Your sins are forgiven. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.
The Resurrection of Christ
15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
Paul thus puts the resurrection of Jesus as the central fact on which our whole faith in Jesus is based. Without that, all the rest falls apart. This he will show in tomorrow’s reading.
Let us today renew our faith in the resurrection of Jesus. He who died on the cross is now our living Lord who, through his Spirit, is really present in every baptised member of our communities and remains a powerful factor in our lives.
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
2 Let Israel say:
“His love endures forever.”
16 The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 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.
39 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.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 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. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Jesus can see that the woman is expressing both sincere repentance and a great affection for Jesus. She is expressing her repentance in the only way that she knows. She is a highly tactile person; it is part of her way of life. To the sexually immature, what she is doing and Jesus’ acceptance of it seems at the very least unbecoming and at the worst bordering on the obscene.
But Jesus says her sins are now forgiven. It was really the passionate love she was showing which indicated that had won forgiveness. Love and sin are incompatible; they cannot co-exist in the same person. She was loving Jesus so much at that moment that she could not be a sinner. Simon could not see this. His concept of sin was purely legalistic. For Jesus it is relational.
At this point her immoral past was totally irrelevant. In our society wrongdoers can be stuck with labels often for the rest of their lives irrespective of how they have changed. God does not work that way. He deals with persons as they are here and now. What I did yesterday does not matter. All that matters is what I am doing now, how I am relating to God and those around me right now.