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Luke Chapter Seven


I. Content of the Chapter


The Compassion and Mercy of the Savior the Son of Man

I. Towards the centurion------He healed his servant because He praised his faith (v.1-10).

II. Towards the widow in the city called Nain------He raised her only son because He sympathized with her in her condition (v.11-17).

III. Towards John the Baptist------He encouraged him before his disciples and praised him behind his back (v.18-35).

IV. Towards the woman who was a sinner------His love was great and He forgave many sins (v.36-50).


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Luke. 7:1 “Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum.

   YLT: “And when he completed all his sayings in the ears of the people, he went into Capernaum;”


Luke. 7:2 “And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die.

   YLT: “and a certain centurion’s servant being ill, was about to die, who was much valued by him,”

Literal Meaning: “a certain centurion” “Centurion” was an official title in the Roman Government and the centurion ruled one hundred soldiers at that time. Some people said that this centurion was a foreign officer under the domination of Herod the king.

“Who was dear to him” shows the servant’s position in the heart of the centurion.

   Spiritual Meaning: the “centurion” here typifies the Gentile believers.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Thank the Lord! We, the gentiles partake in the salvation, actually.

2) Salvation comes to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles (See Acts. 3:26, 13:46, Rom. 1:16, 11:11).

3) This servant was both “dear to” his master and the Lord Jesus. The servants who are faithful to the lord and serve the Lord diligently will assuredly be acceptable to the Lord (See Eph. 6:6-8; Col. 3:22-24).


Luke. 7:3 “So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant.

   YLT: “and having heard about Jesus, he sent unto him elders of the Jews, beseeching him, that having come he might thoroughly save his servant.”

   Literal Meaning: “he sent elders of the Jews to Him” “elders” were the respected squires and leaders among the people.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) God’s sons and daughters should concern others and always bring them to God and pray for them.

2) It is the revelation of love for those who hallow the Lord to sympathize with their subordinates in their sufferings and pray for others and this is also the best example for believers to follow.


Luke. 7:4 “And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving,

   YLT: “And they, having come near unto Jesus, were calling upon him earnestly, saying ‘He is worthy to whom thou shalt do this,”

   Meaning of Words: “earnestly”: fervently, diligently.

   Literal Meaning: “the one for whom He should do this was deserving.” They said so because they did not know the grace of the Lord. Those who truly know the grace of the Lord will think themselves unworthy (See v.7).


Luke. 7:5for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.’”

   YLT: “for he doth love our nation, and the synagogue he did build to us.’”

   Literal Meaning: “love our nation” shows that he had good behaviors; “has built us a synagogue” shows that he led a good life of religion.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Believers should not only live before men but also live before God.

2) Those who truly love men assuredly love God and they are willing to help men to draw near to God and worship Him.


Luke. 7:6 “Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof.

   YLT: “And Jesus was going on with them, and now when he is not far distant from the house the centurion sent unto him friends, saying to him, `Sir, be not troubled, for I am not worthy that under my roof thou mayest enter;”

   Literal Meaning: “I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof” On one hand he thought himself unworthy and on the other he knew that the Lord surpassed the space.


Luke. 7:7 “Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.

   YLT: “wherefore not even myself thought I worthy to come unto thee, but say in a word, and my lad shall be healed;”

Literal Meaning: “but say the word” The centurion really knew the authority and power of the Lord Jesus. He knew that the power to heal diseases was in the His words and therefore he only asked “the word” of the Lord and that was enough.

  “And my servant will be healed” the “servant” in this verse is “child” in the original and it is a pronoun of kindness; it is different from the “servant” (v.2, 3, 8. 10) in other verses which indicates the “bondman”.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) In the eyes of the Jewish elders, the centurion was “worthy” (See v.4), however, the centurion “thought himself unworthy”. Those who truly have the faith are humble.

2) On one hand, believers should have good testimony of life before men so that they could praise that we are “worthy”. On the other, we should see that we are “unworthy” under the light of the Lord.

3) “But say the word, and my servant will be healed”. The words which the Lord had spoken unto us are spirit and are life (John. 6:63).

4) The Lord’s word was with authority (See Luke. 4:32). He upheld all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3). As long as we obtain “a word” from the Lord, the difficulties of our own or the assembly will be overcome.

5) Unless the Lord “touches” one (See Matt. 5:13), in vain are all the other touches. Unless the Lord “say the word”, in vain are all the others words. What believers need is the Lord’s “touch” and “the word” spoken by the Lord in person.


Luke. 7:8 “For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this,' and he does it.’”

  YLT: “for I also am a man placed under authority, having under myself soldiers, and I say to this [one], Go, and he goeth; and to another, Be coming, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doth [it].’”

Literal Meaning: the centurion knew that as long as he obeyed the higher-ups, he would have the authority to instruct his subordinates. Because he knew that the Lord was usually under the authority of the Father in heaven and therefore He has the power of God. The centurion learned that the power of the heavenly king was in His words from his own words which were with authority to his subordinates.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) If you want to hold power, you have to learn to obey the authority. If you fully obey God, God’s power will be in you and His authority will make you dominate others. This is the requirement to gain power.

