Jesus essentially said to the religious leaders of His day, "Prostitutes and tax collectors are going to get into the kingdom of heaven before you" (see Matthew 21:28-31). Prostitution is condemned in Scripture as immoral. Yet two prostitutes are in the genealogy of Christ, and one of them, Rahab, is named as an example of faith in Hebrews 11.
Luke 7 says that when Jesus sat down to eat in the home of a Pharisee named Simon, "a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil" (vv. 37-38).
When a female was given the title of "sinner" in that culture, it meant one thing: she was a prostitute. So why did this woman come to the house of a Pharisee? Because Jesus was there. I think she thought, If I'm ever going to find love and forgiveness and hope, it's going to be from that Man.
When Simon the Pharisee saw her barge in and break down in remorse and repentance, he said to himself, "This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner" (v. 39).
So Jesus spoke up and told a story about two debtors, one who owed five hundred denarii and one who owed fifty. Neither one could pay their creditor, but he forgave them both. Jesus asked, "'Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?' Simon answered and said, 'I suppose the one whom he forgave more.' And He said to him, 'You have rightly judged…. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little'" (vv. 42-43, 47).
Jesus was saying, "Simon, these two debtors are you and this woman. She's a $100,000 sinner, but you're a $10,000 sinner. Her sin may be an outward sin of passion, but yours is an inward sin of pride, and neither of you can pay the debt you owe to God." Then Jesus turned to the woman and said, "Your sins are forgiven…. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace" (vv. 48, 50).
We've all flunked the righteousness test, and God doesn't grade on a curve (see Romans 3:23). Whether you're a $100,000 sinner or a really wonderful $10,000 sinner, all of us have a debt we cannot pay. But Jesus paid a debt He did not owe. Because of that, every single human being can be forgiven by God.
This woman was very aware that she was a great sinner and Jesus was a great Savior, so she sought that forgiveness from Him. And she walked away that day knowing that God has a big eraser when it comes to sin. Thank the Lord we can know the same thing today.