Second Week in Epiphany – Thursday
Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28.
One day a Pharisee, in one of the cities of Galilee, desired that Jesus would eat with him. And Jesus went into the Pharisee’s house and sat down to eat, but was not shown the customary courtesies. And, behold, there was a woman in the city, who was a notorious sinner. When she knew that Jesus was having a meal at the Pharisee’s house, she “brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
Now when the Pharisee, which had bidden Him, saw it, he spake within himself, saying: ‘This man, if He were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him, for she is a sinner.’ And Jesus, answering, said unto him: ‘Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee.’ And he saith: ‘Master, say on.’ ‘There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed him five hundred pence and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him most?’ Simon answered and said: ‘I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most.’ And He said unto him: ‘Thou hast rightly judged.’
And He turned to the woman, and said unto Simon: ‘Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house; thou gavest me no water for my feet, but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss, but this woman, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint, but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee: Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much, but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.’ And He said unto her: ‘Thy sins are forgiven.’ And they that sat at meat with Him began to say within themselves: ‘Who is this that forgiveth sins also?’ And He [Jesus] said to the woman: ‘Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace’” (Luke 7:37-50).
Do you see our text above? Do you see from this story how Jesus fulfills it? Do you see how Jesus receives sinners? How has Jesus received you? Do you see how those who know that Jesus has forgiven them much, also love Him much? Has Jesus forgiven much in your life? Because Jesus has forgiven your many sins, do you now, in thanks, love Him much?
In the days ahead, remember, ponder, and hide in your heart the sweet, comforting words of Jesus to you: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
PRAYER – Lord Jesus, who did forgive many sins to the sinful woman, and thereby did reveal the great love Thou dost bear for us sinners, give me each day, I beg Thee, a penitent heart, that my tears, too, may bear witness of the sorrow for my sins. Grant that, relying on Thy Word in true faith, I may come to Thee again and again, and ever again and again find forgiveness of sins and peace and joy of heart from Thee, and that, in gratitude and thanks, I love Thee and Thy Word more and more, O merciful Savior. Amen.
“Come unto Me, ye weary, and I will give you rest.”
O blessed voice of Jesus, which comes to hearts opprest!
It tells of benediction, of pardon, grace, and peace;
of joy that hath no ending, of love which cannot cease.
“And whosoever cometh, I will not cast him out.”
O patient love of Jesus, which drives away our doubt;
Which tho’ we be unworthy, of love so great and free;
invites us very sinners, to come, dear Lord, to Thee.
Hymn 276, stanzas 1 and 4 (TLH)