2) At first we obey the Lord and then others may obey us.

3) This verse shows the relation between power and the word------power is the backing of word and the word is the manifestation of power.


Luke. 7:9 “When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’”

   YLT: “And having heard these things Jesus wondered at him, and having turned to the multitude following him, he said, ‘I say to you, not even in Israel so much faith did I find;’”

   Literal Meaning: “He marveled at him” It has been recorded two times in the Gospels that the Lord Jesus “marveled”. He marveled at the faith of the Gentiles at one time and at the other time He marveled at the unbelief of the children of Israel (See Mark. 6:6).

“Such great faith” faith comes from our knowledge of the Lord because Jesus is the leader and completer of faith (Heb. 12:2). The people of Israel lacked the knowledge of the Lord and therefore they did not have “such great faith”.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The faith of the centurion based on his knowledge of the authority of the Lord. If we have more knowledge of the Lord, we will have greater faith.

2) Faith is the key to use the heavenly authority. Men have to connect the authority of God with faith so as to bring in God’s power and blessing.

3) “Such great faith” indicates men’s faith in “the Lord’s word” is greater than men’s faith in “the Lord’s touch”. Generally, “touch” is more authentic than “the word” in men’s eyes. However the greater faith is that the Lord’s word is enough and there is no need of the Lord’s touch.

4) When you have knowledge of the authority of the Lord, you will easily believe in God’s word. Those who have doubts about God’s words lack the knowledge of His authority.

5) The more we know and believe the Lord, the more we could enjoy the grace of the Lord. Men’s faith is the capacity to receive blessing. God’s reward to men’s faith is determined by their faith and the greater men’s faith is, the more they will receive the reward of faith from God.


Luke. 7:10 “And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.

   YLT: “and those sent, having turned back to the house, found the ailing servant in health.”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The effect of faith is visible.

2) Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive (Matt. 21:22).


Luke. 7:11 “Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd.

   YLT: “And it came to pass, on the morrow, he was going on to a city called Nain, and there were going with him many of his disciples, and a great multitude,”

   Literal Meaning: “a city called Nain” the city called Nain was close to the southeast part of Nazareth which was the hometown of Jesus. 


Luke. 7:12 “And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her.

   YLT: “and as he came nigh to the gate of the city, then, lo, one dead was being carried forth, an only son of his mother, and she a widow, and a great multitude of the city was with her.”

   Literal Meaning: “a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow” The dead one was the only son and his mother was a widow, showing that the hope of life was completely shattered.

  “And a large crowd from the city was with her.” The description here is in contrast to “a large crowd went with Him” in the former verse. One group of men was carrying out the dead man and another group of men followed the Lord of life. When these two groups of men encountered with each other, this initiated the result of profound and lasting meaning.


Luke. 7:13 “When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, Do not weep.’”

   YLT: “And the Lord having seen her, was moved with compassion towards her, and said to her, ‘Be not weeping;’”

   Literal Meaning: “when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her” Here Luke suddenly called Jesus “the Lord” and this seemed to imply that He is “the Lord of life” and only Him could change the fact of death because only life is able to swallow up death (See 2Cor. 5:4).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Our Lord is the only begotten Son in the bosom of the Father (John. 1:18) and therefore He could feel men’s love to the only son (See 8:42; 9:38).

2) For God so loved us, that He gave His only begotten Son (John. 3:16); if we could know the feeling of the widow who had lost her only son, we could comprehend God’s love towards us.

3) It was not the widow who found the Lord but the Lord came to find the widow. When we encounter misfortunes, He always takes the initiative to take care of us.


Luke. 7:14 “Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, Young man, I say to you, arise.’”

   YLT: “and having come near, he touched the bier, and those bearing [it] stood still, and he said, ‘Young man, to thee I say, Arise;’”

   Literal Meaning: “then He came and touched the open coffin”. Since the coffin was open, the dead young man sat up the moment he heard the words of the Lord (See v.15).


Luke. 7:15 “So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.

   YLT: “and the dead sat up, and began to speak, and he gave him to his mother;”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Though there were many people in the city called Nain sympathizing with the widow (See v.12), they could not give the true comfort to her broken heart. Only when one encountered the rising Christ will he be truly comforted.

2) When we encounter great sufferings, we should not seek the help from men and we should turn to the Lord and only He could solve our problems.


Luke. 7:16 “Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, A great prophet has risen up among us; and, God has visited His people.’”

   YLT: “and fear took hold of all, and they were glorifying God, saying ‘A great prophet hath risen among us,’ and ‘God did look upon His people.’”

   The Background: in the age of the Old Testament, there were two great prophets rising the dead and one was Elijah who rose the son of the widow in Zarephath (1Kings. 17:20-23) and the other was Elisha who rose the son of the Shunammite (2Kings. 4:32-35).


Luke. 7:17 “And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.

   YLT: “And the account of this went forth in all Judea about him, and in all the region around.”

   Literal Meaning: “went throughout all Judea” “Judea” originally indicates the middle and southern part of Palestine and this generally refers to the place where the Jews lived which included Galilee.


