Daily Devotional - 12 August 2020
“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).
While reading in the book of Luke this morning, I was struck by the fact that while some people were effusive in their praise and worship of Jesus, others were downright miserly. The story I was reading comes from chapter seven and describes the scene that took place at Simon the Pharisee’s house. Simon, also know as Simon the leper, had been earlier healed by Jesus and now had invited Jesus to dine with him as his special guest. During the course of the meal, a woman who was a known ‘sinner’ came to where the meal was taking place and wept at Jesus’ feet. As the tears fell, she wiped his feet with her hair and even anointed them with a special perfume. What a luxuriant display of affection!
But rather than commenting on the gift this woman had bestowed on Jesus, Simon’s thoughts were far more carnal, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner” (Luke 7:39)! Even though he had not spoken the words aloud, Jesus responds to him. He asks Simon to consider the response of two indebted men–one is forgiven a little, the other a rather large sum. Which will be more grateful? Simon, probably sensing the coming rebuke answers, “the one who is forgiven the most, I suppose.” Jesus confirms to him that he is correct and then compares the treatment He has received at the hands of this sinful woman in contrast to that of His host.
Simon had neglected all the usual niceties associated with hosting a dinner party in his day. He hadn’t provided water for his guests to wash their dusty feet; he hadn’t kissed his guests with the customary greeting; he had neglected the courtesy of providing olive oil. His behaviour bordered on outright rudeness. It might even beg the question, did he actually want to be hosting this dinner party? Or did he do it from a sense of obligation–Jesus had healed him after all. On the other hand, the woman had been profuse in her tears and had literally washed Jesus’ feet, drying them off with her hair. She had kissed His feet over and over and then anointed them with perfume. Her gratitude was unmistakable.
What made the difference? Both had experienced Jesus’ touch, yet one’s response is that of effusive praise and worship and the other duty bound and withdrawn. Jesus tells us that the one who is forgiven little shows only a little love, whereas the person who has been forgiven much will demonstrate their love in overflowing quantities. How is it that this disparity in forgiveness exists? Being forgiven much versus just a little? It has to do with the one seeking forgiveness. The one who will not admit their need of a Saviour will experience very little in the way of forgiveness because they are blind to their need; the one whose sin is out in the open for all to see is far quicker to recognize their need. It is in their recognition of their own sinful state that they can experience much forgiveness. The woman could not hide her sin; Simon refused to admit to his. Their experience of God’s grace determined their response to Jesus–an unrestrained flow of love by the woman in comparison to Simon’s self- righteous attitude.
In Jesus’ eyes, Simon was as much in need of forgiveness as the woman; but it is only those who confess their need who will know His overflowing love and grace in their lives. If you don’t feel a deep overflowing love for God, the place to begin may very well be in your estimation of your own attitudes of self-righteousness and your resulting refusal of His grace in your life.
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!