What does Luke 7:50 mean?
ESV: And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
NIV: Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
NASB: And He said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace.'
CSB: And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."
NLT: And Jesus said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace.'
KJV: And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
NKJV: Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Verse Commentary:
The story of Simon the Pharisee and the sinful woman comes on the heels of Jesus's interaction with the disciples of John the Baptist (Luke 7:18–35). Like Simon's dinner guests (Luke 7:49), John questions who Jesus really is (Luke 7:19). Jesus points out to John the same things the dinner guests likely know of: His healing miracles match the prophecies of the Messiah given in Jewish Scriptures. Jesus' last words for John are, "And blessed is the one who is not offended by me" (Luke 7:23).

The sinful woman is not offended by Jesus. At some point, prior to this meal, she heard the message of repentance and forgiveness and believed. Her sins were forgiven. In humble thanks, she showed her love and appreciation by washing and anointing Jesus' feet (Luke 7:36–38). Simon and his other guests are "offended:" they see and hear Jesus and seemingly want to reject the claims connected to His actions and words (Luke 7:39, 49). Only God can forgive sins. Jesus let a disgraced woman touch Him, so Simon assumes He is not a prophet of God (Luke 7:39), let alone God Himself.

Jesus reiterates His previous affirmation to the woman: that her sins are forgiven (Luke 7:48). He says this not for her benefit, entirely, but so it's heard by the men who deny His authority (Luke 7:49). The faith of the woman has saved her; the works of the Pharisees cannot. Finally, Jesus tells her to "go in peace." She is in peace with Him and Father God. There is no reason for her to stay with these men who will judge and condemn her. She is reconciled with God; she does not need the approval of other people any more than Jesus does.

Luke is writing to a Gentile Jesus-follower (Luke 1:1–4). His recipient was most likely in a church with Jews who accept Jesus as their Messiah. Luke also spent several years traveling with Paul. One of Paul's primary frustrations with the early church was the insistence by some Jews that Gentiles had to convert to Judaism before they could worship the Jewish Messiah. This little story shows Theophilus what Jesus thinks about the matter: salvation is by grace, through faith, not works (Ephesians 2:8–9). Works are motivated by love which results from the thankfulness of people who know their sins are forgiven (Ephesians 2:10; 1 John 1:8—2:6; 4:19–21; Galatians 5:13–25). Those who understand their forgiveness by God react in humility and love, not hedonism or arrogance.

Like many stories and parables in the Gospels, this story comes with no official closure. We're not told, explicitly, how Simon responded. And yet, the context of this passage hints that Simon did, at some point, repent and follow Jesus. This suggestion comes simply because we know his name. As carefully as Luke researched Jesus' life, he doesn't seem to include the names of non-public officials who didn't accept Christ. It's likely Simon joined the sinful woman by repenting of his sins, accepting forgiveness, and loving Jesus in response. Then, at some point, he related his perspective of the story to Luke.
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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