Luke. 7:18 “Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things.

   YLT: “And the disciples of John told him about all these things,”

   Literal Meaning: “John” indicates John the Baptist (See v.20). At that time, he himself was put in prison by Herod (See 3:20), however, his disciples could still visit him to receive instructions and spread the message.

  “All these things” are the things that the Lord Jesus healed the wicked ones and rose the dead (See v.2-17).


Luke. 7:19 “And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’”

   YLT: “and John having called near a certain two of his disciples, sent unto Jesus, saying, ‘Art thou he who is coming, or for another do we look?’”

   Meaning of Words: “another”: another man of the different kind.

   Literal Meaning: “calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus” John the Baptist sent his disciples when he was in prison (See Matt. 11:2); “calling” showed that his intention to send his disciples was related to the things of Jesus that he had heard (See v.18). He may hold that:

  1) The words and deeds of Jesus were not in accordance with his hope towards “the Messiah”.

  2) Since Jesus could do these signs and wonders, why did not he deliver him from the prison? Therefore he sent his disciples to query the Lord Jesus.

“Are You the Coming One” John meant that “Are You the Messiah (Christ)?” His words did not show his doubt about the Lord and the words showed his disappointment towards the Lord.

  “Or do we look for another?” John used these words to urge the Lord with derision, hoping that He would show the works of the Messiah in order to lead the Jews to resist the Roman Empire and to revive the kingdom of Judah.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The moment that we confirmed that the Lord had the power to do things and He did nothing for us greatly tests men’s faith towards Him.

2) Men are easy to doubt when they are in tribulations. Therefore when we are in danger or difficulty, we should take care lest we are taken in the devil’s craftiness to doubt the will of the Lord.

3) When we are in tribulations, we should learn to look upon the Lord exclusively and not see the circumstances.

4) We should thank God whether He has done something for us or not. The Lord has good will whether He has done something or not.

5) Men’s natural patience is limited. After someone has waited a long period of time, gradually he will become impatient and even complain the Lord.

6) When John was in prison, he held that his difficulty was so great and urgent that the Lord should lay down anything else to solve his problem. Many workers of the Lord are not serving the Lord but asking the Lord to serve them.


Luke. 7:20 “When the men had come to Him, they said, John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’”

   YLT: “And having come near to him, the men said, ‘John the Baptist sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he who is coming, or for another do we look?’”


Luke. 7:21 “And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.

   YLT: “And in that hour he cured many from sicknesses, and plagues, and evil spirits, and to many blind he granted sight.”

   Meaning of Words: “cured”: warm, serve, heal; “of infirmities”: whip, malady, suffering; “gave”: give kindly. 

   Literal Meaning: “that very hour” indicates the time when the disciples of John the Baptist came to ask Jesus. Luke here intended to prove that the Messiah who was predicted in the Old Testament was spoken concerning the Lord Jesus through the deeds that He had done (See v.22).


Luke. 7:22 “Jesus answered and said to them, Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.

   YLT: “And Jesus answering said to them, `Having gone on, report to John what ye saw and heard, that blind men do see again, lame do walk, lepers are cleansed, deaf do hear, dead are raised, poor have good news proclaimed;”

   The Background: in the time of the Old Testament, nobody had seen the sign that “the blind see”. However, it was predicted through Isaiah the prophet that when the Messiah comes, He would make the eyes of the blind open (Is. 35:5).

   Literal Meaning: “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard” When the Lord was questioned and offended by John the Baptist, He did not regard him as disobedient. Contrarily He further revealed Himself to John. “The things you have heard” are the Lord’s teachings (words) and “the things you have seen” are the wonders (deeds) done by the Lord.

  “That the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.” the Lord used these things that He had done as evidence to make John the Baptist know that He is the Messiah.

Spiritual Meaning: various kinds of people in this verse symbolize the different states of us before we were saved:

   1) “The blind” symbolize those whose thoughts have been blinded by the god of this world (2Cor. 4:4).

   2) “The lame” symbolize those who are unable to walk in the God’s commanded way (Acts. 3:2-9).

   3) “The lepers” symbolize those who are rebellious and unclean in God’s sight (Num. 12:1-10).

   4) “The deaf” symbolize those who could not hear the voice of God (Is. 29:18).

   5) “The dead” symbolize those who are dead in their offences and sins (Eph. 2:1).

   6) “The poor” symbolize those who have no hope and without God in the world (Eph 2:12).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) John the Baptist formerly knew the Lord, however, he was weak here. The Lord’s answer to him is about the knowledge of Himself (See v.4-5). It shows that the more knowledge of the Lord is the deliverance to those who are weak.

2) The effect of the Lord’s work cannot be measured by sight and therefore we should follow the Lord by our inner knowledge of Him instead of the outer conditions.

3) “Hearing” is listed before “seeing” in this verse and this shows that Christ’s teachings (the Lord’s words) are more important than His conduct (signs). It is better for one to hear ten sentences of God’s words than to see ten signs. The extreme Charismatic Christians pay more attention to God’s signs than His words. This is the action of putting the incidental before the fundamental.

