The real test of love for God, is simply this, how do you react to Jesus?
46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
As we look at this passage, here is my question to you and me, did this woman have a lot of sins, and Simon just a little?
Simon considered that Jesus, at the least, was a prophet, yet he failed to honor him as a prophet. He greeted him with what would have been the equivalent of a half-hearted handshake. He was not in the least hospitable, he ignored all the social protocols of the day, including a polite kiss, he insulted Jesus, he was stingy and proud, his heart was cold, he was unforgiving, he had nothing but contempt for this woman, and he was judgmental. He was full of jealousy, hatred, and self-righteousness, thinking that God grades on a scale, and thus presuming himself to be better than this woman. In other words, his sins were sins of the heart … his heart was cold. The point is that, whereas this woman recognized, acknowledged and repented of her sins, Simon didn’t even recognize his sins, and thus his need for forgiveness.
This unnamed woman, on the other hand, came specifically to Simon’s house to see Jesus, and she did not come empty-handed. Feel her deep, genuine, warm, and caring worship, which she lavished on Jesus. Feel her passionate love and deep affection for Jesus, her kind, tenderhearted adoration of him who loved her and forgave her. Feel her deep remorse for what she had done, the people she had hurt, and the sins against her own body, and yet she finds in Jesus the loving God who is willing to forgive her, and take away her shame. Loving much is the uncontrollable response of those who recognize they have been forgiven much.
When you are tempted to think that others are laden with sin, and you are not, let’s remember that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, all our righteous acts are filthy rags in the light of who Jesus is. all of us are in need of mercy, and only Jesus can give it.
The apostle Paul referred to himself as the chief of all sinners, and spoke of Jesus who “loved me, and gave himself for me.” He loved Jesus so much because he saw and acknowledged how sinful he was, and he knew how much Jesus had forgiven him.
This kind of love comes from being overwhelmed by a love so deep that it grips you. You take delight in Jesus, and it changes you.
It comes from asking the question, “who is this man who loves us so much that he would bear our sins in his own body, and remove them from us?”
May we take the time to reflect on how much God has forgiven us, and may we fall head over heels in love with Jesus.
By Robert W.T. McKinney
Regional Director of the Caribbean