Photo by Rodolfo Sanches Carvalho on Unsplash

Scripture Reading: Luke 7:36-50.

“He said to Shim ‘on (Simon), Do you see this woman? I came into your house — you didn’t give me water for my feet, but this woman has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair! You didn’t give me a kiss; but from the time I arrived, this woman has not stopped kissing my feet! You didn’t put oil on my head, but this woman poured perfume on my feet! Because of this, I tell you that her sins — which were many! — have been forgiven, because she loved much. But someone who has been forgiven only a little loves only a little.” (Luke 7:44-47)

“Then he said to her, ‘Your sins have been forgiven.'”  (Luke 7:48)

“Your trust has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)

When the very important local Pharisee invited Me to dinner at his house he was only doing so out of curiosity. His real motive was not because he loved Me, but because he wanted to argue scripture with Me and find something that he might criticize Me for or find fault with.

I, however, went because I knew that it was another of those life-changing appointments which the Father had arranged for Me and a certain woman of sin, who was known by all the people of the city as “the fallen woman.”

She was the Jewish counterpart of the “Woman of Samaria.” She was hated, feared, and rejected by the “‘good” citizens of the city. She never went near a synagogue; and most of the local rabbis wouldn’t even look at her, let alone speak to her.

However, she too, was crying out in her soul to be forgiven for her sins. She had heard rumours that I forgave people. So when she heard that I was at the house of the Pharisee she braved the scorn and rejection she knew she would receive from the crowd, and she brought her most precious possession, a box of ointment. It was with great fear and trepidation that she entered the house. She knew she was hated and unwanted by the Pharisee, and that he would be embarrassed to have her enter his house. She was afraid that the servants would never allow her to come inside; but because of the big crowd, she escaped their notice until she fell at My feet, weeping and pouring out her ointment upon Me, mingling the perfume with her tears.

Now, the custom of our people was such that when a guest arrived at the house of his host, his feet would be washed, either by one of the servants or by the host himself. A drop or two of anointing oil was poured upon the head of the guest. It was an old custom, as old as the time when My people were in the wilderness and Moses instructed them to anoint the heads of the priests before they went into the Tabernacle to serve God. (Leviticus 8:12) David wrote about it in Psalm 23 when he said, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” (vs. 5)

The washing of the feet was for the outer cleansing; but the anointing of the head with oil was for the inner sanctification and healing of the body and the soul, so that the guest could enjoy the hospitality of the host and the table that was set before him.

When the sinner woman began to weep at My feet, I immediately sensed the hostile and critical attitude of My host. I knew that he was thinking, “If this man were a true prophet, he would know what kind of woman she is, and that she is a big sinner.”

I looked at him and said, “Shim’on, I have something to say to you.”

The atmosphere was getting intense, as He answered, “Say it, Rabbi!”

I began by telling him a parable which I knew he could understand. “A certain creditor had two debtors; the one owed ten times as much as the other. When they were unable to pay him back, he cancelled both their debts.” Then I asked him, “Now, which of them will love him more?”

“I suppose the one for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” he answered.

“Your judgment is right” I said to him.

Then turning to the woman, I began to compare difference between his heart and hers! His gratitude to God, and hers! His love for Me, and hers!

When I finished making the comparison, he was very embarrassed.

Then I had to do something that stung him to the core of his heart. I forgave the woman all her sins — right then and there.

He should have fallen on his face before Me and begged for forgiveness also — forgiveness for his pride, his critical spirit, and his lack of love for God and his fellow men. But he never did.

Instead, he hardened his heart, and I left his house without being able to forgive him his sins, because he never asked me to.

Sins forgiven are no sins.

Sins unconfessed are unforgiven sins.

 

 

From the Heart of Jesus by Gwen Shaw
Available from our webstore: