Luke 7:48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (NIV)
Like most churches, our congregation has a time of silence during the prayers of Adoration and Confession. It is a holy moment when we humbly approach God quietly to individually seek His pardon for the mistakes, faults, and sins that we each have committed since the last time we came to God in prayer. I usually have so much to confess that I never get my petitions finished before the silence is broken by the Prayer Guide. However, as soon as we have concluded our prayers with the Lord’s Prayer, there comes an even better moment: the Promise of the Gospel when all of us are assured of the forgiveness that Christ has obtained through His sacred sacrifice. It’s that beautiful time when He speaks to our souls and says, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The woman in today’s Gospel story (Luke 7:36-50) must have been waiting to hear those words of assurance for a long time. We do not know her name, but we do know that she sought Christ and lavished Him with her most precious possessions – her perfume, her hair, and her tears – in order to be both forgiven and accepted by God. Up till that point, her life had no meaning or purpose. She was treated badly, especially by the religious folks and leaders who should have known better. Christ’s compassion for the woman is evident in how He responds. He forgives her sins and restores her as a favored daughter of God. It is a wonderful moment of liberation and love; it is a lesson which continually teaches every generation about the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Perhaps you are carrying a burden of guilt from the recent past or even from a long time ago. Perhaps it overshadows your soul and depresses your spirit. Maybe you can’t forgive yourself for the wrong choice you made or the hurt you inflicted on others. Perhaps your secret shame is a painful and heavy burden to bear. Please know this today: Christ is willing to hear your prayer of confession and sorrow in the quietness of your heart. Be assured, He forgives anything and everything that you or I have wrongfully committed: all we need to do is ask Him for God’s grace.
Point to ponder
What burdens do I still carry in my heart and mind? Am I willing to come to Christ to confess and receive His mercy, peace, and love?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know everything about us and are just waiting for us to approach You humbly with our confessions. You want to set us free from our captive and sinful past. You want us to experience a new beginning in our lives. Help us to seek Your forgiveness and compassion. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the Scottish pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. You can read the church website at www.erinpresbyterian.org.
Today’s image is one of John’s church bulletin drawings called “Hands.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Hands.