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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Luke 7

 

 

Verses 18-50

Luke 7:18. And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.

John was in prison, and, possibly, troubled in spirit.

Luke 7:19. 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?

Did John doubt, then? Perhaps not. It may be that he saw that his disciples doubted, and that he wished their fears to be removed. It is possible, however, that he did himself have doubts. It is no unusual thing for the bravest hearts to be subject to fits of doubt. Elijah, you remember sat under a juniper tree in the wilderness, “and he requested for himself that he might die,” though he was the man who never was to die. And John, — the Elijah of the Christian dispensation, though a man of iron, was but a man, so he sent two of his disciples to Jesus, saying, “Art thou he that should come, or look we for another?”

Luke 7:20-22. 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? 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. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard;

Our old proverb says that actions speak louder than words, so an answer in his actions would be more eloquent with these inquirers than even an answer in our Lord’s own words. He bade them look at the evidences of his Messiahship which he gave them by his miraculous cures, and then he said to them, “Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard.” It would be well if our lives were such that, if any enquired what we were, we should only have to say that they might judge us by what they had seen and heard in our common everyday life and conversation.

Luke 7:22-23. 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. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

According to our Lord’s testimony, the preaching of the gospel to the poor is as great a proof of his Messiahship as the raising of the dead. Then how highly it ought to be prized by them, and how glad should they be who have the gospel now preached freely in their hearing!

Luke 7:24. 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?

The wind on the banks of the Jordan, where there are plenty of reeds growing; — did you see a man who would bow before every breath of popular favor or popular wrath? Was John the Baptist such a man as that? No, certainly not.

Luke 7:25. 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.

They do not preach repentance. As is their clothing, so is their doctrine. They try to show a royal road to heaven — a smooth and easy path. But was John the Baptist a preacher of that kind? No, that he was not.

Luke 7:26-28. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 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.

Passing into the dispensation of clearer light, he who is least among the believers of the gospel of Jesus is, in some respects, greater than this man, who could only preach repentance, and point to a coming Saviour.

Luke 7:29-32. And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation and to what are they like?

They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, at play; the playing of children is often according to the manners and customs of grown up people.

Luke 7:32. And calling one to another, and saying, we have piped unto you, and ye have not danced;

“You would not play a merry game when we asked you to do so.”

Luke 7:32. We have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.

“You would not play either at funerals or weddings.”

Luke 7:33. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, he hath a devil.

“He came among you as an ascetic, denying himself, not only the luxuries of life, but even the common comforts that others enjoyed, and ye say, ‘He hath a devil.’”

Luke 7:34. The Son of man is come eating and drinking;

“He does not pretend to be an ascetic, he comes, on the contrary, to show that neither meat nor drink can save a man. What do you say, then, of this Son of man?”

Luke 7:34-35. And ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! But wisdom is justified of all her children.

Though the world contemns all wisdom’s children, whichever way they go, and is not pleased with their manners, whatever manners they possess, yet, in the long run, when the wisdom of God shall be all unfolded, it will be seen that the roughness of John and the gentleness and lovingkindness of Jesus were both right in their proper place. If fish are not caught in the gospel fishery, it may sometimes be the fisherman’s fault, but more often, it is the fault of the fish themselves. Here we have two very different kinds of fishermen, yet neither of them attracts all, though each of them draws some.

Luke 7:36-37. 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. And, behold, —

For it is a wonder of grace: “Behold,” —

Luke 7:37. A woman in the city, which was a sinner, —

A sinner by profession, a public and notorious sinner, —

Luke 7:37-44. When she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box; of ointment, 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. 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. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 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:

“Though it was only a common act of courtesy, such as should always be shown to a guest, thou didst neglect that;” —

Luke 7:44. But she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head.

“She has given my feet no common washing, for she has washed them with her tears. You would only have brought me a linen napkin, but she hath ‘wiped them with the hairs of her head.’”

Luke 7:45. Thou gavest me no kiss,

Which was usually given as a greeting to guests at that time. Simon had not given to Jesus the honour which was due to him, which would have been to kiss his forehead.

Luke 7:45. But this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

Every word is emphatic to show how far she had gone beyond Simon, who thought himself so much better than she was.

