Luke 7:36 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentObserve here, 1. The Pharisee's civility and our Saviour's courtesy: the Pharisee invites Christ to eat with him; Christ readily accepts the invitation, never refusing any opportunity for doing good. There is a duty of civil courtesy which we owe to the worst of men: none are so bad but we may soberly eat and drink with them; only let us take care, that if our converse do not make them better, their example may not make us worse.
Observe, 2. What an opportunity our Saviour lays hold upon in the Pharisee's house of doing good to a sinful woman; who coming to Christ bowed down in a sorrowful sight and sense of her sins, finds an hearty welcome to him, and is dismissed with comfort from him. The history runs thus: Behold, a woman in the city which was a sinner, that is, a Gentile, say some; a remarkable, notorious, and infamous sinner, say others; probably, a lewd, unclean woman: she is led in with a note of admiration, Behold a woman that was a sinner!
Learn, that to see a sensual and notorious sinner, out of true remorse of conscience to seek unto a Saviour, is a rare and wonderful sight.
Observe farther, it is not said, "behold, a woman that sinned," but, Behold, a woman that was a sinner. One action does not denominate a person a sinner, but a habit and trade of sin.
Again, it is said, Behold, a woman in the city: the place where she acted her lewdness added to the heinousness of her sin, it was in the city; the more public the offence, the greater the scandal. Sin is sin, though in the desert, where no eye sees it; but the offence is aggravated by the number and multitude of beholders.
Yet observable it is, that there is no mention made, either of the woman's name, or of the city's name; and it is both presumption and injuriousness for any to name her, whose name God has been pleased to conceal; for this is not the same woman that anointed Christ's feet. Mat 26:6-12
That was in Bethany, this in Galilee; that in the house of Simon the leper, this of Simon the Pharisee.
Observe, 3. The behavior and demeanor of this poor woman; she appears in the poster of a penitent: She stood at Christ's feet behind him, weeping.
Where note, 1. The great change wrought in this sinful woman, and the evident effects of it: her eyes, which had been formerly lamps of fire by lust, are now a holy fountain of penitential tears; her hair, which she had used as a net to catch her fond and foolish lovers, does now become a towel for her Saviour's feet.
Verily, such a heart, as has once felt the sting and smart of sin, will make plentiful expressions of the greatness of its sorrow.
Again, 2. She sits behind Christ and weeps: this proceeded, no doubt, from a holy bashfulness; she that was wont to look boldly in the face of her lovers, dares not now behold the face of her Saviour; she that was wont to end her alluring beams forth into the eyes of her wanton lovers, now casts her dejected eyes down upon the earth.
And behold the plenty of her tears, they flow in such abundance that she washes Christ's feet with them. She began to wash his feet, says the text, but we read not when she ended; never were our Saviour's feet bedewed with more precious liquor than this of remorseful tears. Thus does a holy penitent account no office too mean that is done to the honor of its Saviour.
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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
William Burkitt (1650 - 1703) was a Church of England clergyman, bible expositor, and devotional writer.
Volume 1: Matthew - John, was published in 1700.
Volume 2: Acts - Revelation was published 1703.