What does Luke 7:48 mean?
ESV: And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
NIV: Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
NASB: And He said to her, 'Your sins have been forgiven.'
CSB: Then he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
NLT: Then Jesus said to the woman, 'Your sins are forgiven.'
KJV: And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
NKJV: Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Verse Commentary:
A sinful woman's loving display to Jesus was a sign she has repented. Despite her identity as a "sinner," despite the fact she is most likely ceremonially unclean, she had already been forgiven before she walked through Simon's door (Luke 7:44–47). Here, Jesus is stating what has already happened. The woman's great acts of love are evidence that she is forgiven and knows it. Jesus says the words for the benefit of Simon and the others in the room (Luke 7:49).

Many people in the New Testament were healed without having a conversation with Jesus (Luke 6:19), Peter (Acts 5:14–16), or Paul (Acts 19:11–12). This current story evokes comparison to the woman with an issue of blood (Luke 8:43–48). That woman could have been healed and then snuck away, but Jesus wouldn't let her. He stopped the crowd so that He could see her face, tell her He loved her, praise her faith, and announce to the crowd that she is now clean.

Jesus' words here are similar. Simon has already dismissed the woman as a sinner (Luke 7:39). We don't know what that means, but she has a bad reputation in town. Jesus now announces what had already taken place: her sins are forgiven. She wears righteousness as a gift of God not earned by deeds (Ephesians 2:8–9), like those Simon has devoted his life to (Romans 3:20).

The guests at the banquet are shocked when Jesus announces that her sins are forgiven (Luke 7:49). He adds: "Your faith has saved you" (Luke 7:50). She already knows this; it's why she's there. But to hear Jesus say it in a room filled with judgmental men makes any disgrace they may throw her way completely meaningless.
Verse Context:
Luke 7:39–50 places Simon the Pharisee at center stage. Unlike the centurion (Luke 7:1–10), Simon misreads his standing in comparison to the greatness of Jesus. He's somewhere between the humble who accept Jesus and the arrogant who flatly reject Him (Luke 7:29–34). Simon has invited Jesus to dinner, given Him the minimum hospitality, and silently judged Him. This contrasts with the repentant woman who interrupts dinner to bless Jesus (Luke 7:36–38). Jesus goes where Simon doesn't expect: Simon understands neither forgiveness nor love.
Chapter Summary:
Luke 7 presents a chiasm: a set of themes mirrored around a reflection point. The humble centurion (Luke 7:1–10) contrasts the legalistic Pharisee (Luke 7:39–50). The widow of Nain (Luke 7:11–17) and the sinful women (Luke 7:36–38) have nothing to offer but gratitude for Jesus' blessings. In the center are John the Baptist and his disciples who struggle to trust that Jesus is worth following (Luke 7:18–23), then the sinners who do choose to follow Jesus and the religious leaders who refuse (Luke 7:24–35).
Chapter Context:
Luke 7 continues Jesus' mission primarily to the people of Galilee expressed as a series of pointed events and teachings punctuated by calls to follow Him. He has finished teaching the rigors of discipleship (Luke 6:17–45) and invited the crowd to place their faith in Him (Luke 6:46–49). Here, Luke describes different reactions to Jesus' miracles and message. Next, Jesus will reveal the mechanics of and reactions to His call (Luke 8:4–21) before showing His great authority over nature, demons, sickness, and worldly powers (Luke 8:22—9:17). After a final call to the disciples to deepen their faith (Luke 9:18–50), Jesus will turn toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51—19:27).
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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