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The Centurion of Capernaum.
The prayer of the centurion:
v. 1. Now when He had ended all His sayings in the audience of the people, He entered into Capernaum.
v. 2. And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.
v. 3. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto Him the elders of the Jews, beseeching Him that He would come and heal his servant.
v. 4. And when they came to Jesus, they besought Him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom He should do this;
v. 5. for he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.
Jesus brought His long discourse to a close. It was addressed to the hearing of the people; they were not merely to listen inattentively and forget all the precepts within a few minutes, but their hearing, their understanding, was to take hold of the great truths, in order that they might become the property of the mind, and be received into the heart. Sometime afterward, Jesus entered into Capernaum. In this city there lived a certain centurion, officer of a Roman garrison stationed there, probably on account of the great highway that led through here from Damascus to the Mediterranean Sea. This Roman officer had become acquainted with books of the Jews and with the hopes of the Messiah, of whom they were always speaking. He had also come to the conclusion that Jesus, by whose hand such great miracles were being performed throughout Galilee, must be the promised Messiah. This centurion had a servant who, though a slave, was very dear to him, for he was a humane master. This servant had been taken ill and was at the point of death. Since the reports concerning Christ's activity, which reached the officer from time to time, had given him the conviction that here was the great promised prophet of the Jews, he sent a delegation to Jesus at this time. The men whom he sent were carrying out his embassy, speaking in his name; he spoke through them, Matthew 8:5. They were elders of the people, probably officers of the synagogue, for not all Jewish leaders joined in the campaign of hate against Jesus. These men carried out the centurion's wishes in a very able manner. They not only stated the earnest prayer that the Lord would come and restore to full health the servant, but they also added some reasons why Jesus ought to grant the request. They declared the centurion to be worthy of help, since he was not one of the proud Romans that vexed and oppressed the Jews upon every occasion, but rather loved the nation. He had lived among them for so long that he had conceived a genuine liking for their doctrine and for their religious institutions. This affection had taken the form of building a synagogue for the Jews as a token of regard. "The Deutsche Orient gesellschaft, which was carrying on excavations in Egypt, Babylonia, and Assyria, undertook the investigation of the remains of ancient synagogues in Galilee and the Jaulan. Among these they excavated the ruins of the synagogue at Tell Hum on the Sea of Galilee, the probable site of Capernaum. Here they found the remains of a once beautiful synagogue which was probably built in the fourth century A. D. Beneath this is the floor of a still older building. The last is probably the synagogue in which so many of the incidents of the ministry of Christ in Capernaum took place, the one built by a Roman centurion."
The faith of the centurion:
v. 6. Then Jesus went with them. And when He was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying unto Him, Lord, trouble not Thyself; for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof;
v. 7. wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto Thee; but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.
v. 8. For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
v. 9. When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned Him about, and said unto the people that followed Him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
v. 10. And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.
Strange disagreement! The Jewish elders declare that he is worthy, the centurion says that he is not worthy. They had intimated in their petition that it would be best for Jesus to come, and He, accordingly, went with them. The officer maintains that so much bother and inconvenience on the part of Christ was too much honor for him. When the centurion received the news that Jesus was coming in person, a possibility with which he had not reckoned, the fear of his unworthiness took hold of him. Jesus was even now quite near. Therefore the Roman quickly dispatches other friends to intercept Him, saying that Christ should not bother, should not put Himself out by coming in person. He as the host, and his house as reception-hall for the Most High: that seemed altogether too incongruous to him. For that reason also he had not come in person, but had sent a delegation to plead with the Lord. Note: The argument of the centurion is a model of humility, especially since he does not draw the conclusion, but makes his object so obvious that the effect is all the more overwhelming. He himself was a mere man; Christ was the Lord from heaven. He was a man under authority, in a constant state of subordination; Christ was the King of kings, the Lord of lords. Yet the centurion could give commands which his soldiers and his slave must carry out at once at his bidding, so great was the authority of a mere man. Surely here was a clear case: Speak only in a word, by means of a single word, and the sickness must obey Thy almighty will. He that has the true, living faith in his heart realizes his own unworthiness and weakness before the Lord, and yet he does not doubt, but firmly believes, that the Lord of heaven loves him and will gladly help him. The believer understands what mercy is, and that the mercy of God is intended for those that are without worthiness and merit.
