Luke 7:49

ESV Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?”
NIV The other guests began to say among themselves, 'Who is this who even forgives sins?'
NASB And then those who were reclining at the table with Him began saying to themselves, 'Who is this man who even forgives sins?'
CSB Those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins? "
NLT The men at the table said among themselves, 'Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?'
KJV And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?

What does Luke 7:49 mean?

When Jesus told the sinful woman her sins were forgiven, He revealed that it was He, Himself, who had forgiven them (Luke 7:48). The other dinner guests don't approve.

The host of the banquet, Simon, personally invited Jesus. He must know Jesus' reputation as a miracle worker (Luke 7:14–17, 21). Yet he provided the minimum of courtesies when Jesus arrived, revealing that Jesus is not an honored guest (Luke 7:44–46). Jesus' interactions with the woman inspire Simon's judgmental doubt that Jesus is even a prophet (Luke 7:39).

Now, Jesus has compared Simon's and the woman's attentions in an interesting way. Jesus says the woman washed and anointed His feet because she loves Him. And she loves Him because she knows her many sins are forgiven. Simon's minimal attentions to Jesus show that if he loves Him, it's just a little. And if he only loves Jesus a little, it's because his righteous lifestyle as a Pharisee has led him to underestimate God's forgiveness. The mercy shown by God is extraordinary, no matter how much or how little sin is involved.

The guests' question here is important. Jesus has made it clear that He did not just announce that the woman's sins were forgiven—as any prophet of God could. He forgave her—as only God could. This is a much greater offense than a sinful woman disrupting a dinner party. While meaningful, the question is not unique. It's been asked by other Pharisees (Luke 5:20–21). Jesus' disciples will later wonder at Jesus' command over winds and water (Luke 8:25). Herod Antipas will wonder at who Jesus is (Luke 9:7–9). John the Baptist has questioned whether Jesus is the Messiah or if another is coming (Luke 7:19). Who is this Jesus?

The inquiry is vital; it should be asked by every one of us. Who do we believe Jesus is? Do we believe He can forgive sins? It's the most important question of anyone's life.
What is the Gospel?
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