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Such a Great Forgiveness

Whenever we come seeking it. Luke 7.36-50

Luke 7 (6)

Pray Psalm 25.6, 7.
Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.

Sing Psalm 25.6, 7.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
Remember mercy, Lord, and steadfast love to me!
And all my sins before You let them not remembered be!

My sins have been of old, Your love is new each day.
According to Your goodness, Lord, regard my sinful way.

Read Luke 7.1-50; meditate on verses 36-50.


1. How would you describe the attitude of the woman with the flask of oil?

2. How would you describe the attitude of the Pharisee?

Sin is a terrible affliction, and it strikes every person. Sin makes self the center of the world and seeks to supplant God as lawgiver and judge. Sin blocks our prayers, poisons our soul, imprisons virtue, and deprives others of lovingkindness. Sin is a terrible affliction.

The woman with the flask of oil understood this. Note her responses to her sinfulness (vv. 37, 38). First, she wept. She was deeply distressed and troubled by her sin. Second, she appealed to Jesus, giving Him not only her tears but her most precious possession. She honored him by her humility and her selflessness.

Her actions revealed the condition of her heart – contrite, self-giving, seeking the Lord. Jesus forgave her sins, though they were many. The Pharisee scoffed because he regarded himself to be above such degrading behavior (v. 39). He had spent years convincing himself of his righteousness, and he had no sympathy for anyone who was not like him.

Jesus’ parable pinned an indictment on Simon the Pharisee’s chest (vv. 43-47): “You are the man!” And He did this publicly, at the same time, forgiving the woman her many sins (v. 48). Simon and his guests were shocked – shocked! – that Jesus forgave her sins. But they asked the right question: “Who is this who even forgives sins?” (v. 49)

The great forgiveness of Jesus is available to us always, no matter how many or how heinous our sins. But we must perceive the terribleness of sin, deplore and despise it, and long to be rid of it now and forever. Then come to Jesus and give yourself to Him anew. He will forgive, and He will grant you peace.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The woman was mightily aware of her sin, and it not only made her sorrowful, it led her to be civil, by showing great love, care, and attention to Jesus and His needs. On the other hand, Simon’s hypocrisy displayed itself in rudeness, neglecting the little niceties that Jesus was expecting from His host.

Simon, Jesus said, “I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet…you gave Me no kiss….you did not anoint My head with oil” but this woman “has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head” and she “has not ceased to kiss My feet” and “has anointed My feet with fragrant oil” (Lk. 7.44-47). Courteously and politely.

Furthermore, she planned ahead. “When she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, [she] brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil” (Lk. 7.37). She had a plan, a heart full of love for Jesus, and the means to show Him.

Civility is defined as “formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “civilized conduct or a polite act or expression.” Both definitions describe behavior befitting believers. Jesus certainly praised it. If He expected Simon to be civil and courteous, then He also expects that from us.

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Rom. 12.10).
“…all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous…” (1 Pet. 3.8).
“…add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love” (2 Pet. 1.5-7).

Ask anyone who has been hurt by the church and they will tell you that Christians can be a very rude lot and uncivil to boot. Considering that, let us always make sure that we are never behaving toward others, or Christ, like Simon did; but that we are always prepared, like the woman, to show love to our Savior and to those in our Personal Mission Field.

We are sinful people owing far more than five hundred denarii (Lk. 7.41), who are forgiven by God through the gracious work of Jesus Christ—so let us love much. Courteously and civilly.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise” (Ps. 51.17). “Such a Great Forgiveness.”

For reflection
1. Why is it important that we not lose sight of the fact that, though forgiven, we are still sinners?

2. How would you expect people in your Personal Mission Field to respond to your courteous and civil demeanor?

3. How do you show Jesus that you are grateful for the great forgiveness He has extended to you?

without free forgiveness none of us can escape the wrath to come; this our gracious Savior has purchased with his blood, that he may freely bestow it on every one that believes in him. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Luke 7.36-50

Pray Psalm 25.11-18.
Thank God for forgiving your sins. Confess and repent of any sins He brings to mind. Call on Him to guard your steps today and to keep you through every temptation and trial.

Sing Psalm 25.11-18.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
For Your sake, Lord, forgive.  All they who fear You, Lord,
shall know Your blessings day by day and follow in Your Word.

Your friends are they who fear and seek Your holy face;
Your covenant with them You share and save them by Your grace.

Be gracious, Lord, to me; my heart is weighed with woe.
My troubles and affliction see; let my transgressions go.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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