Simon the Pharisee – Luke 7

Verses 36-50 of Luke chapter 6 prove again that among the hundreds to thousands of Pharisees who lived during the time of Jesus on earth, there were some whose minds were not completely closed, nor totally blind to the truth. One of them named Simon asked Jesus to eat with him. This in itself was a big deal because dining with someone else was viewed very much as an acceptance of that person, as well as of their behavior. Even though this was a very public dinner (as shown in verse 49), having Jesus at his own table was significant. Other Pharisees were very likely much taken aback at Simon for doing this. And so, Simon had invited Jesus into his house to “recline at table.”

anoints Jesus' feet in the house of Simon The Pharisee

anoints Jesus’ feet in the house of Simon The Pharisee

The appearance of the woman in Simon’s house, who would wash the feet of Jesus, may seem strange, but these large dinners attracted many types of people, some for their own entertainment value. There are some misconceptions about this woman, though, as well as some outright falsehoods that have been virtually perpetuated as fact. First, this is not the same woman who anointed Jesus in Matthew 26:6-12, Mark 14:3-8, or John 12:1-8. The woman in those accounts in Bethany was Mary the sister of Martha, and though the name of the man whose house they were in was Simon, it was Simon the leper, not Simon the Pharisee.

Secondly, this woman in Luke is unnamed to us. She is not Mary Magdalene, nor does the Scripture here in Luke say that she was a prostitute. Jesus did say that her sins were many, and that is a possibility, but we do not know. But again, she is not Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene is mentioned in chapter 8, but it is in a different setting with other women, and in a different context. We’ll have more to say about that when we come to that chapter. But there is no reason to think she or any of the other women mentioned in chapter 8 are this woman. In fact, at the end of chapter 7, this woman is told to “go in peace.” It is likely that she did just that.

The real point of the events of the verses is the lesson that Jesus gave to Simon about sin and forgiveness, as well as the notice that others paid to Jesus claiming the authority to forgive sins, which He obviously did have. The lesson Jesus gives Simon is that nobody’s sins are too numerous nor too great to be forgiven, and that those who have the most sin in their lives are likely more grateful for that forgiveness – the chance to begin anew.

Time and again, the Bible gives us reason to remember that we should never “write anyone off.” Nobody else’s sins are worse that our own in God’s eyes, nor are they any less deserving of forgiveness.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  

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