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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for the contents
of these Bible study outlines. However, every Bible study posted on this website has been
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April 21, 2024

SCRIPTURE: Luke 7:36-50

KEY VERSE: And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace (Luke 7:50).



The Lord shall . . . preserve me for His heavenly kingdom (2 Timothy 4:18).

Preparing for Heaven is much like going on a journey. First, you must decide you want to go there. Next, you must purchase your ticket.

But wait! How will you purchase it? Can you buy it by being a good person? Or going to church or acting religious? Or giving money or volunteering your time to help others? The Bible says none of these will suffice, because the ticket to Heaven is expensive – far too expensive for any human being to afford.

Does that mean we can never go there? No – and the reason is because Someone else has already purchased the ticket for us. That person was Jesus Christ, and the price He paid was His own blood, shed on the Cross for us.


Now He offers us the ticket to Heaven free and fully paid! Why refuse it? Why try some other way? Jesus’ invitation is still open: “Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (see Revelation 22:17).

 -- Adapted from HOPE for Each Day by Billy Graham, November 27th

INTRODUCTION: Jesus not only accepted hospitality from the publicans and sinners but also from the Pharisees.

1. They needed the Word of God too, whether they realized it or not.

2. We trust that Simon’s invitation was a sincere one and that he did not have some ulterior motive for having Jesus in his home.

3. If he did, his plan backfired, because he ended up learning more about himself than he cared to know!

I. THE REPENTANT WOMAN. (Luke 7:36-38)

36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. 37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment (Luke 7:36-38).

A. It was customary in that day for outsiders to hover around during banquets so they could watch the “important people” and hear the conversation.

Since everything was open, they could even enter the banquet hall and speak to a guest. This explains how this woman had access to Jesus. He was not behind locked doors. In that day women were not invited to banquets.

Jewish rabbis did not speak to women in public, nor did they eat with them in public. A woman of this type would not be welcomed in the house of Simon the Pharisee. Her sins are not named, but we get the impression she was a woman of the streets with a bad reputation.

B. Do not confuse this event with a similar one involving Mary of Bethany (John 12:1-8), and do not identify this woman with Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2) as many continue to do.

The woman admitted she was a sinner and gave evidence that she was a repentant sinner. If you check a harmony of the Gospels, you will discover that just before this event, Jesus had given the gracious invitation, “Come unto Me … and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28-30). Perhaps that was when the woman turned from her sin and trusted the Savior. Her tears, her humble attitude, and her expensive gift all spoke of a changed heart.

II. THE CRITICAL HOST. (Luke 7:39-43)

 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged (Luke 7:39-43).

A. Simon was embarrassed, both for himself and for his guests.

People had been saying that Jesus was a great Prophet (Luke 7:16), but He certainly was not exhibiting much prophetic discernment if He allowed a sinful woman to anoint His feet! He must be a fraud.

B. Simon’s real problem was blindness: he could not see himself, the woman, or the Lord Jesus.

It was easy for him to say, “She is a sinner!” but impossible for him to say, “I am also a sinner!” (see Luke 18:9-14) Jesus proved that He was indeed a prophet by reading Simon’s thoughts and revealing his needs.

C. The parable does not deal with the amount of sin in a person’s life but the awareness of that sin in his heart.

How much sin must a person commit to be a sinner? Simon and the woman were both sinners. Simon was guilty of sins of the spirit, especially pride, while the woman was guilty of sins of the flesh (see 2 Cor. 7:1). Her sins were known, while Simon’s sins were hidden to everyone except God. And both of them were bankrupt and could not pay their debt to God. Simon was just as spiritually bankrupt as the woman, only he did not realize it.

D. Forgiveness is a gift of God’s grace; the debt was paid in full by the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

The word frankly means “graciously and freely.” The woman accepted God’s free offer of salvation and expressed her love openly. Simon rejected that offer and remained unforgiven. He was not only blind to himself, but he was blind to the woman and to his honored guest!


44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace (Luke 7:44-50).

A. The woman was guilty of sins of commission, but Simon was guilty of sins of omission.

He had not been a gracious host to the Lord Jesus. (For a contrast, see Abraham in Gen. 18:1-8.) Everything that Simon neglected to do, the woman did—and she did it better!

B. There are two errors we must avoid as we interpret our Lord’s words.

 First, we must not conclude that this woman was saved by her tears and her gift. Jesus made it clear that it was her faith alone that saved her (Luke 7:50), for no amount of good works can pay for salvation (Titus 3:4-7).

Second, nor should we think that lost sinners are saved by love, either God’s love for them or their love for God. God loves the whole world (John 3:16), yet the whole world is not saved. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Grace is love that pays a price, and that price was the death of the Son of God on the cross.

C. Jesus did not reject either the woman’s tears or her gift of ointment, because her works were the evidence of her faith.