This argument of faith conquered Jesus. He was filled with astonishment; He turned to the multitude that was following Him and said: I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. In the midst of the chosen people, to whom were entrusted the words of the revelation of God, the majority, if not all, should have felt as this Roman officer did, but they were here put to shame by an outsider. And in His joy over this rare find Jesus spoke the word for which the centurion had pleaded. When those that had been sent returned to the centurion's house, they found the sick servant restored to perfect health. Thus was the faith of this heathen rewarded. Faith at all times takes hold of Christ, the almighty, kind Helper and Savior, and thus it accepts from Christ help, comfort, grace, and every good thing. Faith depends entirely upon the Word, and therefore takes and puts into its own possession all that the Word promises.
Raising of the Widow's Son.
v. 11. And it came to pass the day after that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him and much people.
v. 12. Now, when He came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and much people of the city was with her.
v. 13. And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
v. 14. And He came and touched the bier; and they that bare him stood still. And He said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
v. 15. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And He delivered him to his mother.
Jesus did not remain in Capernaum after he had healed the centurion's servant, for the very next day we find Him approaching the little town of Nain, which was located at about an equal distance from Nazareth and Mount Tabor, to the south. Its name, Vale of Beauty, gives some idea of the surroundings, as they were also described by the early church historians. Jesus was accompanied, not only by a large number of His disciples, but also by a great multitude of people. As they came near to the gate of the city, a sad sight met their eyes, a funeral train just leaving the town for the burial-ground outside the gates. This was an exceptionally sad funeral, since the dead man was an only son, and his mother was a widow. Both husband and son taken away by death: her position merited sympathy such as was given her by her fellow-citizens, a great multitude of whom went with her to the grave. "This woman had two misfortunes on her back. First, she is a widow; that is a misfortune enough for a woman that she is desolate and alone, has no one from whom she may expect comfort. And for that reason God is often called in Scriptures a Father of the widows and orphans, as Psalms 68:6, and Psalms 146:9: The Lord preserveth the strangers; He relieveth the fatherless and widow. Secondly, she had only one single son, and he dies before her, though he might have been her comfort. Thus God acts here, takes the husband and the son away; she would much more gladly have lost house and home, yea, her own body than this son and her husband. " "But this is pictured before us that we should learn that before God nothing is impossible, whether it be called damage, adversity, wrath, as severe as it may be. and remember that God sometimes suffers the punishment to go both over the good and the evil, yea, that He even permits the evil people to sit in the garden of roses and lets them suffer no want, but toward the pious He acts as though He is angry with them and cares nothing for them. " Note: There is a great contrast between the procession which is leaving the city, with sad and mournful steps, and that which is about to enter the city, happy because of the Savior in their midst. As Luther says, the Lord here boldly steps in the way of death, as the Mighty One, who has authority and might over him. Also: In Capernaum it is the daughter of Jairus, a mere child, that has barely closed her eyes in death; at Nain it is a young man, in the strength of incipient manhood, whose body is on the way to the place of burial; at Bethany it is a man in his best years that has rested in the grave for four days; surely enough diversity in these miracles of raising the dead.
