A Pharisee invited Jesus to dinner. When he arrived, he took his place at the table with the others. All of a sudden a woman sppeared with a jar of ointment. She was well-known to be a sinner. Imagine the scene. The woman with the jar of ointment stands behind Jesus, weeping all the while. She comes before him on her knees and bathes the feet of Jesus with her tears, drying his feet with her hair. She anoints Jesus’ feet with the precious salve, which would have been a costly gift.
Their host queries Jesus that he would allow such a reportedly sinful woman to touch him. In his inimitable way, Jesus turns the opportunity into a teaching lesson. He tells a story about debt and debtors.
Two debtors owed the same creditor widely different amounts, but neither could pay up. The creditor chooses to cancel the debts of both clients. Jesus turns to Simon Peter to ask him which one of the debtors will love the creditor more. When Simon Peter responds, as Jesus knew he would, that the debtor who owed more would love the creditor more, Jesus delivers an unforgettable lesson to his Pharisee host about hospitality and humility.
The much-maligned woman had tended to Jesus from the time she came in. She anointed his dusty, well-traveled feet with healing balm and her tears of repentance and love.
Jesus noted that his host provided no such hospitable welcome to him. He proclaims how the woman who had sinned much was forgiven much as she had atoned by her actions. “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
The loving act of Jesus to forgive the woman spurned many loving acts among the people he served as he continued his travels. Those he helped assisted him on his journey and became co-ministers with Jesus.