Who Can Forgive Sin?

Luke 7:47-50
47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
One of the issues the Pharisees had with Jesus was his insistence that they were in need of forgiveness. “What do we need forgiveness for… we’re righteous because of our works?”
And because they had no need for forgiveness they had no love for Jesus or for the Father whom Jesus represented. But Jesus does not give them an opportunity to be content with that viewpoint. He challenges them directly and is not at all passive with Simon. He confronts not only his belief but the attitude and behaviors that are consistent with his thinking: Superiority, smugness, condescension, rude and discriminatory behavior – all a result of thinking they are above other people because of their insistence that they were keeping the Law of Moses.
How is it that we can squash a bug without regret? Isn’t it because we think ourselves to be superior to that form of life? Being a human gives us liberties that are not available to the animal world, reptiles, fish, birds, insects or even vegetation and those liberties come from God. One of the ways people are dehumanized today is by making them equal to all other forms of life. We see that in play in our current culture.
Another way to dehumanize people is to divide them into classes and races and even by using gender to limit people’s liberty. To make children less important forms of life than adults and to reduce the unborn child to a term like a fetus allows people to subjugate them with lower degrees of liberty and with fewer choices and fewer rights. Our current political system is ripe with this behavior.
Jesus says to Simon in no uncertain terms this is not the way things work in the kingdom of God. You can’t work your way to the top. The way up is down. See yourself as the worst sinner ever and then ask God for mercy and Jesus rescues us by his sacrifice for sin. We are incapable of loving God until we accept his forgiveness.
“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much.”
Not her sins are forgiven BECAUSE she loved much. Because she loved much it is evident her sins are forgiven.
Simon and his friends had become expert at putting themselves into higher and higher classifications of superiority… looking down on the sinners of this world. Jesus says not so. The sinners are entering the kingdom ahead of you.
Prayer: Forgive me for my own arrogance and superior attitude as I look down on sinners. Remind me that I am the chief of sinners and were it not for the grace of God I would be lost and without hope. Allow my love to grow as I focus on how much I have been forgiven.