Repentance, not Works

Today's Bible reading: Luke 15:1-10

The key thing that the so-called “righteous” failed to recognize was that their piety was an external veneer of good works … while inwardly there was no discernable, internal change.  In Luke 7, the Pharisee who is Jesus’ host objects to Jesus allowing a sinful woman to touch Him.  Yet Jesus shows that this woman knows more about the Kingdom of God than Simon, with his judgmental attitude.  Her actions of weeping over Jesus’ feet … wiping them with her hair … and then anointing them … are those of a woman who has been forgiven a huge debt of sin.  She pays her heartfelt devotion to the only one in whom she knows she can find the assurance of her forgiveness – and Jesus gives that assurance.  It’s interesting for us to consider and look closely at Jesus’ words concerning this woman: “Her sins are forgiven for she loved much.”  “Her sins are forgiven for she loved much” does not mean that she has earned forgiveness by her actions – ie. because “she loved much.”  No, her actions show the sincerity of her repentance … and it is this repentance alone that allows her to receive the grace of forgiveness.  Her devotion is not a good work meant to earn grace … but the sure sign that she knows she’s forgiven.  So too, for us: our devotion is not a good work meant to earn grace … but the sure sign that we know we’re forgiven.

Prayer: Loving heavenly Father, our Good Shepherd, make us faithful, and bless our every effort to enlarge your flock.  We thank you for having made us your followers.  Help us to carry out Your mission as Your representatives, to be the ministers and missionaries You have called us to be; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.