August 20, 2007


Luke 7:36-50

“I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven ...” Luke 7:47


As a bank employee, I came to know more than I wanted to about bankruptcy, the legal term for the deteriorating financial condition under which a person or business is brought to court. The most desperate form of bankruptcy occurs when people surrender their assets (what little they own) and a list of their debts (what they owe, which is a far higher figure) and allow the court to do whatever it wishes.

The woman who approached Jesus in our story today had a huge debt weighing her down. It was the debt of having “lived a sinful life.” Luke does not specify the sin, but both she and the townspeople knew what it was, and this debt of sin was overwhelming to her.

The woman had a few meager assets. One was an expensive jar of perfume. For someone of her reputation, this was a useless asset, like having a large expensive automobile and not being able to buy the gasoline to run it. Another asset was her hair—also useless by business standards, since you can’t do anything with hair.

But Jesus announced that this woman’s actions gave evidence that she had another asset: God’s gift of saving faith in his Son. In her moral bankruptcy, she had met the God whose infinite riches of grace are available to all who know their need. And Jesus blessed her with forgiveness and peace. Has he done that for you?

Lord Jesus, we know that on our own we have nothing to offer. But may your Spirit continue to assure us that faith in you frees us from the debt of our sins. Amen.

About the author — Fred Bultman

Fred Bultman began a “second career” as a pastor in 1997, after a first career in the banking business.  He served as pastor to congregations in the U.S. and Canada. In retirement, he continues to enjoy sharing in the ministry of the churches in and around his home in Fremont, Michigan.

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