Luke 7:24-50 — Jesus affirms John the Baptist

24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:

‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,

who will prepare your way before you.’

28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:

“We played the pipe for you,

and you did not dance;

we sang a dirge,

and you did not cry.”

33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, “He has a demon.” 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”

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, 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.”


Points of Interest:

  • (v.26) “and more than a prophet”—John held a privileged place among the prophets, being the one given the opportunity to introduce the coming Lord.
  • (v.34) “Here is a glutton and a drunkard”—the Pharisees are impossible to please. They dismissed John as a madman, and they dismiss Jesus as a party animal.
  • (v.35) “wisdom is proved right by all her children”—John and Jesus are both wisdom’s children, even if they show the family resemblance in much different ways. They both behave in ways that are appropriate to their time, their place, and their mission. John’s more severe lifestyle was in accordance with his message of repentance and of desperate longing for something new to come. Jesus’ propensity for partying fits well with both the exhilaration that the day has finally come, and with his mission to go wherever he can find sinners.
  • (v.40) “Jesus answered him”—The Pharisee is silently skeptical about whether Jesus is a prophet, and Jesus responds as if he was talking aloud. The Pharisee assumes that if Jesus were a prophet, he would know of the woman’s sinful life, and therefore not have anything to do with her. The woman’s past doesn’t seem to matter to Jesus at all, except to lead him to remark on how much gratitude she expresses.
  • (v.44) “You did not give me any water for my feet”—Although the Pharisee invites Jesus to dinner, he is somewhat lacking in courtesy. He doesn’t do any of the things that would express warm welcome or honor. Maybe he feels that Jesus should be grateful just to be invited. The woman more than makes up for the Pharisee’s lack of courtesy with her lavish care.
  • (v.50) “Your faith has saved you”—this woman is so confident that Jesus will forgive her that she extravagantly thanks him before it ever happens. It is just such faith in Jesus’ goodness and power that leads to her being forgiven.


Taking it home:

  • For you: You can be utterly confident that Jesus will forgive your sins. After all, it’s what He came to do. Spend a moment today praising Jesus for his forgiveness. Consider imitating the woman from today’s passage, by figuring out some special way to thank Jesus. Perhaps you could write a letter to Him, or give a gift in His honor to express your gratitude.
  • For your Six: John served as a forerunner for Jesus. He helped smooth the path so that it would be easier for people to recognize Jesus when He came to them. Ask God to help you to be the same kind of help for your Six. What are the things that get in the way of your Six being able to receive the good things Jesus might have for them? Ask God to open a door for you to play a role in helping them remove those barriers.
  • For our church/ILTJ: In this story, Jesus again provides a vivid picture of a God overflowing with love and grace. Pray that the values of God, love, and grace would be obvious and visible in our church.