Luke 7:48 & 50 (KJV)
“And He said unto her, thy sins are forgiven…
And He said to the woman, thy faith hath saved thee go in peace.”
In this outstanding story a Pharisee desired Jesus to come and eat at his house. In those days people would cook outdoors and if a very important guest came to the house of an important leader in the city, many guests would be found gathered around a short stone walled perimeter. It was common for them to sit upon the stone wall. People would listen to what was being said. It was not uncommon so it gives a background to this story.
The bible says that a woman who was a sinner was standing near the wall. It was taboo to go over the stone wall and approach as a non-invited guest. It was even more profound that she was a woman. Who was a sinner and that she would go beyond that boundary to approach Jesus. In all her brokenness, she had one thing very straight. That was, she somehow instinctively knew that Jesus would receive her. The picture is startling. She took ointment that was worth a year’s wages and standing at Jesus’ feet without invitation she begins to weep while washing his feet with her tears. At that point she wipes his feet clean with the hairs of her head. While she is doing this, she is kissing his feet and anointing them with oil. It is one of the most outstanding pictures of a sinner entering into a moment of grace. Immediately we are jarred to attention in this story because the heart of a religious person was now saying to himself, “If He was a prophet; He would have known what kind of woman was touching Him.” Because Jesus was a prophet, he says to Simon, the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you” and then told him a brief story about a creditor and a debtor. The point He made was very poignant. Who would love him the most in light of the forgiveness of the debt?” Would it be the one who owed the most or the one who owed the least? The answer was obvious. It is the one who is forgiven most.
I see here how grace works. It makes clear the bankruptcy of religion. It also makes clear the narrowness, the focus, and the insensitivity that comes with it. It also vividly shows how far grace will go. When she was washing His feet with her tears, wiping them with the hairs of her head, and kissing his feet unceasingly anointing his head with oil; I am struck by the profoundness of her love. It is also a very keen insight into the heart of God. Grace makes it clear that her life was changed forever. She knew she would be forgiven. She understood that even though her approach was improper, she would be received and she would be forgiven. To me that should be the heart of every church. Jesus loved her and He forgave her. I think if you fall in love with Jesus, you will know the complete forgiveness of your sins. Know that it is His love empowering you to be different, never to be the same. Let me conclude by asking,
“Why would you ever want to go back to sin. Why would you ever consider in the remotest way to bring yourself under religious systems of rejection and pain when Jesus offers you nothing but life and forgiveness?”
God doesn’t give grace in little amounts. It is overflowing and powerful. It is enough to keep you for a life time, never again fearing that somehow, someway you will have exhausted the love and mercy of God.