Read Luke 7:40-50.
Suppose someone came to your house right now and said they were taking care of all your debts: mortgage, car note, credit cards, and medical bills? The forgiveness of temporal and temporary debts would certainly be like a massive weight lifted off your shoulders. It would be a relief and open up possibilities for the future. Jesus Christ responded to a woman with a desperate need in today’s passage. It also opened up a teachable moment for those around Him about the depth of God’s love and the sureness of His forgiveness.
The scene was of a dinner. The host was Simon the Pharisee. Jesus was his guest. In the midst of the meal, a woman entered the room. She was a notorious sinner and well-known around town for it. As Jesus reclined at the table, the woman approached Him and began to cry profusely. She washed Jesus’s feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and, finally, anointed His feet with perfume. The host was aghast at this display. If Jesus were truly a prophet, he thought, he would know what kind of woman this was. Jesus did know. He knew the lives and thoughts of both people. He posed a hypothetical question to Simon about two debtors who owed large amounts of money but were forgiven. Which one would love the creditor more? The answer seems simple and Simon got it in one try as the one who owed more.
Then Jesus said something curious, “Do you see this woman?” Of course everyone could see her. How could they not with her display? This was the teachable moment, as Jesus challenged everyone at the table to look deeper, not just at the woman, but at themselves. In the woman, Jesus saw a broken heart and a longing for forgiveness. And He gave forgiveness to her. Simon the Pharisee did not believe he needed forgiveness. Simon believed that, because he followed the rituals of the Law, he was all right. However, he was just as unclean as the woman.
Jesus told the woman that her faith had saved and that she could go in peace. A world of new possibilities opened up for the woman now that she had received forgiveness. It was possible for her to move on. Isn’t it the same way with us? Jesus offers us forgiveness. When we receive it in repentance and faith, we can move forward with our lives with a new purpose: to follow Him.