A Roman centurion, a Jewish widow, and a woman of ill repute evoke deep emotions in Jesus. Meanwhile, the Pharisees lurk everywhere around in the shadows and they stir up Jesus’ anger. This surely is the Gospel of Luke.
A Roman centurion believes that if Jesus just says the word his slave will be healed from afar, especially because the centurion believes he is unworthy to entertain this great rabbi in his house. Jesus was “astonished” (7:9) by this level of faith yet to be encountered amongst the Jews and heals the slave.
Jesus walks up on a widow — about to hit one of the lowest rungs of their society — whose dead son is being carried out to be buried. Jesus sees this and is “very sorry for her” (7:13), so he raises the boy back to life.
A woman of “a known bad character” (7:37) barges into a dinner party at a Pharisees house and anoints his feet with costly oil and her tears of repentance. Jesus falls all over himself praising her for the hospitality she gave that Simon had not.
There are two things Jesus responds to: faith and need. Unfortunately, the more religious you are the less you need faith. Religion has a way of making us far too sure of our own righteousness. Sadly, the higher up the social ladder we are, the less we need or at least sense that we need. But when we realize how much we need, how unworthy we are of blessing, how unholy we are Jesus opens the doors of his blessings. At these moments our hearts are open to receive great love and in response show great love.
So the conclusion I draw is this: she must have been forgiven many sins! Her great love proves it! But if someone has been forgiven only a little, they will love only a little. (7:47)