I like the fact that Jesus will eat anywhere he is invited. There is something very simple about that principle. He will go to the home of an adoring disciple or a skeptical religious leader. Since Jesus does it, we must do the same.
We are not told of the circumstances of Simon's invitation. But, we are told he is a Pharisee. As has already been recorded, the Pharisees were so focused on their esteemed community position and their rules, they did not appreciate Jesus' ministry. In fact, they so did not like Jesus that some conspired to shut Jesus up by killing him. Would Simon go that far? Not sure. He could be like Nicodemus who met Jesus in the middle of the night. What is clear from Jesus is that he didn't receive a warm welcome from Simon.
We are not told many specifics about the woman either. We only know that she had sin (rebellion against God) in her life and that when she heard where Jesus was, she immediately went to him and demonstrated by her actions that she knew who Jesus is. Isn't it interesting we have now seen two people who demonstrated great excitement once they learned who Jesus is who didn't have physical but deep spiritual infirmities and they are both women? Please don't try to tell me that Jesus or the recorders of his ministry had a low regard for women.
We learn in this passage that religious people are not warm people. For Simon's coldness was not only demonstrated by the way he welcomed Jesus into his home, but by the way he regarded the woman. Apparently, he knew the woman and he knew her sin. Was his reaction, "I am so thankful that this needy woman will find the help she needs and maybe this Jesus, who is the friend of sinners, can provide what she needs." Sadly, no. In fact, he projects his repulsion toward this woman onto Jesus. He thinks that if Jesus knew this woman as well as he did, Jesus wouldn't even let her touch him.
Jesus then addresses both of them in his leading question. Does Jesus' answer mean that the religious leader had little to be forgiven for? I do believe that the woman did have much to be forgiven and delivered from, but I'm not sure Simon had little in comparison. Look at the lack of love he had for people. Surely his unwillingness to love his neighbour as himself is a grievous sin.
What caused this sin is what Jesus addresses. The woman knew of her need. Simon did not. Simon had it all figured out, or so he thought. Simon thought he did not need forgiveness. Simon thought he was fine in the eyes of God. But his folly is demonstrated in how he welcomed this man of God into his home. You would think that a man after God's own heart would lovingly welcome one of God's servants into his home.
How and who we welcome into our lives and homes says a lot about our true understanding of our Father in Heaven and the one he sent. The woman knew who Jesus is. That he is her Saviour, the Messiah. She demonstrated her faith through a tremendous outpouring of generosity and affection toward Jesus.
Jesus forgives her sin and tells her in another astonishing statement, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." How do we react to the presence of Jesus? Do we welcome him or regard him with suspicion? Jesus is the way to have a right relationship with our Father in heaven, to find peace. What do you have faith in?