Forgiven

She was used to the company of men.
She could read their smiles. It is likely that some of the men gathered for dinner in the home of a Pharisee named Simon saw her come in. If they noticed her at all, they quickly turned their faces away; they did not smile at her. The man she wanted to see was a stranger among the smelly men reclining around the table laden with lavish food. The oil lamps sent wavering shadows here and there across the room, but from the man she came to see, a constant inner light seemed to glow from deep inside Him.

She had seen that light even in the bright sunlight on the Jerusalem streets. She had followed Him, welcoming the anonymity of the crowd. She held back, always in the second or third rank and always with her head and face covered, while her keen eyes watched Him closely.

In one glorious moment, His shining eyes met hers.
He looked deep into her heart, the way no man had ever looked at her. His unbroken gaze was like a torch shining into the dark cavern of her wounded soul. She tried to look away but she could not. Though she did not understand why, she knew this was a life-changing moment for her, that she could never be the same. She knew that her livelihood was now a thing of the past. She would find a way to live that would meet His approval; she didn’t know how but she knew she could and would.

The Smile of Jesus
As they continued to look at each other, a broad smile came across the face of Jesus. This thrilled her to the depth of her being. It was as if He knew what had happened inside of her, as if He knew of the shame that had suddenly overcome her, as if He knew of the choice she had made. It seemed He was saying that all was forgiven. For the rest of her life, she would make all her choices in the light of that smile—life was about pleasing Him, not others and not herself.

He went on this way; there were others to talk to, to touch, and some who needed the power of His gaze and the forgiveness of His smile. She seemed frozen to that spot, transfixed by the new life inside her. She forgot about her scarf and head piece, letting them drop, her face and hair shining in the sun. She breathed deeply looked intently at a future she had never imagined before.

A few hours later she heard that He was dining in the home of Simon the Pharisee, a home she knew well. Entering by the servant’s entrance she invaded the dinner gathering, her heart bursting with gratitude. Without hesitation she found her way to Jesus. At first, she stood behind Him weeping. Then she fell at His feet and began to wash His feet with her tears and lovingly dry them with her hair. She took perfume and anointed those feet, kissing them.

Recovering from the shock of this intrusion, Simon, knowing full well who she was, seized the moment to prove that Jesus was obviously not a prophet or He would know who she was as well.

With a parable Jesus gently instructed Simon and all the other proud sinners about the forgiveness of sins.

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven —
for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

So it is today. If our record of sins is large or small, if we have met Jesus eye-to-eye in faith and repentance, the record has been cleared, and we, too, must minister to Him. As we do, we too, can feel His smile.

Scriptures:
Psalm 104
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy Name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. He forgives all your sins and heals all your infirmities; He redeems your life from the grave and crowns you with mercy and loving-kindness; He satisfies you with good things, and your youth is renewed like an eagle’s. The Lord executes righteousness and judgment for all who are oppressed. He made his ways known to Moses and his works to the children of Israel. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger and of great kindness. He will not always accuse us, nor will he keep his anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our wickedness. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so is his mercy great upon those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our sins from us. As a father cares for his children, so does the Lord care for those who fear him. For he himself knows whereof we are made; he remembers that we are but dust. Our days are like the grass; we flourish like a flower of the field; When the wind goes over it, it is gone, and its place shall know it no more. But the merciful goodness of the Lord endures forever on those who fear him, and his righteousness on children’s children; on those who keep his covenant and remember his commandments and do them. The Lord has set his throne in heaven, and his kingship has dominion over all. Bless the Lord, you angels of his, you mighty ones who do his bidding, and hearken to the voice of his word. Bless the Lord, all you his hosts, you ministers of his who do his will. Bless the Lord, all you works of his, in all places of his dominion; bless the Lord, O my soul.
Luke 7:36-50 NIV
Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is — that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven — for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Luke 11:4; 17:3-4 NIV
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.'”… “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my Savior, Healer, Baptizer, and soon coming King, I worship You today! I marshal all my strength to this purpose. As I think of “the glory due Your name,” I must add my voice to that of nature and all creation in song of praise from creation to Creator. When I consider Your mighty throne, I join the songs of angels attending there, “Holy, Holy, Holy!” I hear the Song of the Redeemed, roaring from the heavenly gallery, as angels must fall silent. They cannot sing this song of thanksgiving for they have not known Your mercy as has the church. Thank You, Lord! Amen.

Song:
Thank You, Lord, for Saving My Soul.
Traditional Chorus

Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul.
Thank You, Lord, for making me whole.
Thank You, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and so free.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer
For more on Pride: “The Invisible Mountain”

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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