|James Tissot's "Le parfum de Madeleine" (between 1886 and 1894) via Wikipedia|
As this woman knelt weeping at Jesus’ feet, the room full of people is riveted. What kind of man allows such a woman to do that? If he really is who he says he is, he would know what kind of person is touching him, Simon thought to himself.
Jesus immediately hones in on Simon and tells him a story: A creditor had two debtors. One owed a full day’s wage and the other a tenth of that. Neither of them could pay off their debt, so the creditor wiped the slate clean for both of them. “Now which of them will love him more?” Jesus asks.
“I suppose,” Simon relents, “the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.”
Jesus approves—but then turns his attention back to the woman. “Do you really see this woman, Simon? When I entered your house, you didn’t give me water for my feet—but she has bathed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss on the cheek, but she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet. You didn’t anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with this ointment.”
Then Jesus brings it home: “Her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven loves little.”
“Your sins are forgiven,” he tells the woman, ignoring the disgruntled whispers around him. “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
(my paraphrase from the NIV, NRSV and The Message)