When Jesus saw the funeral procession and noticed the peculiar sadness of the burial, His heart was moved with the deepest sympathy for the bereaved mother. lie had all the feelings of a true man, and those feelings, which are brought out in our case but imperfectly and unwillingly, He showed without reserve, Hebrews 4:15. His word to the widow was: "Weep not!" With what an expression of heartfelt compassion Jesus must have spoken the word, and how fully the poor woman realized the cordiality of the greeting and its power, to which she clung! So the Lord often reminds also us, when we are in great sorrow and trouble, of some of the verses and Scripture-passages which we learned in our youth or read at some time, as a form of introduction to the help which He graciously grants us. Jesus then stepped to the frame upon which the dead man lay, He touched the coffin: the hand of Life rapped at the chamber of death. Those who carried the coffin stood at the touch of the Lord's hand. Then Jesus, as the Lord of life and death, gave a peremptory command: Young man, to thee I say, arise! He speaks to the dead as though he were merely sleeping. At His word the soul is reunited with the body, and death must yield up his prey. And the dead man, who was all ready to be buried, suddenly sat up and began to speak. He was restored to life. And Jesus gave him back to his mother, restored to the widow the one treasure which remained for her in life. She had been "surrounded with great pains and terror that she must have thought that God, heaven, earth, and everything were against her; and because she looks at things according to her flesh, she must conclude that it is impossible for her to be relieved of this fear. But when her son was awakened from death, then no other feeling took hold of her than as though heaven and earth, wood and stones, and everything was happy with her; then she forgot all pain and sorrow; all that went away; just as when a spark of tire is extinguished when it falls in the midst of the sea. " On the last day, when the Lord will return for judgment, He will halt the great funeral procession which is moving forward all over the world, He will bring the dead back to life, He will heal all wounds which death has made, He will reunite all those whom death has separated. Then there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, Revelation 21:4. That is the hope of the believers. While they are in this vale of tears, they cling to the hope of the Gospel. And this hope will then be realized and revealed in them.
The effect of the miracle:
v. 16. And there came a fear on all; and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited His people.
v. 17. And this rumor of Him went forth throughout all Judea and throughout all the region round about.
At this manifestation of almighty power which they had seen with their eyes, a fear and dread of the supernatural fell upon, took hold of, all the people. They felt the presence of God in this Man of Nazareth. But they did not acknowledge Him as the Messiah in spite of the greatness of the miracle. Merely as a great prophet they heralded Him; only as a visitation of God's grace did they look upon His coming. Their faith and understanding fell far short of that of the centurion of Capernaum. A mere recognition and acceptance of Jesus as a great prophet and social reformer is not sufficient at any time. All men must know Him to be the one and only Savior of the world. Only this knowledge and trust will bring salvation.
The Embassy of John the Baptist. Luke 7:18-35
The question of the Baptist:
v. 18. And the disciples of John showed him all these things.
v. 19. And John, calling unto him two of his disciples, sent them to Jesus, saying, Art Thou He that should come, or look we for another?
v. 20. When the men were come unto Him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto Thee, saying, Art Thou He that should come, or look we for another?
After John the Baptist had been sure of the identity of Christ, John 1:29-34, he had made an earnest effort to get his disciples to follow Jesus. A few left and joined the ranks of the disciples of the Lord. But some refused to give up their allegiance to John. They could not distinguish between essentials and nonessentials; they felt that the austere life of John the Baptist belonged to the substance of a moral life. But many of them hovered about Christ and reported to John what they thought worthwhile. The great miracle of the raising of the young man at Nain made a deep impression upon some of them, and they hastened to the prison of John and gave him a report concerning this last miraculous deed. John now thought the time ripe for a last effort to lead his disciples to Jesus. For that reason he delegated two of them to go to Jesus with the question: Art Thou He that is coming, that should come, the promised Messiah, or must we expect, and prepare for, another? The disciples of John carried out his order very faithfully, repeating the very words of their master.
Christ's reference to the prophecy:
v. 21. And in that same hour He cured many of their infirmities and plagues and of evil spirits, and unto many that were blind He gave sight.
v. 22. Then Jesus, answering, said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the Gospel is preached.
v. 23. And blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me.
