“I tell you, her sins – and they are many – have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” LUKE 7:47 NLT
This week our scripture focus is Luke 7:36-48 – we’re taking a look at the whole story surrounding this verse, and using the New Living Translation (though you can also take a look at the ESV translation if you prefer):
36 “One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” Then Jesus answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.” “Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied. Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people – 500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their depts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.” “That’s right,” Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. “I tell you, her sins – and they are many – have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love. Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” – LUKE 7:36-48 NLT
I love coffee. Just a little bit of honey and a dash of cinnamon and I am good to go. Like most people, I drink my coffee out of a coffee mug. However, my black and white checkered coffee mug is near to my heart. It is old, worn down, chipped, and has a crack on one side, but, it is still my most favored mug.
In this passage, Jesus directly calls upon Simon’s way of thinking when the woman enters his home. Simon says, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”
Jesus shares a story with Simon in verses 41-43, an example of forgiveness. When Simon understands correctly what Jesus tells him, Jesus says, “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.”
What Simon saw as a dinner interruption by a sinner, Jesus saw as a woman expressing her gratitude for God’s forgiveness. Just like my old, broken, worn coffee mug that I hold so near because of its flaws, Jesus too draws closer to us, even still, despite our flaws, because of His loving forgiveness.
Scripture reminds us that He sees past our brokenness, our cracks, our worn edges, and our faults. Romans 5:20 states, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” This concept comes off as a profound mystery to many. Christ, being perfectly holy, knows and feels the weight of sin more deeply than any of us sinful ones ever could; just as purer a man’s heart, the more deeply saddened he is at the thought of his neighbors being robbed or abused. And on the other hand, the more corrupt one’s heart, the less one is affected by the darkness all around.
The guilt and shame of those in Christ is outstripped by His abounding grace, His unceasing forgiveness, and His love toward His people. Sometimes it’s hard to show forgiveness when we ourselves feel like we haven’t received much forgiveness – key word in that sentence is “feel”. Even if our circumstances haven’t called for much outward forgiveness, we all need Jesus’ internal and eternal forgiveness. Once we see our own personal need for God’s mercy and love, we then will be able to share it with others, to share love for all.
As you consider this scripture and these thoughts this week, reflect on these questions:
1. In what ways have you related to Simon’s reaction toward the woman interrupting the dinner? Have you ever thought about Jesus knowing your thoughts in that moment?
2. Write a prayer to God today, asking for forgiveness and mercy. Ask Him for eyes to love all His people, and for help where forgiveness is hard to give.
Connect with more information about the Love For All Weekly Devotion and additional resources at SPLDECATUR.ORG/LOVEFORALL and SHARE your thoughts, questions, and prayers with us HERE.