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Fresh air and Freedom - Luke 7:36-50

Grange Baptist Church 1st October 2023


Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman

36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[c] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Movie: “ The great escape”, Steve McQueen, 1963, famous music etc.

Parable of the ‘sinful woman’ anointing the feet of Jesus, Luke 7:36-50

Knowledge or action.

We can know about forgiveness, have some concept of what it means. This story shows us that forgiveness of our sin, the guilt and struggle this brings, should spring us into action, it releases us, sets us free. The question is, ‘ Do we live and interact with others as though this is the case?’


In this story, we do not find ourselves in a Bible study or discussion group about forgiveness. We are at a dinner party, clattering of plates, people talking, laughing, drinking. It’s noisy, messy and lively, there’s stuff happening.

Then a woman, uninvited, crashes the dinner party simply because she had heard Jesus was in town.

But why? Why was she so desperate to see Him? Find out later.

Not only did she crash the party, she annoyed, offended and upset the host and the other guests.

She didn’t care, she knew she had to be with Jesus, knew she had to see Him.

The host of the party, ‘Simon’ , a Pharisee, questions Jesus, ‘ Do you know who you are letting touch you?’

Jesus responds with a parable, and challenges Simon's thinking. Jesus forgives the woman and she goes on her way.

Here are some things that we can find in this story.

Awareness of need for Jesus.

The woman was well aware of her need for forgiveness. Somehow she had been struggling, wrestling with her sin and heard Jesus was in town, needed to be with Him. 

The oil.

She had prepared herself. Alabaster jar of oil, very valuable, but prepared to crash a party and spare no expense to be at the feet of Jesus.

The tears.

Her response being in the presence of Jesus, is not one of joy or excitement, but of deep understanding of herself, as she stood behind Him and wept. Her tears, the very product of her realisation of her situation flowed onto the feet of Jesus.

The hair.

Maybe she just didn’t have a towel? This, along with the tears shows the physicality of her response to her sinfulness and need for Jesus. 

Forgiveness and Freedom.

“Your sins are forgiven, go in peace.” Interesting that Jesus uses the word ‘Peace’ here. He knew the torment and turmoil her life had been, the lack of peace in her life caused by the sinful way she had been living. So he released her from the prison of her sin, released her from the stifling guilt that suffocated her, He freed her into the fresh air of forgiveness. 

For us.

We sometimes create a life for ourselves where we justify all sorts of things, where we ‘de-sin’ our attitudes, actions and words. Coming to an awareness of our need for Jesus, an awareness that we need Him, His forgiveness and grace on a daily basis, releases us, sets us free, launches us into the freedom and fresh air that is the grace of God.

Pray this week that you can encounter Jesus in a new way, or maybe an old way, like this woman did, knowing who He is, who you are and accepting His forgiveness that sets you free.