The time of their coming to Jesus could not have been arranged more auspiciously. For just then Jesus was busily engaged with performing miracles of all kinds: He cured many of sicknesses, of plagues which were scourges upon their backs; He healed some of evil spirits; to many that were blind He granted the priceless favor or boon of sight. With reference to these and other miracles Jesus reminded the messengers of the Baptist of a prophecy which had been spoken concerning the Messiah, Isaiah 35:5-6; Isaiah 61:1-2. There miracles of all kinds, also in the field of physical healing, had been foretold as taking place through the power of. the Messiah. See Matthew 11:4-6. Any one that pays the slightest attention to the Old Testament prophecy, and compares it with the present visible fulfillment, cannot doubt that Jesus is the Christ. And Jesus adds a word of warning for the special benefit of the two disciples: Blessed is he that shall not be offended in Me. That was the danger for all those disciples of John that were not satisfied with the manner in which the disciples of Jesus were conducting themselves, without regard to the rules of the elders about fasting and washing of hands, etc. , chapter 5:30. If a person is so carried away with a false asceticism that he wants to curtail the liberty of the New Testament, and for that reason is offended at Jesus the Christ, he has only himself to blame for the evil consequences.
Christ's testimony concerning John:
v. 24. And when the messengers of John were departed, He began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
v. 25. But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts.
v. 26. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
v. 27. This is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face which shall prepare Thy way before Thee.
See Matthew 11:7-15. The Lord took this opportunity to bear witness to John and his ministry. The happenings of that time were so recent that they were still fresh in the memory. He put the question to the whole multitude, since many of them, undoubtedly, had been among those that were drawn by the reputation and by the powerful sermons of John. Had they gone out into the wilderness to see a reed agitated and swayed by the wind? John had not been a weather vane in his preaching, 2 Timothy 4:2-5. He had spoken the truth in a most uncompromising way, regardless of the fact that the great ones of the earth may have felt offended. Had they gone out into the wilderness to find a man clothed in soft garments? There is a place for such people; they may be found among those that live in the houses of kings. There those living in luxury and clothed with splendid apparel properly belonged. But John was a poor preacher of repentance. The luxuries of life had no appeal for him; he spurned the delicate side of wealth. Note: There is a fine hint in both references of the Lord for him that will read aright. But now came the main question: Had they gone out to see a prophet? Then indeed they had not been disappointed. For John was a prophet, and greater than the prophets of old. Of him it had been prophesied that he should be a messenger before the face of the Messiah, to prepare the way before Him, Malachi 3:1.
Further praise of John:
v. 28. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
v. 29. And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
v. 30. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
High praise indeed: All the prophets of old merely prophesied of the Messiah as one coming in the future, John pointed to the present Christ, testified of Him directly. And yet, by a strange paradox, he that is smaller than all in the kingdom of God is greater than John. Though John bore witness of Jesus as having come into the midst of His people, he yet saw but the dawn, and not the full break of day. His work was finished, his course was run before Christ entered into His glory. And so the children of the New Testament that have the complete fulfillment of the prophecy before their eyes, that know Christ crucified and resurrected, that possess the complete account of salvation in the writings of the evangelists and apostles, these have a greater revelation and a brighter light than even John the Baptist. But in spite of John's greatness, his ministry did not receive the recognition everywhere that it should have had. The popular judgment, indeed, had agreed with the estimate which Jesus had just given. The whole people, even the publicans, had, by submitting to the baptism of John, acknowledged the power of God in him. had endorsed him as a prophet. But the Pharisees and scribes had been found a sad exception. The counsel of God with regard to the salvation of all men concerned also them, they were invited as well as the others. But they deliberately rejected and spurned this counsel of love; they refused to be baptized by John; they preferred the damnation brought upon them by their hardheartedness. This has always been the fate of the Gospel-message with regard to the majority of people. God calls out to the whole world, He invites all men without exception to become partakers of His grace and mercy in Jesus Christ the Savior. But they refuse to accept His love and the proffered hand of help; they prefer to continue in their life of sin and thus are condemned by their own fault.
Parable of the children in the marketplace:
v. 31. And the Lord said, Whereunto, then, shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?
v. 32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.
v. 33. For John the Baptist came, neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.
v. 34. The Son of Man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!
v. 35. But wisdom is justified of all her children.
