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Related Bible reading(s): Luke 7.36–8.3

Present the reading and Talk together

Luke 7.36 - 8.3: Two ways to tell the story, followed by ideas for discussion time.

Present the reading

Jesus has dinner at a Pharisee’s house and a woman comes in, weeping. She washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and anoints them with ointment, as a symbol of gratitude for forgiveness.

Simon was a Pharisee who had invited Jesus to dinner. Did Simon offer to wash Jesus’ feet when he entered his house? No. Did Simon kiss him as a sign of welcome? No.

They sat at the table. Then a woman came in with a jar full of ointment. She stood, weeping, behind Jesus and tears fell onto his feet. Kneeling and still sobbing, the woman washed them, drying them with her hair. Simon was furious. He thought to himself, ‘If Jesus was a prophet, he would know this woman is a sinner. He wouldn’t let her touch him.’

The woman kissed Jesus’ feet and anointed them with ointment. Jesus saw Simon’s anger, so he asked him a question. ‘A man was owed money by two people. One owed him five hundred denarii, the other fifty. The man cancelled both debts. Who do you think was the most thankful?’ Simon answered, ‘The one who owed the most money.’ ‘Yes,’ said Jesus.

‘Now, look at this woman,’ he continued. ‘She has bathed my feet. You didn’t do this when I entered your house. She used her tears and dried my feet with her hair. She has kissed me and anointed me with ointment. You did neither of these things. Her sins, which were many, have been forgiven, which is why she shows such great love.’

After addressing Simon, Jesus turned to the woman, saying, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ Some of Simon’s other guests grumbled, ‘Who does he think he is, forgiving sins?’ Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’

denarii small silver Roman coins. One denarius was a worker’s daily wage. 500 denarii was about a year and a half’s wages.

Pharisee a group who kept the Jewish law very strictly. Most of them felt that Jesus was not strict enough.

to anoint with ointment to rub with sweet-smelling ointment, as a religious ceremony.

Choose from these two ways of telling the story:

Foot washing/massage 
Sit in a circle on cushions on the floor, and invite the children to take off their shoes and socks. Provide a bowl of warm water in which to wash each other’s feet, in pairs, and then dry them with a towel, as you tell the story. Alternatively, pass round a tube of nice-smelling hand cream, and let everyone rub a little bit into the palm of the person sitting on their left.

Parts of the body 
Beforehand, teach the children the following actions to go with these words: feet (touch feet); kiss/ed (blow a kiss); tears (trace tears down cheeks); hair (touch hair); love (hand on heart).

As you read the story, encourage them to listen out for the words and do the appropriate action.


Talk together

  • How does it feel when you go somewhere and people won’t speak to you?
  • Why might the woman in the story be crying?
  • Why do you think that Jesus and Simon react differently to the woman anointing Jesus’ feet?
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