Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”
Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?”
And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
"Do you see this woman?" Depending on this woman's sinfulness, no one had seen her for years. Eyes were averted as she walked past. Children were shepherded to the other side of the street. Husbands dared not make eye contact lest their wives suspect unfaithfulness. But Jesus turned to her and saw her. He looked past her deeds and into her soul.
The righteous Simon would not have feared comparison to this woman. The proud Pharisee would have no doubt that any analysis would turn in his favor. But in the flurry of party preparation, Simon had neglected the simple but expected act of commanding a servant to wash Jesus' dusty feet. Neither had Simon greeted Jesus with a customary kiss at the door. Anointing a guest's head with olive oil would show extreme courtesy and respect, but Simon had not done this. In contrast the woman had strained her resources to lavish expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus. Simon must have been shocked as he lost when their deeds were weighed.
Jesus brings home his point - the woman's many sins were forgiven. He does not say the woman and Simon have sinned equally but acknowledges the woman's many sins. The woman heard from the Master that although she was steeped in sin, she was acceptable in his sight because she loved much.
The guests must have gasped when Jesus spoke words of forgiveness to the woman. Only God could forgive sins. Who did Jesus think he was? Ignoring the onlookers Jesus looked into her eyes, commanding her to go in peace, saved by her faith and his forgiveness. Her works for Jesus did not save her, her faith which manifested itself in works provided the avenue for her forgiveness. Any who heed the call for faith and repentance are saved.
We must guard against thinking any are unworthy of salvation. Regardless of race, politics, religion, or social class all are equally in need of forgiveness. No matter what evil a person commits, he is no further from salvation than I was the first time I lied as a child. No extremist, no terrorist, no murderer, no rapist, no one who has hurt you deeply, no prostitute, no sinner is too far to be reached by the forgiving eyes of the Savior. Will you see them? Will you share forgiveness and the love of God with them? Will you pray for the salvation of all mankind?
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9