PARABLES DAY 4 - 7 May 2018

Ben Fourie

“Then Jesus said to the woman. ‘Your sins are forgiven’“ Luke 7:48

The story in this format is only to be found in the Gospel according to Luke. There are similar stories in Matthew, Mark and John about a woman who anointed either Jesus’ head or his feet with expensive perfume, but it was probably on different occasions to the story told by Luke. Unique to Luke’s story is the very short but powerful parable told in verses 41-43 about two men who owed money to a moneylender. The debt of one man was ten times as much as that of the other one. Then one day the moneylender demanded the loans be paid back. When neither of the two was able to come forward with the money he cancelled the debt of both.

When Jesus asked the question about who of them would love the moneylender most, the answer was obvious; the one who owed him most. This woman who, according to the Bible, lived a sinful life was so overcome by the enormity of her sins that she came to Jesus, washed His feet with her tears and anointed them with perfume. This perfume was usually reserved to anoint someone’s head but she dit not see herself as worthy enough so chose to anoint only his feet.

Although there are different themes to this story, the main one is the question about the authority of Jesus. Simon was not sure if Jesus was even a real prophet as he appears not to have recognized her as a sinful woman. In the Jewish tradition, Jesus should not have allowed such a person to touch him. But Jesus knew exactly who she was and by the short parable He wanted to show Simon and all those present that because she realized how big her sins were, she came to the ultimate source of authority, Jesus Himself. He then affirms His authority by doing something that only God could do. He said to her: “Your sins are forgiven”. This was so revolutionary that those who were at the meal started asking: “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” He is Jesus! because only He has the authority. Big sins need big authority.

Prayer: Thank you Jesus that you have so much authority that even my sins can be forgiven. Amen

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