Meditations from Luke
One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “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.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 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.” (Luk 7:36-48)
Today I heard a sermon about this story that really made me think. Simon grumbled because Jesus was letting this sinful woman wash His feet with her tears. He thought, “Why should Jesus waste His time with her?” Jesus replies to his questions with this story. The point? Jesus says, “If you, Peter (if you, Joe), truly understood the depth of your sin, you would run to me for mercy in the same way. You would be crying and washing my feet with your tears too. But all you do, (Joe), is take me for granted. Furthermore, (Joe), you don’t think you’re that bad. You’re always minimizing your sin in your own eyes, and you try to put on a good face all the time so no one else will know what really lurks inside of you.”
It strikes me how much more I would love Christ if I, like the woman in this story, spent some time focusing on how horrendous my sin is in the sight of God. If I truly come to terms with the truth that I have committed infinite offenses against an infinitely holy God, I’m going to see myself as the “chief of sinners”, as Paul did. I will never understand it fully anyway, but by God’s grace I can get a taste of this truth. But I must not stop there. I MUST turn from my sin to an infinitely merciful and gracious God who loved me and gave Himself for me “while I was yet a sinner.” And when I do, I will be moved to express my love and joy in Christ outwardly. It will be so rich that I will not be able to contain myself…just like the woman in the story. “He who has been forgiven much loves much…” I have been forgiven much…I am the chief of sinners…and I pray that God will help me see that truth more fully as I immerse myself in the gospel.
“I am a great sinner…and CHRIST is a great Savior.” – John Newton