Today, we read the story of the sinful woman who anoints Jesus in Luke 7 and in this passage we see that true forgiveness leads to love. Jesus was invited into the home of Simon, the Pharisee and while they were there a sinful woman comes in and pours expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet. She washes Jesus feet with her tears and hair and kisses the feet of Jesus in an act of pure devotion. Simon, the Pharisee, didn’t greet Jesus the way a man of honor would greet his guest. He didn’t kiss Jesus. Simon did not wash His feet and he didn’t anoint His head. But the woman, this sinful woman, greeted Jesus in the way that Simon should have, with a passion and fervor that was worthy of who Jesus is.
To everyone looking at these people at the dinner party, they couldn’t have been more different. One was a righteous man. One was a sinful woman. One was an honored person in their community. One was a person of shame. One knew the depth of their own sin and one knew the depth of everyone else's sin but their own. And one knew how to love. And one knew how to judge. You see the reality was that both the sinful woman and the Pharisee were equally far from God. They were both lost in their sin. They both had a debt that they could not pay back. They were both desperately in need of Jesus’ forgiveness. But only the sinful woman realized it.
I wonder if all too often we’ve become so comfortable in our Christianity that we forget the beauty of the gospel message. That while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. His death didn’t cost more for me because I’m a worse sinner than you. And you don’t have to be ashamed of your sin because Christ has made you clean. There’s no use pretending to be holier than I am because God knows who I really am and He loves me. True forgiveness from Jesus should lead us to love. True recognition of who we are without Jesus should lead us to love. When we remember just how far away from God we were, we should love more fervently, more graciously, and more freely. We can have great mercy on others when we remember the great mercy that God has had on you and me.
As I look at this sinful woman, I realize that I want to love Jesus and others more like she did. I want my love for God and my love for others not to come from my own good works but only from the deep love that I have received first…straight from Jesus. God loved us first and gave His life for us. God knows the depth of sin and the lack of faith in my life, and He still calls me His daughter. I have been forgiven much, and therefore I love much. I want to love people like the sinful woman did so that I can have compassion on others who are struggling with sin. I want to love like the sinful woman did so that I don’t look at judgmental modern day Pharisees and develop a heart of bitterness towards them. Because He loved me first, I can love Him and others like the sinful woman did.