How much do you feel God’s forgiveness of your sins is actually worth?
Luke 7:36-50 (focusing on 36-39)
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Yet another touching story of Jesus interacting with ordinary people and showing how God’s grace is much more than the laws written in the Scripture. We don’t know what the woman’s sin was exactly, but it was enough to make her infamous. Her reputation would have been hanging over her every day, everywhere she went. Maybe she never imagined she could ever be forgiven.
She throws herself at Jesus’ feet and shows incredible love and respect for him, even before he’s said anything to her. She already has faith in what he can do for her, and like Jesus says it counts to her credit. And I don’t think that the other people at the table are necessarily closer to God just because they don’t have the reputation this woman has – according to Jesus, they may be even worse off because they don’t understand the value of forgiveness.
The interaction with Simon the Pharisee is interesting too – he’s gone out of his way to invite Jesus to his home, but quickly drops pretences and dismisses Jesus as a prophet as soon as he sees the woman. And then Jesus goes on to say that Simon has hardly been acting like a proper host. Simon’s attempt to humiliate Jesus ends up turning on himself.
Head: Have you ever thought of forgiveness from God as a debt being lifted? What’s the worst debt you’ve experienced, and what difference would it make if it was gone?
Heart: If you were able to meet Jesus like this woman did, how would you react to his forgiveness?
Hands: Even though we can’t physically see Jesus right now, are there other ways to show gratitude for his forgiveness?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your boundless forgiveness and mercy. Help us to understand the depth and the weight of our sins, to properly appreciate the great debt we have. And remind us always that it’s not a debt we can pay back ourselves. The ultimate debt had the ultimate price on the cross. Your forgiveness can’t be repaid, but it can be honoured and shared. Amen.
A song to listen to: This is Amazing Grace
Zoe Harland- Creek Road Presbyterian Church- Carina