How much do you love?
The verse of the day is 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.”
The spicy smell of baked lamb wafted through the house as religious leaders and other men of distinction moved to take their places at the table set for the occasion. The conversation flowed easily and the excitement mounted as they wondered what words this controversial teacher, who also was a guest, would have to say.
A noise came from the doorway. As eyes turned toward the source, the chatting quickly died. The silence was punctuated only by the occasional bleating of a stray sheep in the street. The host’s eyes shifted nervously from side to side as he glared at the intruder who came through the doorway. “What is she doing here? Of all the days for her to show up! She doesn’t even have the decency to hide that mop of stringy hair under a veil!”
All the guests watched as she peered nervously from beneath the dark locks that covered most of her face. She scanned the group looking for someone. Some of the men were disgusted with her presence while others tried to hide a smirk as they thought of the embarrassment the host must be feeling at this moment. “This could be fun, “one thought, “there is nothing like a good scene to make an interesting dinner.”
Spotting the teacher, the woman moved with determination. One sweaty hand grasped a beautiful alabaster jar full of expensive perfume while the other pressed to her chest to still her wildly beating heart. The contempt she felt from the men was almost more than she could bear, but she just had to see this One called Jesus. She had heard about his kindness and the forgiveness of sins he offered. She just had to see Him. “How can I ever go on in life if He rejects me?” she pondered.
This thought brought tears to her eyes, which began to flow freely as she knelt behind the great teacher. She pulled the top from her jar and poured the contents on His feet. A new scent filled the air, overpowering the smell of the lamb. It was a scent like newly cut flowers, like life bursting through the dead ground. Her teardrops mingled with the cool ointment as Jesus turned kind eyes to watch her gently wipe his feet with her hair, stopping only to press her lips to the calloused skin.
“This is ridiculous,” thought the embarrassed host, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She is a sinner!”
Turning towards him Jesus answered his thoughts, “Simon, I have something to say to you. A man loaned money to two people – 500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. 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?”
Simon answered somewhat cautiously, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.”
“That’s right,” Jesus said, “Look at this precious woman kneeling here. When I entered your home you did not offer me the basics of hospitality – water to wash my feet – but this woman has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss but she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected to supply olive oil for my head but she has anointed my feet with a rare perfume. I tell you, her sins – which are many – have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”
The woman remained bowed low but her heart lifted to heaven when she heard His kind words directed towards her, “Dear one, your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you, go in peace.”
The whispering resumed around the table, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?” No one even noticed the new woman who slipped quietly from the room, tears of joy now filling her eyes.
How much do you love?