Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered 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 from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:44-50 ESVIf you have been in church long, you have heard this passage before. The prideful pharisee, the sinful woman, and Jesus dealing with both of their hearts. But as I read this passage this morning, I am really struck by the glaring differences between the woman and the Pharisee.
You see a few verses before in 7:30, Luke tells us that the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him (John the Baptist). Then a couple of verses down, we see Simon inviting Jesus into his home.
Simon, a Pharisee, clearly didn't fully understand the depth of his sin (although it was great indeed!), but this woman, knew the depths of hers!
She also knew that there was something about Jesus.
Something about Jesus that made her want to risk complete humiliation.
Something about Jesus, that was worthy of her praise, and her oil.
Something about Jesus that evoked tears of sorrow, repentance, and maybe some joy.
As a result of this woman's faith, Jesus forgives her sins....and she loves much. But not Simon. He questions Jesus as a prophet, and puts him to the test. Sort of! See Simon is quite the coward in comparison to this woman. He doubts Jesus, but only in His mind. Unfortunately for him, Jesus knew that. Unfortunately for him, he was not forgiven in the same way this woman was (at least not in this passage). Unfortunately for him, he didn't experience that love that flows freely from an understanding of forgiveness.This lady knew that there was something about Jesus, but Simon completely missed it.
I think it is great to talk about grace. I think it is great to talk about love. But unless we deal with just how hideous our sin is, grace means very little, and love is just some feeling that we chase after.
Whether you lived a life of blatant and obvious sin, or a life that looked good on the outside, while pride, idolatry or self loathing seeped down deep in your heart, before Christ you were nothing more than a complete, hopeless, evil sinner! And neither was I. However, in Christ, we are no longer that person, only because of His great grace.
Grace is so much more than God saying you don't have to try so hard to please me. Grace is knowing that our sin, be it small or huge, was leading us straight to an eternity in hell.
But in Christ, that sin has been forgiven, and we no longer have to fear the wrath of God. We can walk as His children, and live a life that pleases Him.
Because of that...I can love Him, and love others!
In my life, much has been forgiven, and my prayer is that I would respond to that forgiveness with much love!