Saturday, 12 June 2010

The evangelist and the prostitute

Luke 7:36-50 The evangelist and a prostitute

The story illustrates the profound truth that a person who is loved and forgiven much loves back in proportion. (story of man who sold porn).
The passage develops the saying "wisdom is proved right by all her children", v35.
Only Luke records the invitations by Pharisees and of Jesus' willingness to share table fellowship with them.
There was a woman who was a well known prostitute in the city" = she was a local resident. A sinner! Possibly Mary Magdalene, even possibly Mary of Bethany. Each gospel has an anointing story. Jesus was probably anointed by different women on a number of different occasions.
Then she found out that Jesus was at tale in the house of the Pharisee.
She brought an alabaster jar of perfume – a scented rubbing oil, anointing oil, or a more concentrated oil for embalming. Alabaster was used for expensive scents as it was believed that it preserved the perfume.
As Jesus was reclining, she stood behind him, adjacent to his feet. It appears that the meal was on the verandah of the home, probably facing the inside courtyard. It was not unusual for members of the local community to be invited to gather in the courtyard of a prominent citizen while he was entertaining a public identity. The crowd would be gathered, listening to the conversation. So it would be reasonably easy for the woman to step forward and tend Jesus' feet, but normally "a sinner" not be present.
She was crying. (man at Greenbelt) Her tears wet his feet and she poured perfume] on them. And massaged his feet with the scented oil. Anointing is usually done on the forehead, not the feet. (Sensual-adoring. Michelle Roberts.)
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw what was happening. He began to think about the matter. If Jesus were a prophet he would know who this woman was and never let her touch him. (religious codes of behaviour)

Jesus spoke up and said. “I have something to say to you”.
Teacher/rabbi?
“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. When they were unable to settle the debt, he cancelled the debts. There was a great disparity in the debts but both were cancelled. Which of them will love him more?" - which therefore of them more will love him. The sentence draws a comparison. "Of these two men, which will love him more?"
Socratic interrogation" - a question leading to counter questions, followed by applied teaching.
"I suppose" - Simon is cautious, "the one who had the bigger debt cancelled”.
What has Simon's lack of hospitality got to do with the woman's affectionate gratitude? Simon, the one who judges, is condemned, while the woman is saved.
“You see this woman here, don't you. I came as a guest into your home and accepted your hospitality. You did not give me any water for my feet. Following custom, Simon should have provided water for Jesus to wash his feet before inviting him into the house. Often, servants would provide a bowl of water and towel and assist. Simon's failure to do this is actually an insult to Jesus. It indicates what he thinks of Jesus.
He did not give Jesus the greeting of peace.
She has not stopped covering my feet with kisses".
Anointing is an act of courtesy toward a guest. Simon's failure to do it exposed his attitude toward Jesus. Simon didn't even use "olive oil", but the woman used muron , a strong aromatic oil.
Therefore, I tell you her great love proves that her many sins have been forgiven, but he who has been forgiven little loves little"
The other guests at the table with him, began] to say among themselves "What kind of person is this who acts with the authority to forgive sins?"
Faith has saved you– (made you well). Go in peace”- a very common farewell formula,

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