Bible Society of South Africa

What Jesus sees and forgives – 15 March 2021

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

49The others sitting at the table began to say to themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?”

50But Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Luke 7:49-50GNBOpen in Bible reader

One of the most endearing things about young children is their transparency. You can leap to save a child from a cup of hot tea, or rescue the dog from their playful tweak of its tail, because their expressive faces leave you in no doubt about what is hatching in their minds; something not necessarily so easy to detect in later life.

A person’s age is no barrier to Jesus, however. He often proved that people’s outward actions did not stop Him knowing what was in their minds. One of these times was when He was invited for dinner to the home of Simon the Pharisee, and a woman with a jar of perfume arrived to anoint Him.

Simon’s immediate response was judgment; firstly, because he regarded the woman with the alabaster jar unworthy to be there, as a “sinner” – she was a prostitute – and secondly, he doubted Jesus’ credentials as a prophet, scorning Him because He appeared ignorant of that fact.

It was in answer to Simon’s thoughts that Jesus told the parable of two debtors – each man owing an amount of money to a moneylender, one a large amount, one small. His question to Simon was: “Now which of them will love him more?” (Luke 7:42), once He had told him that the moneylender had graciously cancelled both debts, because neither man could afford to pay

Jesus was not surprised that Simon knew the correct answer to this simple parable, but He used it to make Simon see the truth of the situation: sin is sin, great or small, and hypocrisy is no better than prostitution. What Jesus had before Him here were two sinners who needed His mercy just as the moneylender had shown; but we are actually all sinners before Him needing His mercy, even when we can’t see our own faults.

Simon had rudely not even offered Jesus the minimum hospitality gesture of a warm greeting and some water to wash His feet, but the woman had wept her own tears onto Jesus’ dusty feet and then wiped them away with her hair; after that, lavishing on them expensive perfume.
Who do we identify with most at this time in our own lives? The one who was arrogant and overlooked his own sins while focusing on the sin of another or the one who was humble and wept copious tears knowing how many her sins were?

What would Jesus see in us?

Prayer: “Be merciful to me, O God, because of your constant love. I have sinned against you – only against you – and done what you consider evil. So you are right in judging me; you are justified in condemning me. Sincerity and truth are what you require; fill my mind with your wisdom. Remove my sin, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Amen
(Psalm 51:1,4,6-7)

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