Aug 30

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Do we think about the fact that our sins have really been forgiven? It may be the case that the person who obeyed the gospel of Christ later in life, that such a person thinks more about the forgiveness of sins, than one who obeyed the gospel of Christ early in life. Why? Well, in a figure of speech, “the more that is in the bucket, the heavier the load,” as in the one who feels the greater relief when the “bucket” is empty, is the one who carried the bucket when full!
Jesus once put a question to Simon Peter: “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?” (Luke 7:41-42). We have Peter’s reply in the inspired record, but what is your answer? The answer given, identifies the difference between the mind of some and the mind of others. Therefore, Peter’s answer is so important to our thinking. So, what was Peter’s answer? He replied to Jesus in these words: “I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most” (Luke 7:43). We would be amiss, if we did not note Peter’s use of the word “suppose.” This is the Greek, “hupolambano” which means as used here, “to take up in the mind 4a) to assume, suppose” (Thayer). But according to Plummer, there is a little more in this word; as he wrote, “Here with an air of supercilious indifference.” It appears that Peter was giving his opinion with a little superior attitude. Nevertheless, anyone who has “walked under a light pole” could answer the Lord’s question! But, as often is the case, the Lord did not stop here.
Jesus continued with these words: “Thou hast rightly judged” (Luke 7:43). Jesus’ use of the word “judged,” is also interesting. It is the Greek “krino,” setting aside what might have been Peter’s “superior attitude,” Jesus said that he had “rightly judged.” The Greek word means “to separate”, as in separating the information correctly; which is what one has done when “judging,” if he has done so correctly!” Even if his attitude is wrong!
Now you know that Jesus is not done with the subject, nor is he done with Peter. It might be surprising to read, or as in Peter’s case, to hear what Jesus says next. Here are his words, as he turned to the woman: “Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head” (Luke 7:44). Before going on, we must know about this woman, to whom he directed Peter’s attention. Reaching back in the text, the event started when a Pharisees desired that Jesus come and eat with him (Luke 7:36). During this time, “a woman in the city, which was a sinner.” Here Luke gives us the opportunity to note what the word “sinner” means. It is the Greek “hamartolos” and it means: “devoted to sin” and “pre-eminently sinful.” (Thayer). This must be remembered when someone says, “We are all sinners!” To commit a sin, from time to time, does not mean that such a one is a “sinner!” This person is not one “devoted to sin!” Here is what this woman did; Luke wrote of her: “brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment” (Luke 7:37-38). Keep in mind that the “feet” are the dirtiest part of the physical body. As Jesus allowed this “sinner” to wash his feet, Luke informs us what was in the heart of the Pharisee, as he wrote: “Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39). Please note that the Pharisee uses the word “sinner” once more!
It is with this background that Jesus has spoken to Peter. Jesus’ words were: “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both” (Luke 7:41). It is here that Jesus questioned Peter: “Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?” (Luke 7:42). But Jesus’ subject is “the forgiveness of sins!” Which one would love Jesus the most? The correct answer! The one who was the greater “debtor!” In other words, the one who had committed the most sins in his life!
Finally, Jesus said: “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47). Oh, how precious are the words: “Thy sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48). Truly I may say: “My sins are forgiven!” But only when I have obeyed the gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16).

— Frank R. Williams

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