Filter by: Products Articles
Filter by:
Do you get our FREE Magazine?

Many Sins Forgiven

June 13, 2023

For the past six years I have been working on a book that is now finished and in the final stages of preparation to be published. Artwork is currently being done. Those who have read the manuscript all say this will be the most impactful thing I have ever written. This is one illustration from the book.

In Luke 7:36–38 we read, “And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.”
Jesus had been ministering publicly for some time now, and his reputation preceded him. He had healed every kind of disease, raised the dead, and preached peace and forgiveness to everyone who believed. Many were calling him Messiah, the promised seed who would bring salvation to Israel.
There was a loose woman in town, known for her immorality, who lived in shame and guilt. The righteous treated her as trash, and the hypocrites availed themselves of her services at a cheap price. She had no doubt heard the stories of Jesus, listened to some of his sermons, and viewed his miracles. She came to believe that he was indeed God’s gift to mankind, and that he had the power to forgive sins. We can imagine that she was reluctant to approach him in her shame, but when she heard he was having lunch in the Pharisee’s house, she found herself moving in that direction. She thought to bring a gift to Jesus, the only pure thing she had: a small box of aromatic ointment. She knew she was not fit company for decent folk, much less the Christ of God, but she had an irresistible urge to go to him.
When she got there, she looked in through the door and saw the place crowded with the upper crust of society and Jesus seated in a place of prominence. Driven by guilt, shame, and desperate hope, she pushed past the servants and rushed up to where Jesus sat. Overcome with the intensity of it, she wept uncontrollably. Not having the confidence to look him in the face, she flung herself to the floor. In so doing, her tears spilled onto his dusty feet, leaving muddy smears. Being unworthy to even soil his feet, she thought to wipe them clean. Having nothing available, she unbound her hair and began to wipe away the stains, kissing his feet as she did so. Remembering the perfumed ointment, she took it out and poured the contents upon his feet, rubbing it in with her hair.
As she continued, “the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner” (v 39). He assumed that, since Jesus allowed her to touch him in that fashion, he must not be a true prophet, for, in their thinking, a holy prophet would know such things and avoid contact with unworthy sinners.
The Pharisee had not spoken his concern, only thought it, so Jesus revealed just how much of a prophet he was by reading the mind of the Pharisee and addressing his thoughts. “And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged” (v 40–43).
“And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment” (v 44–46).
Now looking down at the woman, while still speaking to Simon, Jesus said, “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (v 47). Then looking into the face of the weeping woman, Jesus said unto her, “Thy sins are forgiven” (v 48). She never dared ask for forgiveness. This was more than she could have dreamed. Her many sins were forgiven! At that moment she was cleaner than any Pharisee or guest in the room. She had no sins to her charge. She was fully accepted into fellowship with the Godhead.
“And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace” (v 50). That statement sounds like something Jesus might say to a person just healed of a terrible disease. But the woman was not sick. She didn’t bring faith to Jesus expecting a certain outcome. So when he speaks of her faith, he could not be using it in the popular sense of having faith that God would do something for her.
This is quite the revelation as to faith and forgiveness. He tells us why she was forgiven: “for she loved much.” This is the clearest case of salvation by faith. What was her faith? It was loving Jesus much. To love God is to have faith in him. Love and faith are inseparable. Consider the verse, “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6). Love produces faith. You have faith in what you love. Many people know they should love God, and choose to act as if they do, while loving the world much more (1 John 2:15).
“And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?” (Luke 7:49). They had seen his healing; it was undeniable. But now he claims to have the power to forgive sins. “Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (Luke 5:21).
Faith in Jesus Christ is not a cold, orthodox confession of sound doctrine. It is not a personal experience of turning from sin and “asking Jesus into your heart.” It is not church membership or baptism. It is not confession of sins. It is not the manifestation of supernatural gifts—and especially not imitation gifts. The weeping woman confessed nothing, and she was not baptized, but she was forgiven—entirely, completely forgiven.
Faith in Jesus is loving the very thought of him. It causes us to fall down in worship, bringing our worst and our best to lay at his feet. Faith is all of me for all of him.
And you can expect religious leaders, who are trusting to their orthodoxy, to stand off and wonder at the meaning of it all.

Leave a Reply