One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!’

Then Jesus answered his thoughts. ‘Simon,’ he said to the Pharisee, ‘I have something to say to you.’

‘Go ahead, Teacher,’ Simon replied.

Then Jesus told him this story: ‘A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?’

Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.’

‘That’s right,’ Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.

‘I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.’ Then Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’

The men at the table said among themselves, ‘Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?’

And Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’

– Luke 7:36-50

It’s easy to reject someone because they appear different from us. To the Pharisee who hosted Jesus in this story, the woman who anointed the Lord’s feet was a sinner… Her reputation in the town had been sullied; her past was littered with one-night stands. Nobody of high reputation, especially not this religious leader, would want to be seen with her. Yet Jesus allowed her to anoint his feet with perfume, cover them with tears and wipe them with her hair.
Why did Jesus do this? Because he looked beyond this woman’s past and saw her future. He knew she ‘loved much’ because she had been forgiven much. His parable and his sharp rebuke of the Pharisee (vv.41-47) bring his actions—and the lessons we’re to learn through them—into razor-sharp focus.
How would you have responded if you had been present that evening? Or, to be more pointed, who do you respond to people who are different from yourself–people with lighter or darker skin, people who speak with a different accent, people whose bad reputation precedes them? Remember, Jesus loved and accepted love from someone just like that. And today he wants those who follow him to show the same kind of love. Jesus looked beyond appearances. He shunned stereotypes. Just as Jesus did, look beyond such a person’s past or his or her differences. Look toward that person’s bright potential future–complete forgiveness of sins and eternity with Jesus Christ.

This devotional is an excerpt from the PK Study Bible. For more devotionals and encouraging resources, download the FREE Promise Keepers app. (Download for iOS or for Android.)