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Luke 7:47 “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
Luke 7:36-50 tells the story of Jesus being at a Pharisee’s home when a woman comes in and expresses the great love she has for Him through weeping and wiping His feet with her tears and anointing His feet with oil. The Pharisee couldn’t understand her expression of love for Jesus or why He would allow such a sinner as her to do that. Jesus contrasted the way the Pharisee had welcomed Him without expressing a love for Him by not even giving Him water to wash His feet, and the way she had expressed her great love for Him, by saying, “her sins which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” He was telling the Pharisee that sin, whether small or large in his viewpoint, could be forgiven and this woman understood the devastation of her sin and His ability to forgive and save her from it.
There are two key words in this verse of scripture that, through looking at their definitions, can give us an understanding of the magnitude of what Jesus was saying: sins and forgiven.
The Greek word for sins is hamartia – which means literally “missing the mark”, failure, offense, taking the wrong course, wrongdoing, sin, guilt.
The Greek word for forgiven is aphiemi – it means to let go, send away, remit, forgive.
The woman who came to Jesus had committed many sins throughout her life. She had missed the mark of God’s righteousness and had taken the wrong course in life evidence by the way she lived. It was clearly known that she was a sinner. The Pharisee had spoken to himself in verse 39 that if Jesus were really a prophet He would have known who this woman was and what manner of lifestyle she was living, for “she is a sinner”. He had judged her sin as being greater than his. Jesus brought clarification to this man’s understanding of sin; it being simply that sin is sin, regardless of whether or not we think one sin is greater than another, and when a person understands the enormity of their sin and how much He has forgiven them, their expression is much love.
In our humanity we often categorize sin as being little or much. But regardless of whether we view our sin as small or large, we all are sinners and in Him there is forgiveness. The depth of our sin has no limitation on His ability to forgive. This woman placed her faith in Him to forgive her sin and in return expressed her great love for Him because of His love for her. He later told her that it was her “faith”, her confident trust and belief placed in Him, that had saved her. When she looked to Him, knelt at His feet, anointing His feet with oil, she expressed her confident assurance and reliance on Him to deliver her from spiritual death and to give her new life.
Friends, none of us are able to overcome or change the course of life we have taken. Romans 3:23 says that we have “ALL” sinned. We have all fallen short of God’s glory; none of us, through our own human ability, is able to change the course of our life. I had a very dear friend, Betty, tell me one time that you can’t pick up spilled milk and you can’t unscramble eggs. We can’t go back and change any part of life regardless of how much we would like to. But there is One who can change our lives, who can wash away the sin that taints us. His name is Jesus.
Just as Jesus forgave the sin of that woman in the scripture reference so He can forgive your sin and mine. He forgave when He went to the cross to pay for our sin. But it’s not appropriated, or made effective, in our lives until we acknowledge that sin, ask Him to save us and confess Him as Savior and Lord of our lives. We do that through prayer and confession.
Romans 10:9, 10; 13 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
Jesus told the woman in our story in Luke 7:50 that it was her “faith” that saved her. Faith is placing your complete confidence in the finished work of Jesus on the cross that paid for our sin and then evidencing it through the belief in your heart and the confession of your mouth. To be “saved”, according to scripture, you must believe in your heart who Jesus is, what He did for you, and then by personally confessing Him as Savior and Lord you make that belief yours.
My friend, have you personally received the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ? Have you acknowledged your sin before Him and ask Him to be your own personal Savior and Lord? If not, today can be your day of salvation. Today can be the day that you see all your wrongdoing washed away through the blood of Jesus. It’s very simple, just pray and confess your sin to the Father and ask Jesus into your heart to be your Savior. If you would like to receive Jesus as your Savior today, please pray this prayer with me:
Father God, I come before You today acknowledging that I am a sinner. I have missed the mark of Your righteousness. I have lived my life to please myself, doing my own thing, living a life that led me down the wrong course, away from You, instead of towards you. I believe that Jesus is Your Son, that He lived a sinless life on this earth and went to the cross to pay the penalty for my sin. I ask You, Lord Jesus, to forgive me and cleanse me of my sin. I ask You to come into my heart and life to be my own personal Lord and Savior. I thank You for loving me and for forgiving me of my sin. I confess You, Jesus, as my Savior and Lord and I promise from this day forward that I will live my life to please You. Thank You for saving me! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer for the first time today, you are now a part of the family of God. Welcome to my family! You have made the most important decision of your life! Your eternity is sealed by the Holy Spirit and you have a home awaiting you in the presence of God in heaven. Congratulations!