As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we now come to an event that many have preached about. However, few people know the whole story, because it requires a lot of digging to get to.
This is found in Luke 7:36-50. I encourage you to take the time and read through this section of Scripture to see the truth of what I’m describing.
A Pharisee had invited Jesus over to his home for a dinner in the Lord’s honor. When Jesus arrived at the house, the Pharisee neglected a few simple courtesies that were a way of life in that region of the world. He didn’t offer Jesus a kiss, water for His feet, or oil for His hair. This was a slight against the Lord.
During Jesus’ visit, a woman came in and did something unique. She knelt before Him and wept, allowing her tears to fall on His feet. Then she wiped them with her hair. Once His feet were cleaned, she opened an alabaster bottle of expensive perfume and began to anoint His feet.
As this was going on, the Pharisee was thinking that if Jesus were really a prophet, He would know how sinful this woman was. According to the Pharisee’s thinking, Jesus shouldn’t let her touch Him.
Jesus, knowing his thoughts, turned to the Pharisee and told him a parable about two men who had their debts forgiven. One had a large debt, and the other a small one.
Here’s the rest of the story that never gets told. This party was also recorded in Mark 14:1-10 and Matthew 26:6-13.
Luke calls the host of the party, a Pharisee named Simon. Mark, however, calls him Simon the Leper. That’s important because in the entire book of Mark, he only records one leper being healed by the Lord. That’s in Mark 1:40-44. Listen to what Jesus said to the man after he was healed.
Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
I believe this is the same Pharisee who gave Jesus the party in Luke’s Gospel. There are two important reasons. First, Jesus assumes that this man knows what sacrifices were required for the cleansing of leprosy. The normal outcast would probably not know this.
The second is the most obvious to me. The Lord told this man to go to the priests to be a testimony to them. A Pharisee who was diagnosed with leprosy would be well known to them. He would be going to the very priests who banned him from the temple worship.
His healing would definitely testify as to the power of the Lord. Some unknown leper would never have the influence to be a credible testimony to the company of priests in Jerusalem.
You may remember from reading this blog, that Luke also records the healing of this leper in Luke 5:12-14. Look at what happened just a few days later.
One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.
I believe that there’s only one reason Pharisees from all over Judea and Jerusalem would come all the way to Galilee, to hear Jesus. That was because one of their own number was miraculously healed of leprosy. That man’s testimony drew quite a crowd of religious leaders.
This gives us new insight. In the account of the Pharisee and the “sinful” woman, both of them owed Jesus a debt of gratitude. This is what the Lord was calling attention to in His parable.
Because of the power of the Messiah, the Pharisee had his leprosy removed while the woman had her sins removed. Now the only question is; who would thank the Lord for what He had done for them?
In my next post, we’ll see the lesson that Jesus tries to get across to the Pharisee.
Question: How do you show your thankfulness to Christ for what He’s done for you?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi