The Unsurpassed Gift of Grace

by Steve Hall

In the book of Luke, we have a beautiful account of a person who is completely overwhelmed by the grace of God in her life.

First, meet Simon. A Pharisee. A religious leader in his day. A man who had no concept of how spiritually sick he was.  Simon had invited Jesus to his home to eat with him. That was a good move on Simon’s part. He had invited Jesus in. Whatever Simon’s motive, he at least wanted to talk with him.

We are then introduced to another character who, uninvited, entered the home of Simon while they were eating. The brief description of this person is “a woman in the city, which was a sinner”. (Luke 7:37) Obviously, it was no secret who and what this woman was. But unlike Simon, she knew. She understood how great her need was. She knew how spiritually sick she was. And previously, she had no idea what kind of gracious God was seeking her.

This woman had lived a life of evil, wicked sin, and had a reputation. Simon the Pharisee knew her as soon as he saw her. Later, Jesus spoke of her sins, “which are many…” She had sinned and had brought others with her. But in this account, we don’t find her in sin. We find her at the feet of Jesus, not wooing and enticing, but weeping. She is not just crying, but truly weeping, as her tears of repentance and gratitude flow onto the feet of the Savior. Her long hair, once used for purposes of sin and seduction, are now being used to wipe the feet of her new Master. She is overwhelmed with emotion and begins to kiss His feet, then anointing Him with her sacrificial offering of the ointment she had brought with her.

When the self-righteous Pharisee sees this display take place in his own home, he is disgusted. He believes Jesus is unaware of the identity of this sinful woman who is making all this fuss over Him. Simon doesn’t understand that not only does Jesus fully know who this sinful woman is, He also fully knows who Simon is. He even knows what Simon is thinking. Jesus, in answer to Simon’s thoughts, begins to tell Simon a story. In the story, two debtors owe a creditor. One debtor owes the creditor a whole lot more than the other. The gracious creditor, when he sees that neither one could ever pay the debt they owed, freely forgave them both of their debts. Then Jesus asks the question to Simon, “Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?” Simon answers, “I suppose that he to whom he forgave most.” He supposed correctly. Jesus then points out that the woman’s actions are tokens of true love for the Savior, which Simon had showed none of. She knew she had been forgiven of much, therefore she loved much. Self-sufficient Simon didn’t realize his own great need of forgiveness, and so, he loved little.

The grace of God is glorified in this unlikely object. Who would have thought that a woman such as this would now become a daughter of the King? Yes, she had provoked the Lord to wrath with her sins. Yet, she is now the object of amazing grace! What good news that our Lord is a Savior Who will “eat and drink with publicans and sinners” (Luke 5:30) that He is “a friend of publicans and sinners” (Luke 7:34) that “this man receiveth sinners and eateth with them.”

Are you in desperate need of forgiveness? If so, this truth should be a great comfort to your heart! God has often reached down into the sewage of sin and brought out the filthiest of sinners. They too have been forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Jesus, and made to live righteous and godly lives! The truth is, whether we see ourselves in Simon, or in the “woman of the city,” we are ALL in desperate need of forgiveness, for we ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. But, the unsurpassed gift of the grace of God, through Jesus the Son, was made known to us, just as it was at some point to this sinful woman, and we also believed in the Only Begotten for forgiveness.

When we see the exceeding sinfulness of our sin, we are overwhelmed with the boundless, amazing grace of God! However, when we forget how terribly sinful we really are, our love for the Savior grows cold. There sits Simon the Pharisee, feeling pretty good about himself. Yet, the grace of God has found this sinful woman of the city, and not him. Simon does not see himself as an object of the wrath of God. He is trusting in his own life lived in a very “good” way. The Bible says, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

At the end of the account, Jesus says to her, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.” Think of that. How shocked Simon must have been to hear Jesus say those words to her! But what those same words must have done for her broken and contrite soul! The gracious Savior doesn’t stop there. He then says to her, “Go in peace.” How these words of grace to the former sinful woman of the city should stir all those who have found the very same unsurpassed gift of forgiveness and grace in the very same wonderful Savior. May Jesus Christ be forever loved and praised by the unworthy objects of His amazing grace!

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