A story of love and the heart (Luke 7:36-50)

I love the story of the incident at Simon’s house.

I love the raw emotion of it, the way it shakes me from my academic and theoretical analysis and makes it personal, the way it forces me to ask myself, ‘do I love him?’

I love the way it reveals my sinful, self-righteous heart. I see the woman, her hair uncovered, kissing his feet and I respond as Simon does. I am embarrassed, squirming in my seat. I don’t know where to look! Like Simon, I have become a judge with evil thoughts, judging not just the woman but also the one who will not send her away. Like Simon, I think they are unclean, but I, the one who judges, am clean. I am like Simon, in danger of rejecting God’s purpose for myself (7:30).

I love the way it gently but unmistakably rebukes Simon, and me. Jesus says, ‘He who is forgiven little loves little’ (7:47); or she who does not think she needs to be forgiven, loves little. And he gently reminds me of all the hidden thoughts and desires that no-one else sees. He gently reminds me of my sin.

I love the way it reveals the Saviour’s heart. The saviour, the friend of sinners (7:34) who will not send away the sinful woman, but accepts and affirms her love and assures her of her forgiveness. Jesus, the friend of sinners, the one who forgives sin (7:49), the one who came to seek and save what was lost (19:10).

I love the way it shows me a truly repentant heart; a heart so full of sin and sorrow that it has burst open with love upon being forgiven. A heart that recognises its sin, and being truly sorrowful, turns to the saviour in faith for forgiveness. A heart that, in recognising and loving the saviour, is greater than John (7:28). A heart that, by God’s grace, is also mine.

I love this story. But do I love him?

And how would I demonstrate such love? What do you think?

Pic: 'Mary Magdalene Anointing Jesus' Feet' (the incident in John 12, not the one here in Luke 7), Artist: Nicolas Poussin, at AllPosters.com