Luke 7:46. My head with oil thou didst not anoint:

Another usual Eastern custom with guests whom the host intended to honour.

Luke 7:46. But this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

Anointed them, not with ordinary olive oil, but with precious costly ointment.

Luke 7:47. Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much:

“You know that her sins were many, and I tell you that they have been forgiven, and you can see, by her actions, that she loves much.”

Luke 7:47-48. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

What music that sentence “Thy sins are forgiven,” must have been to her! ‘Ah!’ says one, “I also should like to hear that sentence. Beyond everything else in the whole world would I desire to hear Jesus say to me, ‘Thy sins are forgiven.’ Then put yourself in the place that this woman occupied.

When Joab clung to the horns of the altar, he had to die there, but this woman had fled to the feet of Jesus, and she did not die there; nor shall you, but at those blessed feet, weeping for sin, and trusting the great Sin-bearer, you shall receive assurance of pardon: “Thy sins are forgiven.”

Luke 7:49-50. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? and he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

He did not want this young convert, this beginner in the Christian life to hear the bickerings and controversies of these coarse spirits, so he said to her, “Go in peace; and, dear soul, if you have begun to find out that, even in the Christian Church there are many opinions concerning many things, do not trouble yourself about those things. This is enough for thee: “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.” There may be some who are called to contend for this or that point of the faith; but, as for thee, poor child, if,

with thy broken heart, thou hast found the Saviour, and if thou lovest him with an inward, warm, and hearty love, do not spoil that love by getting into a controversial spirit: “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”


Verses 24-50

Luke 7:24. 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?

Certainly not; John could never be compared to a reed shaken with the wind, for he was strong, sturdy, firm, and steadfast. He was not like so many preachers, nowadays, who are swayed by the ever-changing opinion of the age, — the thought of these modern times, — and so prove themselves to be mere reeds shaken with the wind.

Luke 7:25. 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.

John had been preaching in the desert, with all his might warning sinners to flee from the wrath to come. He was no court preacher, but a minister to the multitude, who delivered his heaven-inspired message in his own straightforward earnest style.

Luke 7:26-27. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

John was the morning star, and Christ the glorious Sun. John was the herald proclaiming the coming of Christ, and Christ himself followed close at his heels.

Luke 7:28. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist:

His was the highest office of all, immediately to precede Messiah himself.

Luke 7:28. But he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

We have a fuller gospel to preach than John had, and we may expect to see greater results from the preaching of that gospel than John could hope to see.

Luke 7:29-32. And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. And the Lord said, whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? 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.

These children could not agree as to what game they would play. “Come,” they said, “let us imitate a wedding, we will pipe, and you can dance.” But the others would not dance. “Well,” they said, “let us play at something. Let us imitate a funeral; we will be the mourners.” Then the others would not weep. They would agree to nothing that was proposed, and that is the point of the Saviour’s analogy, that there are multitudes of men who always quarrel with any kind of ministry that God may send to them. This man’s style is much too florid; he has a superabundance of the flowers of oratory. That other man is much too dull; there is nothing interesting about his discourses. This man is too coarse; he is so rough as even to be vulgar. That other man is too refined, and uses language which shoots over people’s heads. It is easy to find fault when you want to do so. And stick will do to beat a dog, and any kind of excuse will do to allow your conscience to escape from the message of an earnest ministry. Our Lord told the people that this was the way they had acted towards himself and John the Baptist.

Luke 7:33. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; —

An ascetic of ascetics, —

Luke 7:33. And ye say, He hath a devil.

“He is out of his mind altogether, possessed by the devil.”

Luke 7:34. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; —

That is the Lord Jesus himself. He comes as a man among men, and sits with you at your feasts, and does not lead the life of an ascetic.

Luke 7:34. And ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

There was no pleasing them either way; whichever form of preacher the Lord sent, whether an ascetic or one like themselves, they found fault.

Luke 7:35. But wisdom is justified of all her children.

There shall come a day when it shall be seen that, after all, God knew best what style of preacher to send. He had work for each man to do, and he adapted the man for the work he had entrusted to his charge.

Luke 7:36. 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.

Invitations from Pharisees were rather scarce; they did not often ask Christ to their houses. Even before this meal is over, there will be sure to be something like a quarrel, depend upon it.

Luke 7:37. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, —

Her name is not given; and there are good reasons why it should not be given. Certainly, she was not Mary the sister of Lazarus, nor yet Mary Magdalene, we may be quite cure of that. Our Saviour leaves her in an anonymous condition; and it is usually best that converts of this character should not be exhibited, and their names made known. I believe that much cruel wrong has been done to reclaimed sinners when they have been pushed to the front. “Behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner,” —

Luke 7:37-38. When she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, —

His feet probably lay towards the door as he reclined at the table, and she could readily get at them without becoming too conspicuous in the room: she “stood at his feet behind him weeping,” —

Luke 7:38. 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.

What a blessed amalgam of humility penitence, gratitude, and love! All these are seen in what she did, especially in that unbinding of the tresses of her beauty, which had been her nets in which she had taken the souls of men, now she uses these for a towel. She “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.”

Luke 7:39. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, —

He did not like to say it in so many words, but he spoke loudly enough for himself to hear it, and for Christ to hear it, too.

Luke 7:39-44. 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. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman?

“You did see this woman, and you looked upon her with a frowning face; now take another look at her by the light of my parable.” “Simon, seest thou this woman?”

Luke 7:44. I entered into thine house, —

“Therefore thou wast bound by the obligations of a host,” —

Luke 7:44. Thou gavest me no water for my feet: —

An ordinary commonplace courtesy in the East, almost a necessity for those who have walked far, and whose feet are weary and dusty: “Thou gavest me no water for my feet:” —

Luke 7:44. But she hath washed my feet with tears, —

Costly water this! “She hath washed my feet with tears.”

Luke 7:44. And wiped them with the hairs of her head.

“She has done it, she has done it better than thou wouldst have done it, she has done it best of all, she has done what thou oughtest to have done, she has done it when there seemed to be no claim upon her to do it.”

Luke 7:45. Thou gavest me no kiss: —

Though that was the ordinary mode of !an honoured guest, —

Luke 7:46. But this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

You said in your heart that, if I had been a prophet, I should have known who and what manner of woman this was. I do know, and I am telling you. If you had given me a kiss, you would only have coldly kissed my brow, but she has found it in her heart to honour me by kissing my feet. Since I came in, she has not ceased to kiss them, unwashed as they were; and she has not only kissed them, but she has also washed them with her tears.”

Luke 7:46. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: —

“Thou, the host, whose duty it was to anoint guest, didst not do it,” —

Luke 7:46. But this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

The best unguent she possessed or could procure.

Luke 7:47-48. 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. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

“Not because she has done this, but this is an evidence that her sine are forgiven. This act of greater love is the proof that she must be conscious of the greater forgiveness: ‘she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.’” It is always like that; your converted Pharisees have to be made to feel like this woman before they will render love like hers; and if Simon is ever made to feel that his sin, in a certain light, is as great as the sin of this fallen woman, then he will love as much as she does, but not till then.

Jesus said unto her, “Thy sins are forgiven.” Oh, the marvellous music of that short sentence! If I had to choose from all language the choicest sentence that my ear could hear when under a sense of him, it would be these four words which the Master addressed to this woman who was a notable public sinner, “Thy sins are forgiven.”

Luke 7:49. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?

Now, you see, they begin to mutter and to cavil. What is this poor woman to do? Probably she felt ready to speak up for her Master; but, sometimes, it happens that the Lord Jesus Christ will not permit certain even of his forgiven ones to be very prominent.

Luke 7:50. And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

She was best out of the way of all controversy; she would honour him most by going home, and there sweetly singing to his praise, and drinking deep draughts of his love. If any of you converts are meeting with those who cavil at you, do not stop where they are, but go about your business with these sweet words of your Master ringing in your ears: “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in piece.”


Verses 36-48

Luke 7:36. 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.

They sat according to the Eastern custom of sitting, which was rather lying at length, with the feet far out upon the couch or sofa.

Luke 7:37. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner,

In a particular sense, a sinner; one whose very trade was sin.

Luke 7:37-38. When she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment And stood at his feet behind him weeping.

