Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven -- for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little. - Luke 7:47
Having concluded a week of prayer and contemplation at what it means for the church to be family, we now turn our attention to what it means to be a disciple - a follower of Jesus. We follow what we love. To be a follower of Jesus means to love Jesus. How do we grow in our love for Jesus? We may think it comes from being extra diligent with our spiritual disciplines or trying our hardest to live out the commands given by Jesus. In this verse, Jesus points at something else entirely. We love Jesus more when we realize the depths of our sin and brokenness. In this passage, Jesus contrasts the behavior of a woman known by all as a sinner and a Pharisee who was in good social standing. The sinful woman washed Jesus' feet with her tears while the Pharisee showed no love or hospitality to Jesus and was preoccupied with judging Jesus' willingness to let the sinful woman touch him. The sinful woman knew how broken she was, and as a result she was deeply grateful for the love, forgiveness, and acceptance offered by Jesus. The Pharisee, on the other hand, did not see his brokenness and did not feel his need for a savior, and as a result was cold and indifferent to Jesus.
Each of us is deeply broken and in desperate need of rescuing. When we take the time to truly examine our hearts and see sin in even our best efforts - each and every day - then, and only then, are we able to taste the sweetness of knowing how much we are forgiven. That knowledge fills us with love and gratitude and enables us to love and follow Jesus. When we feel dry or distant from Jesus, chances are that we've lost touch our brokenness and have moved into a casual view of the depth of our sin. We cannot be a growing disciple of Jesus unless we have a growing love of Jesus, and we grow in our love of Jesus as we grow in our gratitude for how much we have been forgiven.
- Tim Gillen