4) One still needs to be revealed after he has revelations. One still needs to see God’s appearance after he has seen God’s appearance. The new revelation and appearance shall make us be renewed our strength. If there is no vision, there will be no power.

5) “The blind see” is the first step of salvation. The Lord firstly opened our eyes and we may turn from darkness to light (Acts. 26:18).

6) The Lord opens our eyes, strengthens our feet to walk in the Lord’s way (Heb. 12:12-13), leads captive our formerly rebellious to Him (2Kings. 5:9-14), makes us hear the Lord’s voice (John. 10:27), know the power of His resurrection (Pill. 3:10) and enjoy the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8).


Luke. 7:23 “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.’”

   YLT: “and happy is he whoever may not be stumbled in me.’”

   Meaning of Words: “offended”: take offence, dislike, and stumble.

   Literal Meaning: the Lord here implies that John the Baptist may be offended because of Him.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The name of the Lord is “a stone of stumbling and rock of offence” (Rom. 9:33). If believers do not have enough knowledge of the Lord, they will probably be offended because of Him.

2) We should pray to the Lord that we could know Him increasingly and continually so that we won’t be offended because of Him.

3) John the Baptist blamed the Lord because he was unsatisfied with what the Lord had done. Anyone who is unpleasant with what the Lord has done would be offended easily.

4) We should never study the Bible with our own conceptions. We may be offended because of Him when the works and deeds of the Lord Jesus recorded in the Bible are not in agreement with what we except.

5) Let him that thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall (1Cor. 10:12).

6) Blessed is one who has not been offended when the Lord seemed to do nothing for him who is in trouble.

7) Blessed is the one who willingly receives the circumstances and ways arranged by the Lord without any complaint.

8) When we are in tribulations, we should learn to look upon the Lord exclusively and not see the circumstance, and then we are able to praise the Lord without dissatisfaction or complaints.

9) When we have learnt that we should not “blame” the Lord, our mourning will be turned into joy and tears will be turned into mirth.

10) Revelation and trial are relative. The revelation given by God to John the Baptist is great and so is his trial. Great trial will bring in greater revelation.

11) The Lord’s appearance is the power that strengthens us. Only those who see the Lord Jesus in spirit will not be offended.


Luke. 7:24 “When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?

   YLT: “And the messengers of John having gone away, he began to say unto the multitudes concerning John: `What have ye gone forth to the wilderness to look on? a reed by the wind shaken?”

   Meaning of Words: “see”: look closely at.

   The Background: When John the Baptist started to preach, he was in “the wilderness” of Judah (See 3:2). At that time, all Judean went “out” to John (See 3:7).

   Literal Meaning: “when the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John” The Lord encouraged him in the presence of the disciples of John (See v.22-23) and praised him behind their back (See v.24-28).

  “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?” It means that men wouldn’t go purposely to see ordinary things.

   Spiritual Meaning: “reed” is easy to be broken (Matt. 12:20) and it symbolizes fragile men (1Kings. 14:15). In this verse the Lord meant that when John, the forerunner of Christ, was preaching in the wilderness, he was not weak.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) A natural man likes to praise others in the presence of them and speak ill of others behind their back. However the example of the Lord Jesus is just opposite to this.

2) Open rebuke is better than hidden love (Prov. 27:5). We should praise others behind their back lest they feel proud.

3) John the Baptist bore witness to Christ previously (See 3:16-17) and the Lord Jesus bore witness to him here. Whoever bears witness to Christ before men, him the Lord will testify before men (See 12:8).

4) The state of John the Baptist at this moment was like “a reed shaken by the wind”. However the Lord is merciful and He shall not break a bruised reed (Matt. 12:20).


Luke. 7:25 “But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings' courts.

   YLT: “but what have ye gone forth to see? a man in soft garments clothed? lo, they in splendid apparellings, and living in luxury, are in the houses of kings!”

   Meaning of Words: “see”: be aware of, by implication to know, and perceive (it is different from the “see” in v.24).

   Literal Meaning: “in soft garments”: panoply in the palace.

   Spiritual Meaning: “a man clothed in soft garments” symbolizes the man who takes forethought for the flesh (Rom. 13:14). The Lord here meant that you should not hold that John was a man who sought ease.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The ordinary people like to know others according to the flesh------utterance, knowledge, wearing, making up and etc and do not look upon their hearts (See 1Sam. 16:7).

2) Workers of the Lord should be strong (See v.24) and should not enjoy high position or live in ease and comfort.


Luke. 7:26 “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.

   YLT: “`But what have ye gone forth to see? a prophet? Yes, I say to you, and much more than a prophet:”

   Meaning of Words: “see”: be aware of, know by implication, and perceive (it is different from the “see” in v.24).

   Literal Meaning: “prophet” is the one who speaks for God.

  John the Baptist not only spoke for the Lord, but also introduced Christ to men. Therefore he was more than a prophet. Moreover, John was the landmark of the transition of times------a person from the time of the prophets (the law) to the time of grace------therefore “he is more than a prophet”.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord, instead of a man, judges whether someone is great or not.

