The Love that a person has for Jesus, is directly proportional to the view that they have of their life.
Mary Magdalene was a known prostitute in Jerusalem.
In John chapter 8, she is brought by the Pharisees before Jesus to be judged for her adultery, being caught in the very act. John 8:4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.” (NIV)
As a result of her encounter with Jesus, she turns from her sin and begins to follow Him as her Savior. Luke later records an evening when Jesus is having dinner at the home of Simon, one of the Pharisees. Suddenly, Mary burst into the home of Simon and falls at the feet of Jesus—weeping convulsively, anointing His feet with her tears and fragrant oil. Simon is indignant over a known prostitute coming into his home, and immediately begins to wonder to himself why Jesus, if he were a true prophet, would allow such a woman to touch Him.
Jesus, knowing what was in Simon’s heart, begins to tell him a story…
Luke 7:40-43 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”
Jesus establishes an important principle of salvation: those who have a deeper sense of their own sin, will love and appreciate what Jesus has done for them in forgiving their sin, in greater measure, than a person who does not consider themselves much of a sinner.
Luke 7:47 “Therefore I say to you (Simon), her sins (Mary), which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
It is important to distinguish here that Jesus is not saying that one person’s sin is less grievous than another. The point being—all sin is the same before God, however, not all people see themselves as sinners to the same degree. To those who think themselves more righteous and not in great need of a Savior, they will always love Jesus less than someone who fully appreciates the depth of their sinfulness and estrangement from God.
In other words, people who have a deep sense of gratitude for the sacrifice that Jesus has made for them, are likely to love Him more. Whereas, people who have not experienced a deep sense of remorse for their sins—or how much He suffered for their sins—will not feel as much love or appreciation for what Jesus has done.
In reality, every transgression is the same before God. Every sin causes a person to be excluded from the presence of God and to forfeit eternal life. The sin of lying causes the same penalty of death as the sin of murder. Sin is defined as: missing the mark of perfection—falling short of the glorious ideal that God has established for all human beings.
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
Psalms 53:3 Every one of them has turned aside; They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.
Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one…”
Many of us have seen the text from John 3:16 displayed during a football or baseball game. The majority of the people of the United States have heard that God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
There is, however, more to this verse than simply the Love of God for the sinner. Just three verses further in the text, we see a description for why most people will not receive this love that God offers through Jesus Christ:
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, (but) men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Most people love their sin (darkness), and they do not want to turn away from those sins and surrender their life to Jesus Christ (light).
Today, we have a politically correct Gospel that leaves repentance from sin out of the salvation message of Jesus Christ. The word of God states emphatically that there is no forgiveness of sin without sincere repentance. There is no eternal life without a willingness to turn from sin and to live a new life of righteousness.
Even after we have surrendered our life to Jesus Christ, we will still continue to sin. The difference is that we are no longer living in a continual lifestyle of disobedience to God. When sin occurs, it is by a moment of weakness or during a time when we are not thinking correctly. It is not because we have a mind set that loves sin and a desire to pursue it. Salvation only occurs when there is sincere repentance from our sins and a genuine sorrow for having offended God. Once this Godly sorrow occurs and we experience a true conviction to repent and act upon that desire, God is able to forgive all our sins and grant us eternal life.
The Timing of Mary’s Act of Love
Two days before Jesus would offer His life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, Mary came and anointed Jesus’ feet with precious oil. Judas went to the chief priests to ask how much they would give him to betray Jesus. On the final night before He was arrested and unjustly condemned to die, Jesus gathered all of His disciples to eat the Passover meal. He took the cup of wine and drank from it, broke the bread and passed it to His disciples. He told these men that the wine was a symbol of His blood which would be shed for the sins of the world—the bread, a symbol of His body which would be broken for us. Then Jesus said something that gives us a hint at His true calling as The Branch Isaiah describes in this prophecy:
Matthew 26:29 “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” Jesus was taking the vow of a Nazarite at that moment, to separate Himself from the effects of alcohol produced by the fermenting grapes of wine. He was about to offer His life as full payment for our sins. He would allow nothing to numb Him from the pain and suffering that He would experience. He was taking our place at the judgment of God for all sins, and He would not diminish any of the suffering that was required.
What Mary did for Jesus was not taken lightly by Him. Every act of kindness and love that we show to Jesus during our life, is recorded in heaven (Malachi 3:16). When Mary completed her sincere act of love, in response to her grateful heart; Jesus said that what she had done for Him would be remembered.
“Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
Jesus predicted that because of this incredible act of love that Mary bestowed upon Him, wherever the Good News of Jesus Christ is spoken, people all over the world will hear what Mary has done. The fact that this event has been recorded in the narrative of the New Testament and you are reading it today, is a testimony to the truth of what Jesus said.