The Children's Bible
Jesus Makes Even Wrong-doers His Friends
hen Jesus went out again beside the Sea of Galilee; and all the crowd came to him, and he taught them. As he passed along he saw Levi, the son of AlphÊus, sitting at the house where taxes were collected, and he said to him, "Come with me." So Levi arose and followed him.
Now while Jesus was eating dinner in Levi's house, many tax-gatherers and sinners sat down with Jesus and his disciples. The scribes and Pharisees, seeing this, said to his disciples, "Does he eat with tax-gatherers and sinners?" On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "Not those who are well, but those who are sick have need of a physician. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."
At another time one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to dine with him. So Jesus entered the Pharisee's house and sat down at the table. In the town was a wicked woman who, when she heard that Jesus was sitting at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster jar of perfume. She stood behind at his feet, weeping; and as her tears began to wet his feet, she wiped them with her hair. And she tenderly kissed his feet and poured the perfume over them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know about the woman who is touching him, for she is a sinner."
Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have a word to say to you." He replied, "Say it, Master." "There were two men who owed a certain money-lender some silver: one owed him five hundred silver pieces and the other fifty. Neither of them was able to pay anything; so he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him the more?" Simon answered, "I suppose the man who owed the most." Jesus said to him, "You have decided rightly."
Turning to the woman, Jesus said to Simon, "You see this woman? When I came into your house, you gave me no water for my feet; but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she, since I came in, has not ceased tenderly to kiss my feet. You did not pour any oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I say to you, her sins, though they be many, are forgiven, for she has loved much. He to whom little is forgiven, loves little."
Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." And the other guests began to say to themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins?" But he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go and be at peace."