Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.”
Such great faith. The centurion had a revelation of Jesus that was greater than most. “Just say the word.”
It’s a mistake to conclude that the size of our faith matters or that we need more faith before we can access the grace of God. Even a small mustard-seed amount of faith is enough to move mountains (Matt. 17:20). We don’t need more faith as much as we need a deeper revelation of God’s love for us. It is his goodness that inspires us to trust him.
When the men came to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, to ask, ‘Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?’”
John the Baptist; see entry for Mark 1:4.
And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.
The gospel refers to the gospel of Christ or the gospel of God or the gospel of the kingdom. These are all different labels for the gospel of grace. See entry for The Gospel.
When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John.
Baptized… baptism. The original words imply total immersion. See entry for Baptism.
But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.
Not having been baptized. The ceremonial washing of hands was an old covenant ritual, but there was nothing that looked like water baptism. When John started baptizing people in the River Jordan, the religious leaders thought it was strange and refused to participate (John 1:25).
“The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’
(a) The Son of Man; see entry for Matt. 8:20.
(b) Sinners. If the original language did not lack punctuation marks, the word “sinners” would be in quotation marks. Religious people called them sinners; Jesus called them lost sheep (Matt. 10:6, 15:24).
“When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?”
(a) They were unable to repay. Like the debtors in the story, we are unable to save ourselves.
(b) He graciously forgave them both. What a wonderful picture of the free grace and forgiveness that God extends to us (Eph. 1:7). Jesus died for us while we were sinners, and he forgave us while we were sinners (Col. 2:13). Before you repented, confessed, or did anything, the Lamb of God carried away all your sins – past, present, and future. See entry for Luke 23:34.
(c) Forgave. The original word for forgave (charizomai) means to show favor or kindness. It’s closely related to the word that means grace (charis). In context, the word means unconditional forgiveness (see also Luke 7:43, 2 Cor. 2:7, 10, 12:13, Eph. 4:32, Col. 2:13, 3:13). This word is sometimes translated as give, gave, or given (Luke 7:21, Rom. 8:32, Php. 1:29, 2:9) reinforcing the new covenant revelation that forgiveness is a gift to be received by faith (see entry for Acts 13:38).
“You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.
Kiss. The Jews greeted one another with a kiss of friendship (Gen. 27:26), and the early Christians adopted this practice (see entry for Rom. 16:16).
“For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
(a) Have been forgiven. Prior to the cross, Jesus preached conditional forgiveness to people living under the old covenant. “If you forgive, God will forgive” (Matt. 6:14, Mark 11:25). However, as the messenger of the new covenant, he also demonstrated and proclaimed unconditional forgiveness (Matt. 9:2, 18:27, Luke 7:42, 23:34). On the night he rose from the dead, he told the disciples to preach the good news of unconditional forgiveness (see entry for Luke 24:47).
(b) Forgiven; see entry for Forgiveness.
And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Your faith has saved you. It is the grace of God that saves us, but since grace only comes by faith (Eph. 2:8), Jesus said what he said.