As she could do, you see, without coming into the room, except for a few yards, especially if the Saviour’s feet were close against the door.

Luke 7:38. 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.

For water she gives her tears, for a towel, her hair; to heal the blisters of his weary pilgrimage, there are her soft lips for liniment; and then for ointment comes this precious salve.

Luke 7:39. 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.

She is a sinner, and does he let her touch him, and kiss his feet, and show such tokens of affection? What man must he be who allows a harlot’s kiss, even though it be upon his feet? Ah! poor foolish Pharisee! He judged according to the sight of the eye, or else he might have known that the best of men would never be angry at a harlot’s tears, for the tears of repentance, come from whatever heart they may, are always like diamonds in the esteem of thee who judges rightly.

Luke 7:40-42. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay,

And were, therefore, likely to be cast into prison, and to be sold as slaves.

Luke 7:42-43. He frankly forgave them both. Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him most. Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

There were no bonds, no promises of what they would do in the future, but he frankly forgave them both.

Luke 7:44. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house,

And it was, therefore, thy duty to attend to me.

Luke 7:44. Thou gavest me no water for my feet:

Though that was the common custom.

Luke 7:44-45. But he hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head Thou gavest me no kiss;

Which was the customary welcome to every honoured guest — a kiss upon the cheek or upon the forehead.

Luke 7:45. But this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

She has done what thou oughtest to have done; she has done it better than thou couldest have done it; she has done it when there was no claim upon her to do it, except that she had been forgiven much, and, therefore, loved much.

Luke 7:46. My head with oil thou didst not anoint;

This, too, was the usual custom.

Luke 7:46-48. But this woman, hath anointed my feet with ointment. 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. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.


Verses 36-50

Luke 7:36. 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.

It was usually a suspicious circumstance when a Pharisee desired to be familiar with Christ; it might generally be suspected that he wished to entrap him. Yet, on this occasion, if there was no real friendliness to Christ, there was at least the appearance of it. We see what our Saviour did when the Pharisee gave him an invitation: “He went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.” The Lord saw there an opportunity for usefulness. He knew that be would have a good reason for speaking personally to this Pharisee, who, peradventure, was one of the other sort. At all events, our Lord felt that it was right for him to go into that house, even if they did watch him, and try to catch him in his talk. If there was hypocrisy there, there was the more need for his presence, as Jesus himself said concerning his eating with publicans and sinners, “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.”

Luke 7:37-38. 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, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

She was not a sinner in the ordinary sense of the word, but she was “a sinner” by trade, “a sinner” by profession. It always seems to me that, in this description of her, every word is emphatic. There is much meaning in every separate action of the woman; and even in her little mannerisms there is something that is instructive to us. Our Lord was reclining at his meal, and his feet were turned towards the door, so that she had not to come far into the house before she reached his feet; and there she stood “at his feet.” Those are blessed words: “at his feet.” That is where we also would stand and weep. That is where we would sit and learn. That is where we would wait and serve. That is where we hope to live and reign for ever: “at his feet.” This woman “stood at his feet behind him,” — as if she were unworthy to be looked upon by him, but found it honour enough to be behind him, so long as she was but near him: “at his feet behind him weeping,” — with sorrow for her sin, with joy for her pardon, with delight in her Lord’s presence, perhaps with grief at the prospect of what yet awaited him. And she “began to wash his feet with tears.” O sweet repentance, which fills the basin better than the purest streams of earth could ever do! Then she unbound her tresses, — those nets in which she had, mayhap, caught many a man when she had hunted for the precious life after her former sinful manner. But now she uses those tresses for something better, she makes a towel of her hair. That which was her pride shall now fill that humble office, and even be honoured thereby. “And kissed his feet.” Oh, the tenderness of her love, and the strength of her passion — a sacred one, not born of earth at all, — for that dear Lord of hers! she kissed his feet; and then she poured upon them the precious perfumed ointment which had cost so much.

Luke 7:39. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, —

Well, what did he say? I think that, if some of us, taught of God, and let into the secret of eternal love, had been there, we should have whispered to one another, “What a change has been wrought in that woman! There she is, weeping, and washing the Saviour’s feet, when, but the other day, she was standing at the corners of the streets, in the attire of a harlot, plying her accursed trade.” How greatly we should have rejoiced to see her! But it is only grace that teaches us to rejoice over even one sinner that repenteth, and Simon the Pharisee appeared to know little or nothing of grace. He had, however, the good manners not to say aloud what he thought, but “he spake within himself, saying,” —

Luke 7:39. 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.

