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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Anne Robertson

Friday, February 25

Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.
—Luke 7:47

Word about Jesus got around, especially amongst the categories of people that the Bible calls “tax collectors and sinners.” They came to know pretty quickly that they had a champion in Jesus, who seemed to be able to forgive their sins and point them toward a more godly lifestyle all at the same time.

One such “sinner” was the unnamed woman here in Luke who brings an alabaster jar of ointment, anoints Jesus with it as an act of love, and cries at and on his feet. The Pharisees who were hosting the dinner where all this occurred couldn’t get past the fact that Jesus was letting a sinful woman touch him. The woman couldn’t get past the fact that Jesus was willing to forgive her, despite all she had done.

And so Jesus comments on the whole situation. Love begets more love. The loving act of Jesus’ forgiveness results in the woman’s loving gratitude. Of course, if the woman had not acknowledged her sinful condition, there wouldn’t have been the opportunity, but it seems that the combination of knowing her sin and realizing that Jesus still does not condemn her is the perfect mix for an outpouring of love. The Pharisees see nothing in themselves that needs forgiving, and Jesus (I think rather sarcastically) points out that they have little love as a result.

Across the experiences of life, we are on all sides of this deep story. Like the woman, sometimes we need to acknowledge our sin and receive forgiveness. Like Jesus, sometimes we need to forgive the sins of others. Like the Pharisees, sometimes we need to take the log out of our own eye and stop worrying about everybody else. The result of all those steps is greater love. More love for ourselves, more love for others, more love for God.


Forgiving God, we pour out our love at your feet. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2006.