2) Personal experience of Christ (John the Baptist) is more useful than the talk of the intangible Christ (the prophet).


Luke. 7:27 “This is he of whom it is written: Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.'

   YLT: “this is he concerning whom it hath been written, Lo, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee;”

   Literal Meaning: “it is written”: it is quoted from Mal. 3:1

  “I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.” This sentence shows that the ministry of John the Baptist is to prepare the way for Christ and prepare men’s hearts to receive Him.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When John the Baptist was weak temporarily, on one side the Lord further revealed Himself to encourage him (v.22-23) and on the other He bore strong witness to him before men (v.24-28). It shows that:

     a) The Lord never hit a person when he is down. It is not the spirit of Christ to flatter someone when he is strong and to condemn someone when he is weak.

     b) The Lord is able to sympathize with our infirmities (Heb. 4:15) and He never forgets men’s faithfulness towards Him.

     c) The Lord purposely bears strong witness to His servant in order to stop men’s excessive criticism to him when he is weak.

2) We should learn to fear God and do not judge the Lord’s servants, especially when they are weak. It is this principle that David did not dare to offend Saul.

3) The primary task for the Lord’s servants is to prepare the way for the Lord. Any work that could not let the Lord have more way to work in men’s hearts is not serving the Lord.


Luke. 7:28 “For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.’”

  YLT: “for I say to you, a greater prophet, among those born of women, than John the Baptist there is not; but the least in the reign of God is greater than he.’”

   Meaning of Words: “least”: little one.

   Literal Meaning: “among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” Here the so-called greatness does not mean the highness of status or the greatness of ministry, but the closeness of relation between men and Christ. Those who were born of women, such as Abraham, Moses, Elias and other great men, only had seen Christ “from afar off” (Heb. 11:13). However John the Baptist saw Christ with his eyes. Therefore he was greater than them.

  “But he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” “Who is least in the kingdom of heaven” are the ordinary believers and Christ dwells in them (Col. 1:27). However John the Baptist only knew Christ in the flesh. Therefore believers are greater than he. Moreover, the least believer in the New Testament is a portion of the assembly, i.e. a portion of the bride of Christ (See Eph. 5:25-27, 32). John the Baptist was only a friend of the bridegroom (John. 3:29). Therefore believers are greater than John the Baptist from this angle.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Whether one is great or not depends on his relation with Christ. The closer one is to Christ, the greater he is.

2) Any one who is born of water and of Spirit can enter into the kingdom of God (John. 3:5). This verse implies us that the life that is born of Spirit is more precious than the flesh that is born of the worm of his mother (“born of women”).


Luke. 7:29 “And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John.

   YLT: “And all the people having heard, and the tax-gatherers, declared God righteous, having been baptized with the baptism of John,”

   Literal Meaning: “justified God” It means that one confesses that he is sinful and it is reasonable that God requires men to repent and be baptized.


Luke. 7:30 “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.

   YLT: “but the Pharisees, and the lawyers, the counsel of God did put away for themselves, not having been baptized by him.”

   Meaning of Words: “reject”: cast away, abandon.

   Literal Meaning: “lawyers” indicate the teachers of the Law, i.e. the scribes.

  “Rejected the will of God for themselves.” It means that they rejected God’s salvation that He has prepared for men. They rejected the baptism of John the Baptist, i.e. they rejected what God had entrusted John the Baptist (See 3:2-6) and therefore they rejected the will of God.


Luke. 7:31 “And the Lord said, "To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like?

   YLT: “And the Lord said, `To what, then, shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?”


Luke. 7:32 “They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, saying: We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We mourned to you, And you did not weep.'  

   YLT: “they are like to children, to those sitting in a market-place, and calling one to another, and saying, We piped to you, and ye did not dance, we mourned to you, and ye did not weep!”

   Literal Meaning: “playing the flute” is like what men do in the wedding; “mourning” is like what men do in the funeral. The Lord meant that men of this generation are as stubborn as children who neither play the game of the wedding (playing the flute and dancing) nor play in the procession of the funeral (mourning and lamenting).

  The Lord is merciful to the sinners and sat down with sinners (See 5:29-32), just as “playing the flute” to men. John the Baptist condemned men’s sins bluntly and asked men to repent (See 3:7-9), just as “mourning” to men.

   Spiritual Meaning: “we played the flute for you, and you did not dance.” It is a metaphor to show that we preach the glad tidings of God’s grace to the world, however, men are untouched.

  “We mourned to you, and you did not lament.” It is a metaphor to show that we preach the warning news of God’s righteous judgment, however, men are unwilling to repent.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The days are evil and easily make men foolish (Eph. 5:16-17), “ignorant like children” and insensitive to the Lord and the things of the Lord

2) We should not be children in minds but be grown (1Cor. 14:20).

3) Rejoice with those that rejoice, weep with those that weep. Have the same respect one for another (Rom. 12:15-16).