“Faith without works is dead” (see James 2:14-26). We are not saved by faith plus works; we are saved by a faith that leads to works. This anonymous woman illustrates the truth of Galatians 5:6, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

D. How did the woman know that her sins were forgiven? Jesus told her!

1. How do we know today that we have been forgiven? God tells us so in His Word (the Bible). Here are just a few verses to consider:

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18).

I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. 26 Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified (Isaiah 43:25-26}.

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:6-7).

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses (Acts 13:38-39).

Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin (Romans 4:7-8).

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32)

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more (Hebrews 8:12).

2. Once you understand the meaning of God’s grace you have no trouble receiving His free and full forgiveness and rejoicing in it.

3. Of course, the legalistic critics at the dinner were shocked when Jesus said, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven.” By saying this, Jesus was claiming to be God! (see Luke 5:21) But He is God, and He died for the sins that she committed. His words of forgiveness were not cheap words; they cost Jesus dearly on the cross.

E. How was this woman saved?

She repented of her sins (i.e., she quit her sins) and put her faith in Jesus Christ. How did she know she was truly forgiven? She had the assurance of His word. What was the proof of her salvation? Her love for Christ expressed in sacrificial devotion to Him. For the first time in her life, she had peace with God (Luke 7:50). Literally it reads, “Go into peace,” for she had moved out of the sphere of enmity toward God and was now enjoying peace with God (Romans 5:1; 8:7-8).

F. When Jesus healed the centurion’s servant, it was a great miracle.

An even greater miracle was His raising the widow’s son from the dead. But in this chapter, the greatest miracle of all was His saving this woman from her sins and making her a new person. The miracle of salvation has to be the greatest miracle of all, for it meets the greatest need, brings the greatest results (and they last forever), and cost the greatest price.

G. Simon was blind to the woman and blind to himself.

He saw her past, but Jesus saw her future. I wonder how many rejected sinners have found salvation through the testimony of this woman in Luke’s Gospel. She encourages us to believe that Jesus can take any sinner and make him or her into a child of God.

H. Know that God’s forgiveness is not automatic; we can REJECT His grace if that is our decision.

In 1830, a man named George Wilson was arrested for mail theft, the penalty for which was hanging. After a time, President Andrew Jackson gave Wilson a pardon but he refused to accept it! The authorities were puzzled: should Wilson be freed or hanged?

They consulted Chief Justice John Marshall, who handed down this decision: “A pardon is a slip of paper, the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged.” (He made a bad decision!)

If you have not accepted God’s pardon, now is the time to trust Christ and be saved!


(Read Luke 7:11-17)
By David Jeremiah

When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep” (Luke 7:13).

1. Her tears blurred her vision. While we do not know if she saw Jesus, she did not reach out to Him: her son was dead and needed life. She knew Jesus was a healer but what could He do for her? In the midst of her grief, Jesus saw her and He had compassion. Instead of skipping to the happy end of this story, let’s stop here: Jesus had compassion.

2. This simple phrase (“Jesus had compassion’) is found throughout each of the Gospels. An integral part of Jesus’ character is His compassion. Sometimes we find it easier to pray for others than for ourselves. We subconsciously wonder, why would God help me? We forget Jesus’ compassion when we get stuck in this mindset. The life-changing truth is that Jesus is good and He encourages us to ask Him for help. He never ran from disease, death, or wretchedness. While we may not understand why certain prayers are answered quickly while others hang painfully in the air, we can be assured that He sees us and cares.

3. “There was no identity crisis in the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus knew who He was. He knew where He had come from, and why He was here. And He knew where He was going. And when you are that liberated, then you can serve” -- Howard Hendricks.

 -- Adapted from a David Jeremiah devotion, Turning Point, July 4.

CONCLUSION: What do we learn when we study Luke 7:36-50?

ANSWER: We learn that we can’t “earn” our forgiveness. (1) We all need God's forgiveness, (2) Forgiveness is the gracious gift of God, and (3) Forgiveness results in a changed life.

QUESTIONS: Where. do you and I find ourselves in this passage?

1. Are we more like Simon or are we like the woman?

2, Have we experienced the life-changing forgiveness that comes only from placing our faith in Jesus Christ?

3. Do you know the freedom and peace that comes from a personal relationship with the Lord?

4. If not, why don’t you trust Christ today?

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: "Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last." --  C.T. Studd


REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the Moody Bible Commentary, J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible Commentary: (www.ttb.org), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: (http://www.intouch.org/), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, Dr. Tony Evans (https://tonyevans.org/), KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: (http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Dr. Robert Jeffress’ Pathway to Victory (https://ptv.org/), Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook (www.sermonnotebook.org), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, Radio Bible Class Ministries (http://rbc.org/), selected illustrations and other references.



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