God of Wonders; Day 5

The Law of Love

The Pharisee must have been quite pleased that Jesus had accepted his dinner invitation. Snagging this controversial figure for a private dinner party was a win for him. And then the prostitute showed up. How did she know about this dinner party? And who let her in? Awkward! Not for Jesus, but for the Pharisee.

Not only was she there, but Jesus also allowed her to wash His feet with her tears dripping on them mixed with perfume. Did she get that perfume from one of her customers? Disgusting. What a contrast between the Pharisee’s horror and the woman’s adoration. She might have met Jesus earlier at one of His outdoor meetings. Or perhaps she knew about Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. If she had witnessed His baptism, then she heard from John the Baptist that Jesus was the One who could forgive sin. She was willing to take a risk to meet this man who might forgive her sins—and He did.

The woman’s moment of awe was not the same as the Pharisee’s. As she wept experiencing Jesus’ forgiveness, the Pharisee became even more agitated. First the prostitute came to his party, then Jesus showed no discernment about who was touching Him, and then He violated the law by pronouncing forgiveness to her. Who did He think He was—God? The woman knew the weight of the law the Pharisee lived by, but in that moment she encountered the power of a greater law—the law of love. Her outpouring of tears, oil and perfume was the measure of both her sin and His love covering it. What wondrous love.

Is your heart stirred, but you still believe not even Jesus can forgive your sins? Don’t despair. The love poured out on the prostitute years ago is still available today. Don’t let guilt keep you from gazing into His loving eyes.

Questions to Ponder:

Throughout your life, whose awe have you related to more—the Pharisee’s or the woman’s? What emotions do you experience when you think of how Jesus freely gives forgiveness to those who ask for it?

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

Luke 7:36‭-‬49

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:16‭-‬17

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.

Psalm 86:5

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

Micah 7:18

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