“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” These words are what Jesus spoke to a a woman that was described as a devoted sinner. The story takes place while Jesus is having dinner with a Pharisee. The man was a part of an elite and small group of religious leaders who believed that strict obedience to every detail of God’s law was what made one righteous before God. When Jesus entered this man’s house the Pharisee neglected to wash Jesus’ feet or greet him or give him the customary hospitality.
Yet this devoted sinner found out that Jesus was at this man’s house. As she entered, she would not even stand in front of him as she poured expensive ointment over his feet from behind. Feeling the weight of her sin she wept tears of anguish that poured over the feet of the man that would one day have nails driven through them. She used her hair to wipe off the tears from the flesh that would one day be ripped open because of her very sin.
The Pharisee, witnessing this scene, looked on in disgust and thought to himself, “If this Jesus really were a man of God he would have never allowed this woman to even touch him.” Jesus, knowing his thoughts, began to tell him a story. The story was about a lender who had two people that owed him money. The first person owed him 20 months worth of wages while the second person owned the lender two months worth of wages. The lender unexpectedly forgave them both their debt. Jesus asked the Pharisee, “Who do you suppose had more love for the lender.” The Pharisee correctly replied that the one who was forgiven the larger debt had more love for the lender.
Jesus used the story to reveal to the man his self-righteousness. Jesus said that she showed great love because her sins, which were many, were forgiven. We are the sinful woman in this story. We need a Savior who was mocked, beaten, flogged, and spit upon. We need a Savior whose skull had thorns driven into it and whose flesh was ripped apart. We need Jesus Christ to forgive the magnificent debt for which our sin put him on the cross.
It was not this woman’s performance, reputation or adherence to a set of rules that saved her. It was her faith that brought her to Jesus a sinner and sent her away in peace. This faith is what caused a well spring of love the overflow in her heart.
Peter reminds his readers in II Peter 1:9 that it is possible for us to forget this. “For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” This morning, as we come before God in prayer, consider the former sins of which Jesus’ death saved you. Don’t forget it. Let your faith rise on God’s past, present and future grace that forgives us of sins and makes us his children for whom he loves. We were under wrath but are now under grace.
Allow your mind to think on these precious and great promises and ask God for it to be a motivator to fight sin in the future. Let’s go before God in prayer and confess our sin to him and thank him for his grace which will fuel our trust and obedience in his conditional promises like Philippians 4:6-7.