Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50 (NIV)
He is invited to come into the house of one of the Pharisees. Jesus comes to the dinner but an interesting scene unfolds. There is a woman there who came looking for Him. Everyone knows she doesn´t have the best of reputation. She has been living a life of sin. She had not been restraining herself. She has followed her every fancy and given herself to every desire. The host begins to enjoy watching this woman as she fusses over Jesus. Her heart is breaking. In the light and Presence of Jesus, her wayward life is now too much to bear. She clings to Jesus´ feet. She weeps on them. She dries away her tears with her own hair. She kisses His feet and puts perfume on them.
The man who invited Jesus over begins to think to himself that Jesus obviously doesn´t know how bad this girl has been. How could Jesus be a close to God if He cannot see that this woman is a sinner? But what does Jesus do? Does He read what the man is thinking in his heart? Does He attempt to open our understandings? Jesus compares the two kinds of people. There are those of us who approach Jesus in different ways. Could some of us invite Jesus in but not get overly worked up about His Presence? Could we sit back comfortably in our lives and observe curiously what He will do? Or could we realize the poverty and filthiness of our lives? Could our hearts break within us for our need to be near our Savior? Could we approach Him so that He can rectify our waywardness? Will finding us in His Presence make our selfish life look filthy and shameful? Is He the only help we can find to stop chasing the lusts of this world? Could we bring our tears to His feet? Could we kiss them in tender love?
As we observe Christ, He turns our attention to the fact that those who feel they had less to pardon, less love will be returned. Does Jesus´ parable come home to us? Where do we place ourselves in His short description of men and their debts? Can we recognize that the love one can hold for the Lord will be similar? Are we honest to the point where we know in our hearts that if we feel like God forgives a mountain of sin for us, we will love Him in proportion? Have we sensed all that He has done for us? Or are we smug and confident like the Pharisee?
Jesus turns to the woman. He expresses the love she has shone. He remarks on her genuine repentance and approach to her Savior. But He also compares the contrary actions of those who held back from offering Him their attention. Who do we resemble? Are we expressing our love for Him? Has much been forgiven us? Or are we too confident with ourselves? Are we holding something back from our Lord? Are we really coming to Him on our knees? Are we actually carried away with the emotions of passion and love for Him? Our Savior pardoned this sinful woman´s soul that day. Her actions demonstrated her change of heart. Will we be able to say the same for us?
Dear Jesus, if forgiveness is given to those who have faith, then give us more of that. If love for You comes from much pardon, then let us feel the weight of the forgiveness You can give us. If being moved by Your presence can endear us to You, then help us to be like the poor sinful woman of the story who found her forgiveness? Give us that kind of faith we pray!