The Lord here scores the inconsistency of the Jewish people as a whole, and especially of their leaders, by comparing their actions to those of capricious, peevish children, whom no game will suit that their playmates propose. If these play on the flute, they refuse to dance to the tune; if they sing a mournful song to them, they refuse to simulate sorrow. In the language which Jesus spoke, there is a fine play on words in this passage, which brings out the emphasis of His thought very beautifully. Just as in the case of these children, no one can please the Jews, neither John nor Christ. John preached the baptism unto repentance and led a strict and austere life, and their verdict was: He is possessed of a demon; he is not in his right mind; why listen to him? When Jesus came, He introduced no such peculiarities, but lived and acted like other people, only with a kindly sympathy for all men. And this behavior they distorted into a frightful caricature; calling Him a glutton, a drunkard, a companion of publicans and sinners. Thus the Jews contradicted themselves to their own condemnation. But Jesus reminds them of a proverbial saying: Wisdom is justified of all her own children. There is no disagreement between this passage and that Matthew 11:19. By a slight change in vocalization the Aramaic word used by Jesus may mean either "works" or "children. " Both renderings arc inspired and accepted by God. The personal, divine Wisdom, Christ, Proverbs 8:1-36, was obliged to justify Himself against the judicial verdict of those who should have been His children by faith, but who refused to accept Him. His work stood the test of God's judgment in spite of their unbelief.
The First Anointing of Jesus.
v. 36. And one of the Pharisees desired Him that He would eat with him. And He went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
v. 37. And, "behold, a woman in the city which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
v. 38. and stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
Jesus was the friend of publicans and sinners, hut not in the derogatory sense in which His enemies used the word. The true nature of His relations to the, classes of people that were held in such contempt by the self-righteous Pharisees is shown in this story. One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to take dinner with him, and Jesus accepted, going into the house and reclining at the table. There is no mention of the preliminary usages and customs by which a host among the Jews honored his guest. Then a strange incident took place. A woman of the city, a notorious character, heard of Christ's presence in the house of the Pharisee. She had been deceived by the apparent pleasures of sin, she had received gall and wormwood instead of the expected honey, and now she was, in desperation, looking down into the abyss of a life of shame. But the news of Jesus, the Savior of sinners, whose kindness to the lowly and outcast was heralded far and wide, had brought her to the realization of her position; she now felt the full weight of her corruption and misery. So she bought an alabaster vase of costly ointment and, coming into the house, she stood at the feet of Jesus, weeping so bitterly in the full consciousness of her sinfulness that her tears washed the feet of Jesus, and she could try them off with her hair. And she kissed His feet again and again and anointed them with her precious salve. It was an exhibition of overwhelming sorrow, combined with an almost pitiful clinging to the Lord as the only one in whom she could put her trust. And the tears of her sorrow, as one commentator has it, became tears of ineffable joy that Jesus did not spurn her, that she had a Savior with a heart full of loving sympathy and boundless grace for even the worst of sinners.
The Pharisee's condemnation:
v. 39. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden Him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This Man, if He were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him; for she is a sinner.
v. 40. And Jesus, answering, said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
The host had watched the entire proceeding with ill-concealed disgust. The very thought of Jesus' being touched by such a notorious character made him shudder. And therefore he passed the 'verdict in his heart that Jesus could not be a prophet. The tears of the woman were disagreeable to him, and the smell of the ointment filled him with loathing. Note: The same spirit of self-righteous repulsiveness is found in the modern Pharisees. They draw aside their silken skirts or their fur-lined overcoats, even when they are given the assurance that a former sinner has left the path of transgression, not knowing that their hearts are filled with a far worse, a much more dangerous disease, that of pride and conceit. But Jesus knew the thoughts of the Pharisee, and He soon gave him evidence that He was a prophet who knew the hearts of men. He determined to give this haughty Pharisee a much-needed lesson, but in a kind and gentle way, with the object of convincing and gaining him. The host politely acquiesced when the Lord asked him whether He might tell him a certain matter, lay a certain case before him.
The parable and its application:
v. 41. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors; the one owed five hundred pence and the other fifty.
v. 42. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell Me therefore, which of them will love him most?
v. 43. Simon answered and said, I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And He said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
v. 44. And He turned to the woman and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house; thou gavest Me no water for My feet, but she hath washed My feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
v. 45. Thou gavest Me no kiss; but this woman, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss My feet.
v. 46. My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but this woman hath anointed My feet with ointment.
Two debtors were to one creditor; a fine bit of emphasis for the sake of the application of the parable: Simon and the woman, both debtors to the Lord. In the one case the debt was very large, five hundred denarii, almost eighty-five dollars; in the other very small, only one-tenth of that sum. Both were unable to pay, both were excused from paying the debt. Now the question was: Which of the two debtors was under the greater obligation to the Lord, and whose love would therefore be the greater? The answer was obvious, although the Pharisee answered somewhat cautiously that such was his opinion. Jesus accepted the answer gravely. But now came the application. For the first time Jesus turned to the woman directly and also asks Simon to look at her whom he had despised so absolutely. For the proud Pharisee could learn a lesson from the outcast of society. Jesus draws a parallel between the behavior of Simon and of this woman. Note the sharp contrast throughout the description: water tears; kiss of welcome repeated kisses; common oil precious ointment. Simon had not even observed the common courtesies invariably extended to a visitor or guest. When a guest came to the house of a Jew, he was greeted with a salutation and with a kiss, out under the entrance portico. Then the servants brought the water for rinsing off the feet, since people wore only sandals, and their feet became very dusty. And then followed the anointing with oil, of which a few drops were poured on the head of the guest. The words of Christ were a fine, effective reproof. "That, then, is the office of Christ the Lord which He carries on in the world, namely, that He rebukes sin and forgives sin. He rebukes the sin of those that do not acknowledge their sin, and especially of those that do not want to be sinners and consider themselves holy, as this Pharisee did. He forgives sin to those that feel it and desire forgiveness; as this woman was a sinner. With His rebuke He earns little thanks; with the forgiveness of sins He succeeds in having His doctrine branded as heresy and blasphemy. But neither should be omitted. The preaching unto repentance and the rebuking we must have, in order that people come to the knowledge of their sins and become meek. The preaching of grace and of forgiveness of sins we must have, in order that the people do not fall into despair. Therefore the preacher's office should preserve the mean between presumption and despair, that preaching is done thus that people neither become presumptuous nor despair."
v. 47. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
v. 48. And He said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
v. 49. And they that sat at meat with Him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
v. 50. And He said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
On the basis of the parable and the facts as stated by Christ, He tells Simon: Forgiven are her many sins, for she loved much. The fact that her many grievous trespasses had found forgiveness in the sight of Christ and God filled her heart with joyful love, which she was constrained to show by her outward behavior. The forgiveness was not the result of the love, but the love, followed and flowed out of the forgiveness, just as the sun does not shine because it is light outside, but it is light because the sun shines. "The papists adduce this verse against our doctrine of faith and say, Since Christ says: Her many sins are forgiven because she loved much, therefore forgiveness of sins is not obtained by faith, but by love. But that this cannot be the meaning the parable proves, which shows clearly that love follows out of faith. Therefore, when one has forgiveness of sins and believes, there faith follows. Where one does not have forgiveness, there is no love. " On the other hand, there is no partial forgiveness. A sinner to whom certain grievous sins are forgiven has forgiveness of them all. Simon's lack of love proved that he had no forgiveness, in fact, cared nothing about forgiveness in his proud Pharisaic mind. But to the woman Jesus now said: Forgiven are thy sins. This word out of the Savior's mouth was the seal and surety of her forgiveness. It was the word which inflamed the glow of her faith into a rich fire. Though the other guests took offense at the words of Jesus, He continued in His kind assurance to the poor woman. Her faith, which she had proved by her love, had saved her. Through her faith she had accepted the redemption of Jesus, she was a blessed child of salvation.
Jesus heals the servant of the centurion of Capernaum, raises the widow's son of Nain, receives an embassy of John the Baptist, and is anointed in the house of a Pharisee, teaching a lesson in faith and forgiveness.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Luke 7". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13