A Wretch Like Me

Read: Luke 7

“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:47)

It was a pretty dramatic moment: A woman of questionable character interrupted the dinner party of a high-minded Pharisee named Simon. Jesus had been invited to the party as the honored guest. This “woman” fell at Jesus’ feet and began to do something that made everyone there very uncomfortable: She started washing Jesus’  feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair, kissing the very spot that would soon be pierced and nailed to a cross for her sins. Finally, she broke an expensive jar of alabaster and anointed the beautiful feet of the One who had brought the Good News.

The people watching this “lady’s” drama were put off. How could Jesus allow this kind of woman to become so intimate with him? Why would he even give her the time of day? Didn’t he understand her background? She was a woman of loose morals—how could he…how dare she!

But as we have come to expect of Jesus, he not only knew what he was doing, he clearly knew what she had been doing. He knew there was something of God taking place in this moment that was very special, and he didn’t want those who had been dulled by their own misguided sense of holiness to miss it, so he shot a little laser-guided parable into their midst:

“A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” (Luke 7:41-43, NLT)

The host of the party, Simon, fell for it.  He walked right into Jesus’ trap: “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” (Luke 7:43, NKJV)

It is not in the text, but I can imagine Jesus’ next words to Simon were, “Exactly! You’ve made my point, Simon. Case closed. Next!”

Have you ever wondered why people who have been so dramatically converted out of a life of sheer debauchery have such passionate testimonies—and why we are so enamored with them? This encounter between Jesus and the woman of loose moral character is precisely why.

Sometimes we who don’t have such a dramatic story of spiritual rescue often assume that we don’t have a testimony worth telling—so we don’t. We don’t seize opportunities to speak of our B.C. experience—life before Christ. We kind of feel left out in the testimony department.

If that is you, you have missed the whole point of this exchange. You see, you are that woman! Just as Nathan the prophet said to King David in a different dramatic encounter, “You are the man”, Jesus would say to you, “You are that woman.”

In fact, your sins had separated you from God. Your sins were no puny little matter—they had the power to send you to hell just like the immorality of the woman whom Jesus forgave. You, too, because of your sins, were offensive to a holy God, deserving of judgment, headed for a Christless eternity.

But God, in his mercy saved you and forgave you through the death of another, his Son, Jesus Christ. And when you stand before Jesus on that final day, you too will fall at his feet and shed tears even more rare and more costly than alabaster—tears of sheer gratitude for his grace.

You, too, like the woman, have been forgiven much. You just don’t realize it yet! Perhaps you would be wise to ask God for a fresh revelation of your true condition B.C., and the indescribable gift of amazing grace that he has freely given you.

When you come to the realization that you, too, have been forgiven much, you will love even more! So don’t be afraid to tell your story.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now am free!

“Turn to God from idols. For the sword of His wrath that had been aimed at you has been sheathed into the heart of His Son. And the arrows of His anger that had been put against your breast were loosed into the Lord Jesus Christ. Because He has died for you, you were forgiven.” ~Paris Reidhead

What If God Took Over?

The truth is, you were once a sinner headed for an eternity without Christ. But God saved you, due to no righteousness or goodness of your own. It was His mercy and grace that lifted you out of your hopeless condition. You deserved hell, but God gave you heaven instead. Take a moment to listen to this rendition of “Amazing Grace”, and perhaps at the end, you may want to fall at your feet and in return, offer God the best gift you have—your undying gratitude.

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