Such Great Faith

This reading begins with one that doesn’t have any direct relationship with Jesus but sends for his help because he has no other hope. This centurion, a man of war, has come to understand the power of words spoken under authority. Jesus responds in Luke 7:9 “he marveled at him, and … said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith!”. Then we find Jesus with a Pharisee, one who would describe himself as holy before God. Yet, as he sits with Jesus and guests for a meal in his home, he is judgmental, not only condemning a woman who comes to see Jesus, but condemning Jesus himself because Jesus did not rebuke her. Jesus, the good shepherd, the great teacher, presents an illustration and then lists the things this Pharisee has not done comparing him to what this “sinner” has done. She has not only demonstrated common courtesy but has demonstrated it with sincere love for Jesus. 

Such Great Faith

Luke 7:1-10
Jesus has just finished what is called “The Sermon on the Plain” in Luke 6:17-49 and in Luke 7:1 “he entered into Capernaum“ and in the city was in Luke 7:2 “a certain centurion’s slave, who was esteemed by him, was sick and was about to die“. This centurion clearly had a strong and good relationship with the Jewish leaders of the city because in Luke 7:3 “he sent Jewish elders to him, asking him that he would come and cure his slave“. These elders not only went to Jesus, in Luke 7:4-5 “they began imploring him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy that you grant this for him, 5 because he loves our nation and he himself built the synagogue for us.” In the world, this is the way people operate, you do something for me and I owe you. Their actions are based on the scale of equal favors. Many people come to God this way, but this is not how God’s economy works. God pours out goodness because that is who he is.

Jesus does respond, he does go with them in Luke 7:6. When the centurion heard he was coming, he sent to Jesus saying in Luke 7:6-7 “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy that you should come … say the word and my slave must be healed“. Jesus reacted to these words, but he didn’t respond to “I am not worthy”. What Jesus responded to was “say the word and my slave must be healed”. In fact, in Luke 7:9 “he marveled at him”. Jesus had been teaching in the Synagogues and the people had been pressing to have Jesus touch them so they could be healed in

Luke 6:19 “And the whole crowd was seeking to touch him, because power was going out from him and healing them all“.

This centurion didn’t need Jesus to come and intervene and touch his servant. This centurion understood that Jesus had the authority to heal and that authority was based on the decree, the word spoken by him, the Lord. These things that Jesus demonstrated were not only for the people in his presence, but his authority is for all time and this same healing power is available to us today.

Acts 10:38 “Jesus of Nazareth—how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him“.

Young man, I say to you, get up!

Luke 7:11-17

The Blind Receive Sight, The Lame Walk, The Deaf Hear; Dead are Raised

Luke 7:18-26

The Son of Man Has Come

Luke 7:27-35 

Anointing With Perfumed Oil

Luke 7:36-40

Anointing With Perfumed Oil

Two people encounter Jesus as he is invited to eat. The first, in Luke 7:36 “one of the Pharisees” and this was the one that had “asked him to eat with him” and “The Pharisee’s invitation to dine in Luke 11:37 is likely the midday meal. Greek literature outside the NT uses the verb for either the noon meal or breakfast”.1

The second was in Luke 7:37 “a woman in the town who was a sinner”. This woman wasn’t invited, but “when she learned that he (Jesus) was dining in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of perfumed oil”. While “Uninvited guests at a banquet in the Palestinian world were not an unusual feature, although the presence of a sinner (v. 39; she was probably a prostitute) may have sparked some surprise”.2

Luke’s account doesn’t indicate that this woman had any previous encounter with Jesus, but she was intent on seeing him, and came prepared with a gift. We can’t know exactly how this happened, but it seems that as she came into the room and came near Jesus she began to weep and “began to wash, &c.—to “water with a shower.” (as) The tears, which were quite involuntary, poured down in a flood upon His naked feet, as she bent down to kiss them; and deeming them rather fouled than washed by this, she hastened to wipe them off with the only towel she had, the long tresses of her own hair, “with which slaves were wont to wash their masters’ feet” [STIER]”.3 This would have been a very natural response when one comes into the presence of holiness and recognizes the pain of sin in their life.

The Pharisee though, can only see this woman, in Luke 7:38 “she is a sinner”. And that was true, but he goes one more step and judges Jesus “to himself saying, If this man were a prophet …”. How often do people judge and condemn and discard those that don’t meet their standards. And this man a Pharisee who would judge himself among God’s set apart and most holy. 

Your Sins are Forgiven

Luke 7:41-50
Jesus does not confront Simon directly as many of us might when someone is wrong in their assessment. Simon’s thinking was wrong, but no one reacts well to being told they are wrong. Jesus instead demonstrates for us the role of the god shepherd, the teacher who brings Simon close to himself and presents an example that Simon will easily understand and agree with. Jesus says in Luke 7:41 “There were two debtors …”. Simon answers and Jesus responds in Luke 7:43 “You have judged correctly”. Jesus has created a right understanding, a right standard for Simon to use and now turns to the events that have just transpired.

Still speaking directly to Simon, Jesus says in Luke 7:44 “Simon, ‘Do you see this woman?’” Simons focus had been on her so Jesus secures Simons full attention by pointing to her but then says “I entered your (Simon’s) house. You (Simon) did not give me … but she …”. Jesus comtinues in Luke 7:45 “You did not … but from the time I entered, she has not stopped …” and in Luke 7:46 “You did not … but she …”. Jesus has used evidence, as in a legal argument, to present the actions of both of them and then closes by saying in Luke 7:47 “For this reason I tell you” and note that Jesus is still talking directly to Simon, “her sins—which were many—have been forgiven”.

Now, Jesus turns to the woman in Luke 7:48, 49 “And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven … Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Note: These actions Jesus described were common courtesy. Rinsing the dust off the feet of a guest, greeting with a kiss, and “The custom of anointing guests with oil is an ancient one among nations of the East. Olive oil alone was often used, but sometimes it was mixed with spices. Simon the Pharisee was accused of lack of hospitality because he failed to anoint JESUS (Luke 7:46). This would indicate the custom was quite common in the days of the Gospel accounts. David immortalized the custom when he wrote his shepherd psalm and exclaimed: “Thou anointest my head with oil” (Psalm 23:5) Travelers in the Orient in recent times have discovered that this practice of anointing still exists in some quarters”.4

Study Verses

Today’s Reading

  • Luke 7:1-50


  • 1. Long, P. J. (2014). Eating and Drinking. D. Mangum, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, & R. Hurst (Eds.), Lexham Theological Wordbook. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • 2. Schreiner, T. R. (1995). Luke. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, pp. 815–816). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  • 3. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 105). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  • 4. Manners And Customs of Bible Lands.