4) Not dancing when others play the flute or lamenting when others mourn show that the people of Israel lack the spiritual feelings and reactions. How common this phenomenon is in God’s children today.

5) Believers should have the spirit of meekness. On one hand we should rejoice in God and everything that is of God (Luke. 1:47). On the other we should mourn in everything that is besides God (Matt. 5:4).


Luke. 7:33 “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, He has a demon.'

   YLT: “`For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and ye say, He hath a demon;”

   Literal Meaning: “neither eating bread” He ate locusts and wild honey (See Mark. 1:6) that were totally different from the food of the ordinary men.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When the Lord was busy serving the folk and cannot even eat bread, men said that He was out of His mind (Mark. 3:20-21). When believers hold heavy burdens in spirit so that they cannot eat or drink as usual (fasting), they are treated as “strangers” by others.

2) Christians are not ascetic. It is not their purpose for not to eat or drink, or not get along with the world. Concerning everything that may draw us into the world, we should choose what we should choose and reject what we should reject in spite of others’ criticism.


Luke. 7:34 “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'

   YLT: “the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and ye say, Lo, a man, a glutton, and a wine drinker, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners;”

   Literal Meaning: “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking” “The Son of Man” is the Lord Jesus (Matt. 16:13). “Eating and drinking” shows that His food and drink is the same as that of the ordinary men.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) John neither ate nor drank and the Lord ate and drank. They did not condemn each other for their contrary states. We should permit others to have the absolute freedom in their life styles. It is the most foolish to condemn and interfere in what is different from us.

2) In the eyes of the Jews, “neither eating nor drinking” and “eating and drinking” are both wrong. When men have their own opinions, they are unable to accept others’ behaviors and it is wrong in their eyes no matter how others act. 

3) Christianity is not “neither eating nor drinking” nor “eating and drinking”. What Christianity values is not men’s outer actions but their inner intentions.

4) For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17).


Luke. 7:35 “But wisdom is justified by all her children.’”

   YLT: “and the wisdom was justified from all her children.’”

   Literal Meaning: But wisdom is justified by all her children.” It shows that though John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus had different ways of life, they were all right according to the results of conducts of their wisdom.

   Spiritual Meaning: “But wisdom is justified by all her children.” “Wisdom” is Christ (1Cor. 1:24, 30); “Her children” are those who fear God (See Prov. 9:10). Those who fear God do not judge by appearance but look upon Christ in everything and hold His guidance as foundation.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Believers should not measure things with the material sight which would make us haggle over the outer forms and ways (See v.33-34). We should measure everything with Christ’s sight because Christ is our wisdom (1Cor. 1:30).

2) Those who take fast hold of Christ are the “children of wisdom”. It is the true wisdom that we “justify” what Christ has justified.

3) Only those who have spiritual sights and truly fear God can know the Lord’s deeds.

4) Christ is justified by those who are of Christ and seek Christ. The salvation arranged by God is justified by those who receive the Lord.

5) What believers should do their utmost to seek is the Lord Himself instead of ways, teachings, reasons or experience. It is not the Lord’s grace but the Lord who gives grace.


Luke. 7:36 “Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat.

   YLT: “And a certain one of the Pharisees was asking him that he might eat with him, and having gone into the house of the Pharisee he reclined (at meat),”

   Literal Meaning: “asked Him to eat with him” according to his indifferent and unreasonable attitude towards Jesus, the reason why he invited Jesus may be the enmity or his curiosity towards the Lord. Probably he wanted to utilize His prestige (See v.17).


Luke. 7:37 “And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,

   YLT: “and lo, a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having known that he reclineth (at meat) in the house of the Pharisee, having provided an alabaster box of ointment,”

   Meaning of Words: “brought”: to provide for, to carry off.

   Literal Meaning: “a woman in the city who was a sinner” The story that a woman anointed the Lord with fragrant oil which was recorded in these verses (v.36-50) was different from the case that Mary anointed the Lord. The reasons are as follows:

  A. The locations were different: “the city” here was in Galilee; Mary anointed the Lord in Bethany that was close to Jerusalem (See Matt. 26:6).

  B. The times were different: this case happened in the middle term of the Lord’s preaching; Mary anointed the Lord in the last period of the Lord’s preaching (See John. 12:1-8). 

  C. The characters were different: this woman was “a sinner” and she may be a harlot. Mary was a woman who loved the Lord (See 10:38-42) and was respected by men (See John. 11:31, 45).

  D. The lords who made the dinner were different: though the name of both men was “Simon” (See v.40), the lord here was a proud “Pharisee” (See v.39, 44-46) and that one was “Simon the leper” (See Mark. 14:3).


Luke. 7:38 “and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.

   YLT: “and having stood behind, beside his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with the tears, and with the hairs of her head she was wiping, and was kissing his feet, and was anointing with the ointment.”

   The Background: “stood at His feet behind Him weeping” when the Jews attended the dinner in the days of old, they laid on their side on the bed, with their heads near the table and their feet stretching to the back. Therefore when others stood at one’s feet, his normal dinner and dialogue were not disturbed.

