Turning to the woman, he said to Simon, â€œDo you see this woman? I entered into your house, and you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave me no kiss, but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss my feet. You didnâ€™t anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.â€ He said to her, â€œYour sins are forgiven.â€ Â Â Â Â Â Luke 7:44-48 (WEB)
It has not left my mind about how much of Paulâ€™s letters had â€˜graceâ€™ at the root of the message. I have been reading over some of those letters in the last 24 hours. I hope you will take time to read over these chapters, too:
Romans 5 and 6
I am going to offer two reasons that â€˜graceâ€™ was on Paulâ€™s heart when he wrote.
1) Paul was responsible for the death of many Believers (later known as Christians) and the persecution of countless others. He had to live with that knowledge. How often do you think he met a brother, sister, cousin, spouse, etc. of someone who had crossed paths with Saul of Tarsus? How did he look into their eyes? Like the woman who wept at Jesusâ€™ feet, Paul had received grace and mercy in abundance. Like me, Paul continued to receive grace â€“ extravagant, undeserving love â€“ from His Savior. I believe Paul wanted others to know the power of this gift in their own lives. He knew that whatever they had done, Godâ€™s grace was enough to heal and set them free. Paul knew.
2) I believe Paul also saw the Big Picture and knew that if the Church did not accept Godâ€™s gift of grace, the Church would not survive. Division and factions would tear the Church in pieces if individuals did not accept the gift of grace personally and extend that grace to each other. Unity of the Spirit overflows with grace and mercy. Godâ€™s Kingdom will not be built on just our knowledge of His Law but in our knowledge of His grace. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and He did it with His grace.
I can see Paul pacing a room as he dictated his letters, tears streaming down his face, sweat pouring off his body, neither eating nor drinking as he labored to bring forth words, his witness, to the healing power of grace. Grace that would strengthen and build Godâ€™s Kingdom.