Luke 7:36-50 NLT “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.”
The sinful woman with the alabaster box is a story Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each tell. In Matthew 26:6-13, Matthew being a former tax collector tells the woman’s story and focuses on the money spent in her use of the oil on Jesus’ feet. In Mark 14:3-9, Mark, being an apostle designed to build up the church’s faith, focused on the deeds the woman did in helping spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Luke, the physician, focused on the healing salvation and forgiveness the woman received. In John 12:1-8, John tells the same story as the others, yet he is the only one that refers to her as “Mary” instead of “the woman”. John the closest disciple of Jesus knew enough to call the attendees by name because he was familiar with Jesus’ inner circle. Although these disciples all had different angles, they all told the same story of a sinner saved by grace. They spread the story of a woman who was used and then refused by men, but who was totally embraced, accepted, and forgiven by God.