[Jesus said] “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
A Fragrant Faith
Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus to dinner. Jesus accepted. He entered Simon’s home and took his place at the table.
Among the attendees was a woman who had lived a sinful life. When she heard that Jesus was at Simon’s house, she grabbed an expensive jar filled with expensive perfume. Somehow, she found her way into Simon’s house. In front of all the guests, she knelt at Jesus’s feet and began to weep. As her tears wet his feet, she dried them with her hair and covered them with kisses. Then she anointed Jesus’s feet with the costly perfume.
Simon was appalled. If Jesus was a holy man, he wouldn’t let this sinner touch him.
Knowing what was on Simon’s mind, Jesus told him a story. Two men were deeply in debt to a third man. One owed a year and a half worth of wages. The other owed two months of wages. Neither of them could repay their debt, so the third man canceled the debt of both. Then Jesus asked, “Simon, which man would be the most thankful?”
Simon grudgingly admitted, “The one with the greater debt forgiven.”
Jesus then pointed to the woman and praised her fragrant faith. While Simon assumed he had little to be forgiven, the woman knew she owed Jesus a great debt. When Jesus forgave her, she poured out her heart in thanks for his extravagant love. Simon, on the other hand, expressed little love toward Jesus.
If we, like Simon, think we don’t need Jesus’ forgiveness, we are fooling ourselves and denying the truth. But if we admit our sins, Jesus fully and freely forgives us and cleanses us from our moral decay.
How then will we respond? A fragrant faith admits that we are beggars, hands over our debt to Jesus, and leaves that life behind.
Lord Jesus, you have forgiven me so much. Help me to love much. Amen.