Jesus was once invited to the house of a man named Simon, in a town called Nain. Simon was a Pharisee, which meant he lived strictly on the basis of Jewish law.
In those days, a number of customs were followed when one visited someone’s house. The guest would be greeted with a kiss of friendship. He would then be given perfumed oil to freshen his face and hair. His feet would also be washed.
Simon did not follow any of the customs with Jesus. He did not believe that He was a prophet. Yet, he invited Him to dine with him and Jesus took His place at the table.
Simon had also invited his friends, some more Pharisees. They all wanted to talk to Jesus over a meal and ask Him questions to find out if He really was a prophet. In fact, they wanted to test Jesus!
Suddenly, a woman entered the room. She knelt down before Jesus, crying softly. Her tears fell on His feet and she wiped them with her hair. She had ba bottle of expensive perfume. She covered Jesus’ feet with kisses and spread perfume on them with her hands.
Everyone was surprised to see the woman doing all these rituals. The woman had a bad reputation in the town. Simon thought with displeasure, ‘If Jesus is really a prophet then He should know what kind of a woman is touching Him. He should know that she is a sinner.’
Jesus could hear what Simon was thinking and said, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher, what is it?” Simon asked. Jesus always taught through parables. So, this time too, He told Simon a story
Jesus told him, “Two people were in debt to a moneylender. One of them owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other owed him fifty silver coins. Since neither of them could pay him back, the generous moneylender said that they didn’t have to pay him anything.”
“Which one of the debtors will like the moneylender more?” Jesus always liked to get the answer from the very person whom He was teaching a lesson. So, Simon answered, “I suppose it would be the one who had owed more and didn’t have to pay it back.” “You are right,” Jesus said.
Jesus then pointed towards the woman and said to Simon, “Have you noticed this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water to wash my feet, but she washed them with her tears and removed the dust from my feet with her hair.”
Jesus continued, “You did not give me the kiss of friendship. On the other hand, this woman of many sins has not stopped kissing my feet since the time she has come here.”
“She has anointed my feet with perfume, showing so much love, whereas you did not even anoint my head with oil,” Jesus said to Simon, who was now feeling ashamed of himself.
In the moneylender’s story, God was the moneylender and the woman the big debtor and Simon the small one. God forgave both the debtors. Jesus then turned to the woman and said, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you. Go and live in peace.”
“You must understand that all her sins are forgiven. That is why she has shown great love. Anyone who has been forgiven for only a little, will show only a little love,” Jesus explained to an astonished Simon.
The Pharisees were watching everything in awe. Some of the guests started mumbling to one another, “Who is this man? He has power to forgive sins!” They wondered, but did not dare to question Jesus themselves.
The people finally realized that since the sin was against Jesus, only He had the right and the power to forgive. They learnt their lesson that it was important to forgive others if they wanted to be forgiven by the Lord.