Portraits of Gratitude

Sep 16, 2018 | Dr. Craig Price

Portrait of a Sinful Woman: Ceaseless Gratitude

The Storyline:

Pharisee—Jesus—sinful woman—other guests (v 36)

Pharisee — profile of Pharisees is quite complicated; Josephus, New Testament, lit. of the Rabbis; fairly agreed upon summary: non-priestly experts of Jewish law, interested in ritual purity/tithing, who did believe in the afterlife; they were power brokers between the aristocracy and the masses; thus they tended to be legalistically judgemental of “sinners” who were not adhering to Jewish law.

Jesus- reclining; usually sandals off, lying on left side; enjoying meal

Sinful woman – “heard” Jesus was there; unnamed; Who? she has been (conjecture) conflated with different Marys when taking the parallel passages together.

Other guests – (verse 49) some think the guests are other Pharisees

The Scene:

What a scene, indeed! (vs. 37-38)


Arrangement: a middle eastern meal; guests reclining around a table (slides on reclining)


Her entry-she got in by a custom that allowed uninvited intruders-beggars usually- to come asking for a gift; with 2 parts to a meal, uninvited guests could come in according to customs.


Her emotion-Weeping, burst of emotional release; lack of social restraint.

  • Wiping w/ hair - letting hair down; forbidden act of indecency
  • Kissing Jesus’ feet - act of reverence shown to leading rabbis


Her extravagance -Pouring perfume on his feet; myrrh (imperf: weeping, wiping, anointing…continuously)

Response by the Pharisee:

(v 39)
-repulsed: a bubble thought;

  • Contempt for Jesus
    • “if this man” was a prophet (which he cannot be or he would have known who she is)
  • Repulsion for the woman
    • What kind of woman – sinner!
  • Pharisee’s self-righteousness is exposed by Luke, and perceived by Jesus!
  • He is thinking this
  • Jesus read his mind

Jesus’ Lesson: Parable of Two Men in Debt

(vs 40-43)
illus. two men had debt, but neither could afford to pay; one with extravagant debt, the other with a modest debt; Banker (moneylender) cancelled both debts! (verb is ‘graced’); ‘graced both with cancellation of the debt’

Teacher’s Question: “Which debtor will love him more?”
Simon’s Answer: “The one with the larger debt.” “Right!”

Jesus’ Application of the Lesson:

(vs. 44-47)


Note Luke’s lead-in: “Looking at her, he speaks to Simon…”

Pharisee Sinful Woman

No water wet my feet with tears of gratitude!

No kiss of affection on my head She has not stopped kissing my feet!

No oil for my head She poured it all out on my feet!

Point: Her sins were many…her out-poured love is extravagant! Huge humility

v. 47b Pharisee is no “little sinner” – minuscule humility/proud and haughty

Has the Pharisee become so callous he was not grateful?

“You will never realize that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have!” Ron Dunn

Two pictures: “Smug, haughty, self-righteousness; Total humility, and expending her perfume

Jesus Takes the Debate to a New Level:

(v. 48)
To her: “Your sins are forgiven.”

Reaction by the Other Pharisee Guests:

(v. 49)

Guests: Who is this who forgives sin? Only God can….
Luke 18:11-14

Jesus Declares Her Salvation by Faith:

(v. 50)
Jesus: Your faith has saved you. Go in Peace!

illus. How many points does a sermon need? At least one.

“God offers great forgiveness to all to deal with their sin, and those who grasp and receive it, realize how much God has done and respond in acts of love.” Darrell Bock

Grandad Price: “The greatest sin of all is the sin of ingratitude.”
“The gratitude in our hearts is replicated in the actions of our behavior.”

-“Gratitude is expressed through behavior.”

What we give and what we do speaks of who we are: our hearts, our attitudes…

Do we give love? Do we give kind words? Do we give of our substance?

Principle of Blessing: Luke 6:38 “Give and it shall be given to you…”

“Give and it will be given to you.
A good measure,
pressed down,
shaken together,
and running over,
will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

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