I tell you, her sins, which were many, are forgiven, thus she loved much; but the one who is forgiven little loves little. – Luke 7:47
37 When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume.
38 Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”
40 Then Jesus answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.” “Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied.
41 Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people – 500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other.”
42 “But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?”
43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.” “That’s right,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair.”
45 “You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet.”
46 “You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.”
47 “I tell you, her sins – and they are many – have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”
48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?”
50 And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Secular research shows that gratitude leads to happiness. R.C. Soloman wrote in the foreword to the book, The Psychology of Gratitude, “Gratitude is one of the most neglected emotions and one of the most underestimated of virtues.”
Gratitude is the expression of appreciation for what one has. It is a recognition of value. Spontaneously generated from within, it is an affirmation of goodness and warmth. Brain scans disclose that expressing gratitude induces lasting changes in the prefrontal cortex that heighten sensitivity to future experiences of gratitude (Psychology Today).
Gratitude is a spontaneous feeling but, increasingly, research demonstrates it is also a practice, that is, making conscious efforts to count one’s blessings. Studies show that people can deliberately cultivate gratitude. Gratitude is an emotion, one that makes a person feel happier. Gratefulness is also a mood and a dispositional trait. Gratitude involves a process of recognizing, first, that one has obtained a positive outcome and, second, that there is an external source for that good outcome (Psychology Today).
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Anytime is a good time to stop and give thanks. Gratitude leads to love as well.
Luke 7:47 “I tell you, her sins – and they are many – have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”
What has to be done to be forgiven much? The answer is odious but accurate. Much sin. How many people think that when they sin too much, they cannot be forgiven? But when you are forgiven much, much gratitude and love are the result. That is the heart of this story.
There are 2 simple correlations
Little forgiveness => little love
Much forgiveness => much love
The bottom line is it does not matter how great your sin is. Any and all sin can be forgiven by the Lord Jesus Christ. The greater the sin, the greater will be your gratitude and love for the Lord Jesus Christ. “It is true to say that the greatest of sins is to be conscious of no sin; but a sense of need will open the door to the forgiveness of God, because God is love, and love’s greatest glory is to be needed” (Barclay).
“As a maxim, the intensity of one’s love tends to be proportionate to his perception of the greatness of his forgiveness” (Constable).
It is noteworthy to observe that the story in Luke 7:36-50 is also recorded in Mark 14:3-4. A similar story is also told in Matthew 26:6-13 and John 12:1-8. Another woman named Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus comes to the Lord Jesus Christ with tears of joy. They are not the same event. They are two stories that occur at different times in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are differentiated by differing actions, differing critics, and a response by the Lord Jesus Christ.
REFLECT & PRAY
Children of the King should be aware of how great their sin is. But not fixate upon it and ruminate. It should not be mentally rehearsed. Rather, the focus should be on how great our forgiveness is. Rather than becoming remorseful, gloomy, and self-deprecating, we should express abounding gratitude and delight in exuberant joy.
Father thank You for forgiving my sin. Thank You for giving me overflowing love and joy.
When we do not recognize the magnitude of our sin and the seriousness of our sinful hearts, it is difficult to experience deep love or forgiveness. Should sin make us joyful? No, sin is grievous. Forgiven sin makes us joyful. The forgiveness of our most distressing sin often results in amazing outcomes.
“Those who have been forgiven the most love the most! Some of the greatest sinners have made the greatest saints!” (Hughes).
John Newton had lived a wretched life doing unspeakable things before he came to know the Lord Jesus Christ. He composed his epitaph: “‘John Newton, Clerk, once an Infidel and Libertine, a Servant of Slaves in Africa, was, by the Mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Preserved, Restored, Pardoned, and Appointed to Preach the Faith he had so long labored to destroy.’ John Newton never forgot that he was a forgiven sinner; neither did Paul. Neither must we. It does us good to remember our sins; it saves us from spiritual pride” (Barclay).
1 Timothy 1:15-16
15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – and I am the worst of them all.
16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.
“No one persecuted the early Christian church more zealously than did Saul, and no one preached forgiveness more than Paul. Yet he received God’s complete forgiveness – and so can you” (Stanley).
If you do not have a lot of love for the Lord Jesus Christ, then perhaps you were unaware of the magnitude of your own sinfulness and wicked heart. Sin creates a great debt owed to God. Our debt was paid in full by the Lord Jesus Christ. The price He paid to redeem our debt was death.
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