Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, “Do you see this woman?” – Luke 7:44 (The Message)
We get no better x-ray of Jesus’ heart than this scene.
A prostitute kneels before him. She cries profusely and, having used money from her profession, bought oil and anoints his feet, a sign of care and respect.
His host, Simon the Pharisee, responds as any self-respecting, self-righteous holy person would: He said to himself, “If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him.” (7:39)
Jesus answers by giving a parable with the punchline, “The more you’re forgiven, the greater your gratitude.” Hence, the prostitute is crying profusely while the upright Pharisee has a very dry face…and cold heart.
Doesn’t it speak volumes about Jesus that he looks intently at the woman while talking to Simon? He can’t take his eyes off her. He knows her pain, suffering, humiliation, loneliness, and guilt. In an amazing, bold act of sorrow and hope, she’s come to him. She hasn’t asked for forgiveness, but the fact that he can’t takes his eyes off her says that he’s already given it.
The world views the church as buildings filled with Simons, the righteous people quicker to judge and slower to understand.
But then there’s Jesus. It’s like he knows he doesn’t need to judge. Judging takes care of itself. He only needs to keep looking into the woman’s face so she can see the compassion and grace embedded there.
Jesus calls us back to what we must be about, individually and as the church:
“Do you see—really see—this woman?”