The Depth of Forgiveness

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 7:47 (NKJV)

It was the epitome of an awkward moment. Things began innocently enough as Jesus was invited to eat at the home of a Pharisee named Simon. News had spread like wildfire across the Judean countryside about the miracles this itinerant teacher was performing. His messages were challenging, but He was at the center of something undeniably special.

Then something quite unexpected and unprecedented happened. A woman crashes the meal . . . and not just any woman! This particular woman was a known “sinner.” According to English theologian Matthew Poole, the word used here for sinner “is a word generally so used, and, applied to women, signifies a prostitute, or at least one of an ill report as to chastity.” Suffice it to say, this is not the sort of person that you’d ever expect to see at a Pharisee’s house!

What happens next; however, leaves everyone present speechless: “A woman . . . 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 the fragrant oil” (Luke 7:37–38 NKJV).

Imagine an intimate demonstration like this unfolding before your eyes—especially if you’re a paragon of piety like Simon. We’re told what he was thinking here, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner” (Luke 7:39 NLT). And just when things couldn’t get more awkward, Jesus responds to Simon’s unspoken thoughts by essentially calling him out as a poor host! Heads must have been spinning, but then Jesus puts everything into perspective as only He can.

Simon didn’t see himself as much of a sinner and wasn’t very appreciative of God’s forgiveness embodied in the form of His Son. But this woman was acutely aware of her need; and her gratitude to God for His forgiveness was being expressed in her unbridled adoration towards Jesus.

Truly, those who are forgiven much—those who recognize how much God has forgiven them—love much.

Understanding the depth of our need as sinners enables us to understand the depth of God’s generosity in forgiving us. Such an understanding then produces a gratitude that leads us to give the way God has lavishly given to us.

DIG: What led to the awkward moment?

DISCOVER: What spiritual truth does the awkward moment actually demonstrate?

DISPLAY: Today, spend time thinking about what you’ve been forgiven of, and consider ways you can now go out and love much.

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.