Jesus Forgives Sins

Key Verse: “Jesus told the woman, Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
—Luke 7:50, International Standard Version

Selected Scripture:
Luke 7:36-50

THE PHARISEE SIMON had invited Jesus to eat at his home. While dinner was progressing a woman from that city entered who was a sinner. In her hand she held an alabaster box of ointment—myrrh, perfumed oil. Undoubtedly, she had heard about the wonderful words of life which Jesus had been preaching to the Jews, words of divine compassion and pity for sinners, words of hope for herself.—Luke 7:36,37

The woman’s heart was longing for forgiveness of her sins and desiring to change herself. Consequently, she began to weep, and her tears fell upon Jesus’ feet. (vs. 38) Loosening her hair, she used it as a towel to dry his feet, ignoring the fact that by doing this it would be considered dishonorable, because a woman’s hair was considered as “a glory to her.” (I Cor. 11:15) She then kissed Jesus’ feet and anointed them with the ointment she had brought.

When Simon saw this, he thought, “This man [Jesus], if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.” Jesus then gave a parable to illustrate an important lesson. A certain creditor had two debtors. One owed 500 pence and the other 50. Neither debtors could pay anything; however, the creditor forgave them both. Jesus then asked Simon, “Tell me, … which of them will love him most?” Simon replied, “I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most.” Jesus answered, “Thou hast rightly judged.”—Luke 7:39-43

Then he said to 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.” Then the lesson was clearly given, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”—vss. 44-47

In the parable the debtor who owed 50 pence represented Simon the Pharisee. Although he had invited Jesus to his home, the sentiment associated with the invitation appears to have been limited to being simply a courtesy, with little or no appreciation for his invited guest, Jesus. The debtor who owed 500 pence, 10 times more than the other debtor, represented the woman who had come to anoint Jesus’ feet. Realizing deeply her sins and shortcomings, she had a greater desire to be relieved from it and had much deeper love and appreciation of the Master. Jesus said to the woman, “Thy sins are forgiven. … Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”—vss. 48-50

As a result of Adam’s disobedience, each of us is likewise a sinner. Isaiah wrote, “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rages.” Paul also states, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:10) Our tears could avail us nothing except as we present to the Lord our faith, accepting him as the one who has the power to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.—I John 1:9