Let’s imagine that you are very rich.  You have ten billion dollars in the bank. Now let’s suppose that  your friend Sally comes to you and says, “I’m in a lot of trouble.  If I don’t get some money I just don’t know what I’ll do.”

You are generous and you have plenty of cash, so you say, “I’ll loan you some money, Sally.  How much do you need?”

“I need ten dollars,” Sally answers.  “If you can just loan me ten dollars until next Friday, all my problems will be solved.”

“Sure,” you reply.  “Here’s a ten dollar bill.”

Sally goes on her way and your friend Jack comes to see you.

“I hate to ask,” Jack says, “But, I really need some money.  Can you loan me some?”

“Sure,”  you answer.  “How much do you need?”

“I need a million dollars,” Jack answers.  “I know that’s an awful lot, but if you’ll just loan me a million dollars I’ll be sure and pay it back on Friday.”

“No problem,”  you say.  After all, you have so much money in the bank you won’t miss a measly million.

Next Friday comes and Sally and Jack both show up at your house.

“I don’t know how to tell you this, ” Sally says.  “I don’t have ten dollars to pay you back like I promised.”

“I’m afraid I can’t pay you the million dollars I owe you either,” Jack says.  “I feel just terrible about it.”

“That’s all right,” you answer.  “Both of you just forget it.  You don’t need to pay me back.”

Can you imagine how grateful Sally and Jack would be?  Who do you think would be the most grateful?  Who do you think would like you the most?

Sally would be grateful and would like you a little because you had forgiven her a little debt.  Jack would be extremely grateful and would like you a whole lot because you had forgiven him of a huge debt.

There was a woman in the Bible  who owed a very large debt. She was a sinner.  She knew she was  bad, and so did everyone else.  No one in her village wanted anything to do with her because they knew she was a wicked person.  The Bible doesn’t say, but we can guess that she was a prostitute.

She knew she was a sinner, but it didn’t trouble her much.  Then one day she met Jesus.  The Bible doesn’t tell us about when she first met Him.  Maybe He preached in her village.  We know that she heard Jesus and that her heart was touched. She learned from Jesus that she deserved to be punished forever in hell for her sin.  She learned that her sin had made her forever an enemy of God.  She began to see herself as God saw her.  She was ashamed and wanted to be forgiven.

She watched while Jesus healed the sick and cast out demons.  She listened as He spoke about God, His Father.  She believed that Jesus was the Messiah, God’s Son whom He had promised to send.

She was surprised to hear Him say that He would be put to death!  That’s what Jesus said.  He told them all plainly that wicked men would nail Him on a cross and He would die for the sins of His people.

“That means for my sin,” She must have thought.  “If I could only give Jesus something before He dies.  If only He would forgive me of my sin!”

She discovered that Jesus was having dinner with a man named Simon.  Simon was a wealthy and important man.  He was one of the leaders in the synagogue.  He also had a terrible disease called leprosy.  Everyone called him “Simon the leper.”

“All I own in all the world is my box of ointment,” she thought.  “I’ll give my ointment to Jesus.”

In those days ointment was more than just a bottle of perfume.  The spikenard she had in her alabaster box was very expensive.  She didn’t plan on wearing the sweet-smelling cream.  It was her security.  If ever she needed money, she could sell it.  If she got married, it would be given to her husband.  In those times a man didn’t often marry a woman unless she had money or a box of precious ointment.  If she gave it to Jesus, she would have nothing at all left to take care of her own need.

She went to Simon’s house and came to the dining room where Jesus was eating with His friends.  Tears poured down her cheeks as she knelt at Jesus’ feet.  She was so sorry for her sinful life.  She cried so hard that tears dripped down all over Jesus’ feet.  She wiped them off with her hair.  That’s how much she loved Jesus and how sorry she was for her sin.

Then she took her box of ointment and poured it out on Jesus’ head.  That was her way of giving to Jesus all that she had.  She gave up her security, her hope of having a husband, everything she had, because she knew that Jesus was God.

“Look at that,” the disciples whispered to each other.  “What a waste!  She could have sold that perfume for a lot of money and she could have given the money to the poor.  That would have done a lot more good.”

Simon didn’t understand either.

“He’s not as smart as everyone seems to think,” Simon said to himself.  “If He was really a prophet He would know that she is a wicked woman.  He wouldn’t have let her touch Him.”

Jesus understood what was in her heart.  He understood what the others were thinking, too.

“Let her alone,” Jesus told the disciples.  “There will always be poor people around.  You can give to them any time.  She has done this because she believes what I say – that I will soon go to be with My Father.  She has done it to prepare me for my burial.”

Then Jesus turned to Simon the leper.

“Simon, I want to tell you a story,” Jesus said.

“Tell me,” Simon replied.

“Two men owed a certain man some money.  One owed a lot of money, and one owed a little money.  When they couldn’t pay, he forgave both of them their debt.  Who loved this man most, the one forgiven of a big debt or the one forgiven of a little debt?”

“The one with the biggest debt forgiven would love him most,” Simon answered.

“You are right,” Jesus said.  “Look at this woman.  When I came into you house, you didn’t even follow the common custom of giving me water to wash my feet.  This woman has washed my feet with her tears and has wiped them with her hair.  You didn’t shake my hand, and this woman has kissed my feet.  You didn’t give me ointment to put on my head, even though you are rich and have lots of ointment.  This woman has given me all that she has.

“She has shown that she loves me very much, because I will forgiver her for her many sins,” Jesus continued.  “You don’t think you have much to be forgiven, so you don’t love me much at all.”

Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.  Your faith has saved you.  Go in peace.”

And she did leave with peace in her heart, because now she was forgiven.  All was right between her and God.  She loved Jesus so very much because He had forgiven her of such great sin.

Repentance means more than just knowing you have done wrong.  It means being brokenhearted like this woman was.  She knew she deserved nothing and gave all she had to Jesus to show her repentance and her faith.

Jesus wants you to come to Him truly sorry for your sins.  He wants you to surrender to Him all that you have – your life.  He will forgive you like He did the woman when you come to Him in true repentance and faith.

Perhaps you are thinking, “I’ve made such a mess of my life that there is no hope for me.”

Not true!  You have a chance to be an extraordinary Christian.  When you come to Him in repentance and surrender to Him, He will forgive you  — wipe away every sin.  That didn’t come easy.  It took His own suffering and death.

Perhaps you have a big debt to be paid.  You will be one who  loves Jesus most.

Check It Out

Read this story in Luke: 7:36-50.

What did Simon the Pharisee think of the woman in this story? (verse 39)

Did Jesus know she was a sinner? (verse 47)

What does Mark 2:17 tell us about how Jesus feels about sinners?

What does Romans 5:8 tell us about what Jesus did for sinners?

What did Jesus tell the woman? (vs. 48)

What did Jesus give the woman? (vs. 50)

Would you like to have forgiveness and peace?  Do you want it enough to surrender to Him?

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