Background: A honoured guest was welcomed in those days with a welcome kiss and. After
that his feet were washed and anointed with olive oil. The Pharisees were people who wanted to live according to God’s will. They also separated themselves from sinners. The woman in our text was apparently selling herself as a prostitute. She must have heard that Jesus was eating together with sinners, which other religious teachers never did.
What might have been the reasons that had driven this woman to sell herself?
How much do you think the woman knew about true love?
Mention as many differences as possible between the prostitute in our text and Simon the Pharisee.
Take a look at the Background information and think about the possible reasons why Simon didn’t give Jesus the welcome of a guest of honor?
Why do you think Simon called Jesus into his home in the first place?
Verse 37. A bottle of alabaster full of perfume cost quite a bit of money. Women would carry such a bottle of perfume with a string around their necks.
Think about how the woman got through Simon’s outer gate into the yard, then through the door into the dining room without being stopped by someone?
For what purpose did the woman come to Simon’s house, even though she knew she would be stared at and criticized there?
What made the woman hope that Jesus would not turn her down?
Verse 38. In that culture, women were usually wearing a scarf on their heads. They were not supposed to take it off and show their hair in front of strange men.
Why didn’t the woman say anything to Jesus during the entire visit?
How many tears do you think are needed to wet a grown up manís feet?
What was the woman crying about?
When do you think was the last time this woman had cried from the bottom of her heart?
Why didnít the woman try to dry Jesus’ feet with her scarf, but with her hair?
What did the woman want to say to Jesus by her behavior?
How did the woman understand that Jesus didn’t hate her?
99 men out of a hundred would have been embarrassed in such a situation. Why wasn’t Jesus embarrassed at all?
What do Simon’s thoughts reveal about him?
Verses 40-43. Jesus shows that he has read Simon’s thoughts and tells him a small parable. 500 denarii corresponds to a salary for one and a half years, and 50 denarii to a salary of one and a half months.
How much would the average salary for one and a half years and for one and a half months be in our currency?
Who does Jesus mean by the banker and his two debtors?
The debt that the woman owed God is self-evident, but what about Simon? What did his debt to God consist of? (How do we see that Simon did not obey the commandment of love?)
Why is it so much easier for us to pay attention other people’s sins than our own?
If you owe God for every mean word, deed, neglect, and lack of love, how much do you think you owe him now? (You may also answer quietly in your heart.)
What might the woman have thought about these words of Jesus? What about Simon?
Which came first: faith or love? Did the woman believe first that her sins were forgiven or did she love Jesus first and believe in forgiveness of her sins only after that? (Which answer does the little parable in verses 41-42 give to this question?)
Verse 49. Jesus’ words amazed the people because the Jews could receive forgiveness only when offering an animal sacrifice in the temple.
What happened to the debt that a woman owed to God for her sins? What about the debt that Simon owed him for his lack of love?
In what currency did Jesus pay the debt that all the people on earth owe to God for their sins?
If Simon had died that day, would he have gone to heaven? Justify your answer.
What did Jesus want to tell to both the woman and all the others in the room with these words?
How do you think the womanís life changed from now on?
Glad tidings: If you bring the debt of your sins to Jesus (say, at the communion table), he will say to you the same words that he said to the woman of our text: “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (verses 48 and 50). Only he can say these words because he has paid all your debt with his own blood.