Perfume and a Parable

Perfume and a Parable

Luke 7:36–50

Once upon a New Testament time, Jesus ate a meal with a Pharisee.

One day, Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus over for dinner. So Jesus went to Simon’s house and sat at the table ready to eat.

There was a woman in the town who lived a sinful life, and she knew it. She heard that Jesus was eating at Simon’s house, so she went there, taking a very expensive jar of very expensive perfume.

She walked up to the table, stood behind Jesus and began to weep. Her tears tumbled onto Jesus’ feet like a warm shower, washing them clean. The woman let down her long, long hair and wiped Jesus’ feet with it until they were dry. Then she poured her very expensive perfume out of the very expensive jar and onto Jesus’ feet, filling the whole room with its beautiful fragrance.

Simon the Pharisee saw what happened, because Pharisees always seemed to see everything, and he smelled the perfume hanging in the air. He said to himself, “If Jesus was really a prophet, he’d know that woman touching him is a sinner.”

Jesus turned to Simon and said, “Simon, I have a story for you.”

Simon said, “Ooh, tell me, teacher!”

And Jesus said, “Two men owed some money to the same money lender. One owed 500 silver coins, and the other only owed 50 silver coins. Neither of them had the money, and the money lender did something amazing – he cancelled both their debts! Now then, Simon, which man do you think was more grateful and liked the money lender best?”

Simon thought about it and said, “Well, I suppose the one who owed the most money and had the bigger debt cancelled.”

“That’s right,” said Jesus, and he turned to the woman but carried on speaking to Simon. “Do you see this woman? When I came into your home, you didn’t even offer me a single drop of water to wash my dusty feet, but this woman showered them clean with her tumbling tears and dried them on her hair. You didn’t even welcome me with a hug, but this woman hasn’t stopped kissing my feet from the moment she arrived. You didn’t even pour oil on my head, but this woman poured a whole jar of very expensive perfume on my feet. All her sins are forgiven. Her sins were great so her love is great. But people who are forgiven for a little will only love a little.”

Then Jesus spoke to the woman, saying, “I forgive your sins.”

Well, that started the dinner guests mumbling and grumbling! They muttered to each other, “Who does he think he is, forgiving sins like that?”

But Jesus batted away their blathering like buzzy flies, and told the woman, “Because of your faith, you are saved. Go in peace!”