man, not a Pharisee, invited as an act of snobbish pride. He gets no kiss of greeting, no hug; no slave washes his feet, but of course a poor man would not expect such things.”
A woman . . . sinful life. The language implies she was a prostitute in Capernaum. She heard that Jesus. The fame of Jesus was the talk of the town. She believed there was mercy, even for her. So she brought. The room where they were eating had no door, but the whole front of it was open, making it easy to slip in.
And stood behind Jesus. Rather than sitting up, these people lay on their side on a couch when they ate a feast. She stands behind him, at his feet [which stick out behind the couch]. Crying and wetting his feet. These are tears of repentance, with a deep sense of sin, and a strong hope of mercy and forgiveness. She dried his feet with her long hair, and poured the perfume on them.
When the Pharisee. He was surprised that Jesus would not drive her away. He said to himself. Simon decides in his own mind that Jesus: (1) either does not know what this woman is – which no true prophet could fail to know; (2) or he knows it and still lets her touch him – which defiles him, and no true prophet would allow this. Therefore, Simon decides Jesus is not a prophet at all.
Jesus spoke up. He answers the unspoken question of Simon. Two men who owed money. This is a parable – using common things to teach spiritual truth. Neither could pay him back. Both were helpless, as we all are before God. So he canceled the debts. This is GRACE: an undeserved favor. Which one, then? Grace brings love. Will one love him more than the other? The one who was forgiven more. This is Simon’s evaluation. By it he judges himself.
I came into your home. Jesus shows the sharp contrast between Simon and the woman. Simon refused him water; she gave him her tears [which Augustine calls the blood of her heart. ]. Simon would not greet him with a kiss; she kissed his feet. Simon refused to provide oil for his head; she covered his feet with expensive perfume. Simon treated Jesus as a servant; she treated him as a king. [The water for the feet, the kiss, and the oil for the head were normal etiquette in that part of the world.]
I tell you, then. “Simon, if the one who was forgiven more will love more, this woman’s great love proves she has been forgiven, because she had a lot to be forgiven for.” [Simon thinks of the woman as very sinful and doubts her repentance; and thinks of himself as not a sinner at all.] Your sins are forgiven. Jesus rewards her faith and love by pronouncing her forgiven. Who is this? That is, what right does this man have to forgive sins? But Jesus said to the woman. Jesus ignores their questions. He tells her to go in peace. He has given her back her dignity. LESSON FOR US: (1) Some may feel more guilt, but all are equally unable to cancel the guilt of sin. (2) Christ can forgive. (3) “Decent” people may not recognize their deep need. (4). Not sin itself, but awareness of sin forgiven produces love. Gratitude is based on appreciation; and appreciation is based on a sense of need. Simon had no sense of need, did not ask to be forgiven, and received no forgiveness. The woman knew her need, came to Jesus, and was put right with God.
These files are public domain.
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 7". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13