Forgiven Much, Love Much

JESUS SPEAKING

Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher say it.” “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And he said to him, “You have rightly judged.” Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 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.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7: 36 – 50)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Jesus agrees to dine with a Pharisee in his home. Upon arriving, He is refused several customary gestures reserved for honored guests. He is not greeted with a kiss, His feet are not washed, and His head isn’t anointed with any fragrant oil. The religious leader, believing himself to be righteous, discovered little value in the gospel message. And yet a harlot woman who had lived her entire life in abject sin, experienced a new birth; she felt the magnitude of God’s forgiveness through Christ; and in an instant she was transformed. Her newfound faith compelled her to honor Jesus. She kissed his feet; she washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair; she also anointed him with perfume. Through this interaction we are introduced to a solid biblical truth; ‘those who are forgiven much, love much; but those who are forgiven little, love little.’

As the story goes, in 1896, Captain Alfred Bertrand was traveling through South Africa when he arrived in the region of the Barotsi people. He had heard stories of the native King Lewanika, whose greatest delight had been torturing his enemies in cruel and unusual ways before murdering them. He was a brutal, sadistic, and Godless man; which produced his nickname; “the human tiger.” Upon arriving in the region, Captain Bertrand met with a local missionary and Pastor named Monsieur Coillard. On sunday, as a matter of politeness, the French soldier attended church. When he came out of the service, he asked Pastor Coillard, “Who was that remarkable looking man sitting next to me, who listened so carefully?” “That was King Lewanika, ‘the human tiger,'” he replied. “Was it really?” he inquired again. “Yes,” responded Coillard. “Then if that is what Christ can do, I mean to be His,” muttered Captain Bertrand.

Like King Lewanika, those whose lives are steeped in sin, are often the most willing to hear the message of forgiveness and receive salvation. In turn, the prior degenerates, having experienced the depths of God’s mercy, are reborn and reformed. They become compelled to worship God and to follow His commandments and virtuous principles. As a result, genuine believers will display authentic affection for others; every act of kindness is a reminder to the lost that God is alive; and that He is calling them to repent and return to Him.

“Lord Heavenly Father, may we experience Your complete forgiveness, and never forget how merciful You have been toward us. May we remain humble and seek to love all those we meet, as we preach the gospel of grace to those who need to be forgiven, reconciled, and reborn. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit Lord, that we might choose what is good. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you!


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