RECOGNITION: This chapter is all about who recognizes Jesus. Two people who wouldn't be expected to recognize Jesus do, and two people who ought to have recognized Him do not.
THOSE WHO SHOULD'VE RECOGNIZED HIM BUT DIDN'T:
JOHN THE BAPTIST: We know from other gospel accounts that John was imprisoned at this time, so he sends two of his disciples out to question Jesus. If John's question had arisen from faith, it would have sounded like 'when will you messianic work as savior really begin?' Instead, John asks the somewhat insulting question of whether or not Jesus was really the savior that John had predicted He would be.
THE PHARISEE NAMED SIMON: Simon thinks he knows how to determine if Jesus were a prophet; if that were the case then Jesus would condemn the sinful woman. But Simon was looking for the wrong thing: a prophet, not a Savior. Had Simon really understood the writings of the prophets he knew so well, he would have more accurately predicted how Jesus would have reacted to the woman.
Notice that Jesus doesn't address either John or Simon directly when He responds to their inquiries, nor does Luke even bother to record their reactions to Jesus' reply, accentuating the loneliness caused by their lack of faith.
THOSE WHO WEREN'T EXPECTED TO RECOGNIZE JESUS BUT DID:
THE CENTURION: A centurion (a commander of one hundred Roman soldiers) is about as pagan as they come. Yet so often centurions show kindness to either Jesus or His followers, because like the centurion in this chapter, they see Jesus through the eyes of faith, not preconceived religious / social expectations.
THE SINFUL WOMAN: Luke's narration treats this woman kindly by just referring to her as being 'sinful,' but it's clear that her sins go beyond ordinary sinfulness. It's curious that this woman seemed familiar with the Pharisee's house and that he was familiar with her reputation (v39). Yet the unspoken repentance she offers comes from pure faith, and she recognizes Jesus as the Savior He is.
Jesus responds to those who come to Him in true faith with a sense of respect (v9, 44-47) and by granting the requests that they came to Him with.
AAA Prayer Tips:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God, who has come to help His people (v16)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Acknowledge that God's way is right (v29)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: