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Thankfulness Flows from Forgiveness


Days after my wife gave birth to our third child, I made the mistake of forgetting to bring home ice cream from the grocery store. While I made it home in record time with (almost) everything else on the list, I had forgotten the most important item . . . chocolate brownie ice cream! Obviously, I was in need of forgiveness! If Jesus walked the earth today, this could easily have been the beginning of one of His parables.

In today’s text, Jesus told a parable during a dinner party at a Pharisee’s home. A woman interrupted the gathering by weeping at Jesus’ feet. She then wiped His feet with her hair and doused them with expensive perfume. As the Pharisee watched this generous act of kindness, he could not believe what his eyes were witnessing (v. 39). Sensing the Pharisee’s thoughts, Jesus turned this incident into a teaching moment His host and the guests would remember: Thankfulness flows out of forgiveness. He shared a parable about a moneylender who forgave two men’s debts (vv. 41–42). Then Jesus related it to the scene that was occurring at His feet.

The woman in our text today would have most likely been well known in that town, but for all the wrong reasons. Luke doesn’t tell us exactly what her sin was, but the text indicates that most people knew about it and she was ashamed of what she had been doing or had done (v. 39). This is why her actions toward Jesus took incredible courage. Despite what others thought, she stopped at nothing to demonstrate her thankfulness, perhaps because she knew she was in the presence of One who was not going to demean, take advantage of, or criticize her. She was in the presence of someone who could offer her forgiveness. Her abundance of thankfulness flowed from Jesus’ forgiveness.

Apply the Word

Your private life may not be as exposed to your community as that of the woman’s in today’s text, but it is on display for our heavenly Father. He sees your sins and mine, yet He offers us forgiveness. Today, thank God for His forgiveness. And since your sins are forgiven, be quick to forgive others . . . even if they forget the ice cream.

BY Chris Rappazini

Chris Rappazini is the associate professor and program head of the BA and MA in Pastoral Studies at Moody Bible Institute and Moody Theological Seminary. He is the vice president of the Evangelical Homiletics Society and previously served as the associate minister of preaching and teaching at Southside Christian Church in Spokane, Washington. Chris and his wife, Ashley, and their three children reside in Northwest Indiana.

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