Your Sins Are Forgiven

Who is this, who even forgives sins?

Luke 7:36-50 (ESV)

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

It’s still all about justice. When we think of justice, we normally think that “just” means the guilty get convicted and the innocent get acquitted. “Unjust” is when the innocent get convicted or the guilty get off.

But that assumes the defendant claims he’s innocent. When one is repentant (pleads guilty) everything changes. Justice is established perfectly – something mere conviction doesn’t do.

Chuck Colson used to say that in a prison it’s easy to tell who the Christians are; they’re the ones who are guilty. That pokes fun at the way convicts claim to be innocent. In the kingdom of heaven all that silliness about being innocent is left behind.

Jesus’ parable implies that the difference between the sinner-woman and Simon the Pharisee is merely quantitative; they both need forgiveness. That should have gotten Simon’s attention.

Unfortunately, though he should have seen his guilt and repented, it doesn’t look like he did.

He’s never mentioned again.

Every soul lost is a tragedy, but the ones who came close are more distressing. We all know of these “close call” cases.

When a loved one fails to come to Christ, it tugs at our heartstrings – especially if they had a moment where they seemed on the brink. It’s hard to accept the Lord’s will in things like this.

But you never know what He has planned. So don’t stop praying. If you need an opportunity to share Christ, ask for that. If you need courage, ask for that. And definitely ask God to change their heart.

That part’s not your job.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.