When studying the parallel of this story in John’s Gospel a couple of years ago we had to compare it with this Lucan version as well as the versions in Matthew and Mark. It quickly becomes obvious that there is a basic story as told by Mark and Matthew and to which both John and Luke have added other elements in order to teach a particular lesson, in Luke’s case about the nature and experience of forgiveness.

 

Luke adds the material of the parable of the creditor who forgives a small and a large debt and asks which debtor will be more grateful? Towards the end this story is somehow combined with action of anointing and we have the anointing or worship of Jesus as a response to the forgiveness of the sins of the woman in question. Jesus is right – anyone who understands that they have had all their sins forgiven will be eternally grateful for the fact! The act of anointing is merely an expression that signifies the depth of feeling in the experience of the woman.

 

This gives us something to reflect upon in our own lives as we ask ourselves how do we feel about having our sins forgiven? What is our response to this incredible gift that God has given us, and given us freely! So often I doubt we even think about this reality much at all! How ungrateful can we be? There should be little more important to us than thanking God for the gift of his forgiveness. This ought to inspire within us a great desire to give back to God in return, not in the sense of paying off our debt to him but in the sense of showing God what a difference his forgiveness has made in our lives. Let us never forget the generosity of love God demonstrates to us in the forgiveness of our sins.

 

The anointing of oil in the Old Testament is associated with kingship and ministry. In our passage today we see what it means to be a minister and a king – always willing to forgive the faults of others and be of service to them as generously as we can.

 

When was the last time I thanked God for the gift of his forgiveness?

 

How can I thank God for the gift of his forgiveness?