   Literal Meaning: “stood at His feet behind Him weeping” It means humbleness, repentance and gratitude.

   Spiritual Meaning: “wiped them with the hair of her head” “hair” is the glory to women (See 1Cor. 11:15). This woman wiped the lowest part of the Lord (feet) with her most glorious part and this symbolizes that she cast her crown at the feet of the Lord (See Rev. 4:10).

  “She kissed His feet” symbolizes that she valued and appreciated everything of the Lord with love.

  “Anointed them with the fragrant oil” symbolizes that she devoted herself to the Lord as the sweet sacrifice.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Believers in the assembly were “sinners” originally; those who truly know that they are sinners and have received the grace of the Lord will always thank and love the Lord and dedicate themselves to the Lord.

2) The moment the fragrant oil was anointed, the whole house was full of the sweet fragrance. Everyone who dedicates all to the Lord for the sake of loving the Lord is a witness of fragrance to others who are around him.

3) Many people desire the salvation of the Lord but do not desire the Lord Himself; many people value the Lord’s blessing but do not value the Lord Himself. What do we desire? Everything that is beside the Lord? Or the Lord Himself?

4) Unto to those who believe the Lord is precious (1Pet. 2:7). Our dedication to the Lord indicates our evaluation towards the Lord.

5) For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again (2Cor. 5:14-15).

6) One’s being saved must make him dedicate himself to the Lord. The salvation that could not make one dedicate himself to the Lord is not complete.


Luke. 7:39 “Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.’”

   YLT: “And the Pharisee who did call him, having seen, spake within himself, saying, `This one, if he were a prophet, would have known who and of what kind [is] the woman who doth touch him, that she is a sinner.’”

   Literal Meaning: Simon thought that this woman was a sinner and he himself was not a sinner. He doubted that the Lord may not know that this woman was a sinner.


Luke. 7:40 “And Jesus answered and said to him, Simon, I have something to say to you. So he said, Teacher, say it.’”

   YLT: “And Jesus answering said unto him, `Simon, I have something to say to thee;’ and he saith, ‘Teacher, say on.’”

   Literal Meaning: “Jesus answered and said to him” Jesus answered the murmur in the heart of Simon (See v.39), showing that He knows all things.


Luke. 7:41There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

   YLT: “`Two debtors were to a certain creditor; the one was owing five hundred denaries, and the other fifty;”

   The Background: at that time, the wage of an ordinary worker was about a denarius a day (See Matt. 20:2).

   Spiritual Meaning: “a certain creditor” indicates the Lord Himself.

  “Who had two debtors” “Debtors” shows that all come short of the glory of God because they all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). “Two” implies that Simon and that woman were both sinners. Both of them were debtors of the Lord and they both needed His remission.

  “One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.” This shows that men feel different concerning their debts of sins to the Lord.


Luke. 7:42 “And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?’”

   YLT: “and they not having [wherewith] to give back, he forgave both; which then of them, say thou, will love him more?’”

   Literal Meaning: “which of them will love him more?” The question of the Lord did not show that love is the cause for one to be forgiven. It meant that love is the consequence for one who has been forgiven.

   Spiritual Meaning: “they had nothing with which to repay” It shows that all sinners had nothing with which to repay their debts of sin to God.


Luke. 7:43 “Simon answered and said, I suppose the one whom he forgave more.And He said to him, You have rightly judged.’”

   YLT: “And Simon answering said, `I suppose that to whom he forgave the more;’ and he said to him, ‘Rightly thou didst judge.’”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) We have received the uncountable grace and remissions from the Lord and therefore we should love Him more.

2) If we want to love the Lord more deeply, we should often count the grace of the Lord. 


Luke. 7:44 “Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.

   YLT: “And having turned unto the woman, he said to Simon, `Seest thou this woman? I entered into thy house; water for my feet thou didst not give, but this woman with tears did wet my feet, and with the hairs of her head did wipe;”

   Spiritual Meaning: at that time the elementary rule for the Jews to serve the guests was that 1) when the guest entered the house, the lord commanded the servant to give him water to wash his feet; 2) the lord would kiss the guest (See v.45); 3) the lord would anoint his head with oil (See v.46).

   Literal Meaning: “gave him water to wash His feet and wipe them up” was in contrast to “she has washed My feet with tears and wiped them with the hair of her head”.


Luke. 7:45 “You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.

   YLT: “a kiss to me thou didst not give, but this woman, from what [time] I came in, did not cease kissing my feet;”

   Literal Meaning: “kiss” was in contrast to “kiss My feet”


Luke. 7:46 “You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.

   YLT: “with oil my head thou didst not anoint, but this woman with ointment did anoint my feet;”

   Literal Meaning: “anoint the head with oil” was in contrast to “anoint the feet with fragrant oil”.


Luke. 7:47 “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.’”

   YLT: “therefore I say to thee, her many sins have been forgiven, because she did love much; but to whom little is forgiven, little he doth love.’”

