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Daily Worship


April 14 | Luke 7:36-50





Costly Forgiveness

by Elaine Pierce

Whenever I'm invited to someone's home for dinner, especially for the first time, I bring a small gift. It might be a box of chocolates... a bottle of wine... or maybe some flowers. Never, ever, ever have I brought a bottle of expensive perfume. Never, ever, have I poured perfume on the guest of honor's feet and wept and asked for forgiveness. I bet you haven't either. If I had been at the dinner party Luke describes in today's passage, I think I would have been very uncomfortable with what 'the woman who had lived a sinful life' was doing. It seems 'over the top,' doesn't it? Very emotive and attention-getting.

But Jesus sees beyond this outward act and he knows that this woman is ready to receive grace and forgiveness. He tells Simon a simple parable about two men who owed money, one a small amount, one much larger. The moneylender forgave both of them, but of course the one who had the greater debt would be more appreciative of this unexpected gift (see verses 41-43). Then he turns to the woman who has lavishly cleaned his feet with expensive perfume and says something very simple and very profound:

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little (v. 47).

Why am I so uncomfortable with her emotional display of love and adoration for Jesus? Who is the greater sinner, Simon or the woman or the pharisee? Yes, the woman was a 'known sinner.' Her misdeeds were public and frequent. She needed forgiveness. But, oh, how I hide my sin, and how I justify my misdeeds. I am much more interested in being excused than being forgiven. What joy we miss out on because we cling to our need to earn our salvation. I want Jesus to be impressed with my good works, and he wants me to love him first and the good works will flow out of my thankful heart.

What do you need to bring to Jesus today? You might not have expensive perfume to pour at his feet, but you can give him your time, your talents, and your treasure. After all, he died so that you could come to the Father washed with his blood, clean and radiant, ready for everlasting life.


Lord, so often I look at my life, and I want you to bless me before I am wiling to sit at your feet and worship you. Help me today and every day to love you with my whole heart, and to serve those you send my way. Amen.

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