“Then He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven. And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ Then He said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.’” (Luke 7:48-50)
The words above – “your sins are forgiven” are the sweetest words God could ever utter and man could ever hear. The knowledge of being forgiven is truly a blessing. But there is another important lesson we learn from this great story – it is a revelation of the character of the one that spoke those words!
During Jesus’ second year of public ministry he was invited to the home of Simon, a Pharisee. The exact reason for this invitation is not revealed. Perhaps Simon saw potential in Jesus or perhaps he was just curious. After the guest arrived an uninvited visitor comes into the room. This woman, rightly identified as a sinner, throws herself at Jesus’ feet. She anoints his feet with a precious ointment and wipes them with her tears and her hair. Simon and his other guest are scandalized by her presence. Every eye in that room was focused on her, but the eyes of Jesus. Jesus appreciative of this woman’s devotion and disappointed in the attitude of Simon is instead looking at Simon!
One can only imagine how Simon must have felt when Jesus gave that piercing look and said, “Simon, I have something to say to you”. The important lesson here about gratefulness is illustrated by both a parable as well as the conduct of the woman. However, the pure motive of Jesus is also revealed.
Jesus is the only one in this setting that seems perfectly comfortable. He, unlike Simon and friends, has no agenda except to redeem man from sin. He has perfect love and appreciation for the woman’s undivided devotion. He has genuine concern for Simon and his hypocrisy. How many times in Jesus’ ministry did he touch a heart by saying, “your sins are forgiven, go sin no more”? How many times did convict the sinner with piercing words?
So what about my life? He is to be my example! Have I so distorted the image so that I can pursue my selfish ambitions? Jesus did not just die so that I could be forgiven! He gave me the challenge of a higher life! He wants me to be pure in heart just like him!
By George Slover, Jr.