Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.  And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.

Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner” … And turning toward the woman, (Jesus) said to Simon, “Do you see this woman?  I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.  For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven … Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”  (Luke 7:36-39, 44-48, 50)

There are two kinds of sinners present around Simon’s dining room table this afternoon.  But only one of them had taken a good, long look in the mirror that morning.  Only one of them had seen the awful truth staring back.  The other had not.  In his mirror he had seen only what he wanted to see.

The awful truth confronting this prostitute and this preacher was that both of them were moral failures who deserved to die.  Both were terminally ill, sick with a spiritual cancer that plagues all of Adam’s sons and daughters.  Both needed to be healed by the Physician reclining at the table.  But only the street-walker accepted that reality. The Pharisee would not allow himself to believe it.

Perhaps you see yourself at this table in Simon’s dining room.  If so, there is something you should know.  Immorality will never satisfy an empty soul; and religion will never deliver one from eternal death.  Not in a million years.  But the One reclining at this table, the One Who bore our sins on the Cross, can.  His rescue from sin’s grip of misery and its curse of death is offered to all … no exceptions:  to the reprobate who live in a street’s filth … to the religious who sit in a church’s pew … and everyone in between.  The mercy of God is greater than all our sins combined … past, present and future.  All of them.  Not one of your sins is too great to exclude you from this invitation:

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden … and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)

On that day both the preacher and the prostitute needed to be forgiven.  But apparently only the uninvited guest – poor in spirit – was repentant.  The host – rich only in the outward righteousness of the Mosaic Law – remained in his state of denial, rejecting his own need to be pardoned by his Judge reclining right in front of him.  The forgiveness Jesus offered meant nothing to Simon for his soul was satisfied by the self-righteousness of his religion.

Not so with this “woman who was a sinner.”  Unlike Simon, this woman of the street knew quite well what a worn out soul felt like.  She had experienced firsthand the tyranny of sin’s lordship.  She was acquainted with its misery … and its emptiness … and its shame.  But she also had some level of understanding as to Who Jesus was and what He was offering her.  And when she left that afternoon, her soul was filled with the relief of His forgiveness and the refreshment of His peace.

Do you know anyone like that, one who knew he deserved to die because of his sins but has, instead, accepted Christ’s death in place of his own?  One whose empty soul has been flooded with the forgiveness and peace of Christ?  If you know someone like this, the next time you are with him in a worship service, stand as close to him as you can.  And then watch him as he sings to his Redeemer.

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