   Literal Meaning: this verse would be misunderstood easily that the one who loved much will be forgiven more and the one who loved little will be forgiven little. On the contrary, the Lord meant that she loved much, proving that to her many were forgiven and the one who loved little, proving that to him little was forgiven. Whether we love much or little is not the reason for whether we are forgiven many or little but the consequent and expression for whether we are forgiven many or little.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The more deeply we feel that our sins have been forgiven, the more we will love the Lord.

2) The one who is rarely aware of his sins does not desire the Lord. The more deeply one is aware of his sins, the more he desires the salvation of the Lord and therefore the more he loves the Lord.

3) If we remember that how our sins have been forgiven by the Lord, we have to love the Lord. If one day we cannot be moved by the cross, this proves that we have fallen.

4) This woman who was sinner did not say anything and she only did three things at the feet of the Lord (See v.44-46). The Lord praised her that she “loved much”. The actual deeds of love touch the heart of the Lord more, compared with millions of words of love.

5) The Lord’s judgment in this verse shows that though Simon the Pharisee took a dinner for the Lord, what he did was inferior to what the woman who was sinner had done for the Lord. In the eyes of the Lord, He valued our love towards Him instead of the works that we had done for Him.


Luke. 7:48 “Then He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’”

   YLT: “And he said to her, `Thy sins have been forgiven;’”

   Literal Meaning: “Your sins are forgiven” the Lord did not say that, “I forgive yours sins right now” but “Your sins are forgiven” (“are forgiven” is in the perfect term “have been forgiven”). This woman who was a sinner had been forgiven by the Lord when she stood at the Lord’s feet behind Him weeping (See v.38). The Lord at that time stated and declared the thing that had been done.


Luke. 7:49 “And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, Who is this who even forgives sins?’”

   YLT: “and those reclining with him (at meat) began to say within themselves, ‘Who is this, who also doth forgive sins?’”


Luke. 7:50 “Then He said to the woman, Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.’”

   YLT: “and he said unto the woman, `Thy faith have saved thee, be going on to peace.’”

   Literal Meaning: “Your faith has saved you” shows that faith is the true reason for one to be saved.

  “Go in peace.” “Peace” is the state of peace after one’s sins have been forgiven. Peace is not the peace of circumstances but the state of peace (See John. 16:33).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Faith brings in the salvation and the salvation brings in peace.

2) Everyone who comes to the Lord will not only be forgiven his sins but also the peace of Christ will be filled in him and this makes him to walk forth. Therefore we should often come to draw near to Him.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The Mercy and Condescension of the Savior the Son of Man

I. He condescended the Jewish elders who did not know the honor of the Lord (v.3, 6).

II. He sympathized with the widow who lost her only son and took the initiative to raise her son (v.12-15).

III. He condescended Simon the Pharisee who neglected the Lord and went to sit with him (v.36-46).

IV. He condescended the sinner who was despised by men and received her expression of love (v.47-50).


The Comparisons in This Chapter

I. The comparison between the Jewish elders and the Gentile centurion:

  A. The elders thought that one could receive grace by works; the centurion thought himself unworthy (v.4, 7).

  B. The elders asked the Lord to help him; the centurion thought that there was no need for the Lord to come to his house and only asked the Lord to say the word (v.6-7).

  C. The elders only knew the power of the Lord; the centurion knew the authority of the Lord (v.4, 8).

  D. The elders asked the Lord according to reasons; the centurion asked the Lord in faith (v.5, 9).

II. The comparison between the group of people who followed the Lord and the large crowd who carried out the dead man with the widow:

  A. One was the group of life and the other was the group of death (v.11-12).

  B. One was able to raise the dead and the other could bury the dead only (v.12, 15).

  C. One was able to make men rejoice and the other could not cease men from crying (v.13, 15).

III. The comparison between Simon the Pharisee and the woman who was a sinner:

  A. The Pharisee asked the Lord to attend the dinner and he did not know Him; that woman knew that He is the Savior and therefore she stood at His feet weeping (v.38-39).

  B. The Pharisee did not know that he was a sinner; that woman knew that she was a sinner (v.39).

  C. The Pharisee did not give the Lord water to wash His feet; that woman washed His feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head (v.44).

  D. The Pharisee did not kiss the Lord; that woman did not cease to kiss His feet (v.45).

  E. The Pharisee did not anoint the Lord’s head with oil; that woman anointed His feet with fragrant oil (v.46).

  F. The Pharisee did not except that the Lord would forgive men’s sins and therefore he had not been forgiven by the Lord; that woman had faith towards the Lord and therefore she had been forgiven by the Lord (v. 48-50).


What Is “Such Great Faith” (v.9)?

I. He thinks himself little------I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof; therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You (v.6-7).

II. He thinks the Lord great------say the word, and my servant will be healed (v.7).


The Total Statement of the Salvation (v.22)

I. The blind see------men’s thoughts are opened.

II. The lame walk------men are able to walk in the way of God with strength.

III. The lepers are cleansed------men’s sins are cleansed.

IV. The deaf hear------men could hear the voice of God.

V. The dead are raised------men obtain the life of resurrection of the Lord.

VI. The poor have the gospel preached to them------men could have the spiritual richness.


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Sharon Ren