Yet “this man” was a prophet, and he did know “who and what manner of woman” that was who touched him. More than that, he knew what manner of woman his grace had made her, and how true, how pure, was the love which she was then manifesting to him; and he knew how deep was her repentance, how changed her heart, how renewed her entire life was. He knew all about her, but poor Simon could not know “this woman” as Christ knew her.

Luke 7:40. And Jesus, answering, said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

Christ often answers people who do not speak audibly, he answers those who only speak in their hearts. So you, who are silently praying, may take comfort. If Jesus answers a Pharisee who speaks in his heart against him, much more readily will he answer his own people when they are speaking in their hearts to him. It was a hopeful sign that Simon used a respectful title in speaking to Christ, and that he was willing to listen.

Luke 7:41-43. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both.

“Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most.” Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. Now, dear friends, I hope that those of us who have had much forgiven are proving, by the warmth of our love, how right was this judgment on the part of Simon. If thou hast had much forgiven, be well to the front in every struggle on behalf of the cause of Christ. Be well to the front also with thy gift for him; bring thy alabaster box, and break it for him. With not for anyone to ask thee, much less to press thee, to give to him who gave his all for thee, but, spontaneously, out of the love thou bearest to trial who has loved thee so much as to die for thee, prove that thou lovest him most of all.

Luke 7:44. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman?

Christ knew that Simon did see her, and that he had just been sneering at her in his heart: “Seest thou this woman?”

Luke 7:44. I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and washed them with the hairs of her head.

“I became thy guest; and, therefore, as my host, the first thing thou shouldst have done was to give the ordinary Oriental hospitality of washing my feet: ‘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.’” What a changing of places there is now! The Lord has made the first to be last, and the last to be first. Simon thought himself far in advance of this woman; but now that Christ had explained their true positions, I should think he began to see that the woman was far ahead of him.

Luke 7:45. Thou gavest me no kiss:

Yet that was the Eastern custom in welcoming an honoured guest.

Luke 7:45. But this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

“At best, thou wouldst only have kissed me once, but this woman, since I came in, has never left off kissing my feet. With a sacred audacity of love, she has lifted my feet to her lips, and kissed them again and again.” So, see here again how the first is last, and the last first.

Luke 7:46. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

“That is a common custom in the case of a guest of honourable estate, but thou didst not observe it; yet this woman has poured upon my feet the most precious form of perfume that could be procured anywhere.”

Luke 7:47-48. 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. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

There I see the clear run of the argument, — that she is a woman who has had much forgiven by Christ, and that is the reason why she loves him so much. But, often, when an inference is very natural and plain, the Saviour leaves men to draw that one for themselves, while he draws another. He puts the same truth in another shape: “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” I am afraid that there are many professed Christians, who must have had very little forgiven them, for they love Christ very little. This seems to be the age of little love to Christ. There are some few who love the Master intensely, but, oh, how few they are! Some persons think they are only very little sincere; and we are told, nowadays, what a little thing sin is, and what a little place hell is, and what a very short time the punishment of sin will last. Everything is according to scale, and it must be so in religion; as you diminish the guilt of sin, and the punishment of sin, you also diminish the sense of obligation in being saved from sin. Consequently, you diminish our love to Christ, and we shall gradually get less and less, I fear, unto the old scale, the old balance, the old shekel of the sanctuary, shall once again be used by us.

Luke 7:49. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?

“Who is this who can thus absolve from guilt?

Luke 7:50. And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

“Go home, good woman, do not stop here and be bothered by these people.” And oftentimes, that is the best advice that we can give to new converts. There is a theological controversy raging, and the jargon of the different schools of thought is being used by one and another; but, do you go home, good soul. You need not trouble about controversial matters. Your sins are forgiven you; your faith has saved you; if you know that, you know as much as you need to know just now. Go home, and be quiet and happy: “Go in peace.”

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Luke 7:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/luke-7.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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