God’s Prayer Book – Guilt
November 15, 2022
Prayer in the Psalms - guilt.
A woman, who wore the appearance of sin (likely prostitute), came into the house of a Pharisee after she heard that Jesus was there. It would seem that all she wanted to do, even at the cost of great shame that would be heaped upon her, was to touch the Lord. Perhaps, after believing in Him as the Messiah, felt the need to throw herself into His light and be dealt whatever she had coming to her.
This woman would only come to Lord in such a place if she believed in who He was. In the home of a Pharisee, her shame would have its sharpest sting and greatest pressure. I wonder why she didn’t wait for Him to leave and skip the embarrassment of being in the house of a Pharisee. Perhaps it was because the crowds around Him were so great, or perhaps she was afraid she would never have another opportunity. Whatever the case, the pressure to be with Him was overwhelming
She would only touch Him if she was desperate, for she knows by doing so, that her uncleanliness would make Him unclean. Perhaps she knew somewhere inside herself that He couldn’t be made unclean. What we know is that she overcomes tremendous barriers, social and personal in order to fall at His feet. Her courage to overcome fear and risk so much on this one chance, intermixed with the memory of her many sins, overpowers her heart and she weeps deeply. Out of love and respect, which are actions of worship, she wipes His feet dry with her hair and anoints them with her perfume, a perfume, no doubt, that she had used on herself for her trade (if she was a prostitute, which is likely when we see how the Pharisee describes her).
Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. 37 And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner [harmatolos - general word for sinner]; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, 38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner."
40 And Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he replied, "Say it, Teacher." 41 "A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 "When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?" 43 Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have judged correctly." 44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 "You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 "You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47 "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." 48 Then He said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven." 49 Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins?" 50 And He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
It is hard to imagine why the Pharisee’s household servants would have overlooked the washing of Jesus’ feet when He entered. Regardless of the mind and actions of the Pharisee, he is not the one to be looking at in this wonderful narrative.
Jesus could have forgiven her and sent her away.
Jesus knows that He must restore her soul just as much as she needs to be forgiven. He speaks to her. He encourages her. He takes the time to focus just on her.
“Your sins have been forgiven. … Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
One of the great benefits of confession to God is the very real experience of being forgiven. If we keep silent about our sins rather than bringing them into the light of His righteousness, we will not know that experience, and within our hearts we will build up guilt upon guilt, which will darken and weigh down our souls, making us sluggish and unhappy.
“Forgive us our debts (and iniquities Luk 11) as we forgive the debts of others” (Mat 6:12).
Typical to the Bible’s depiction of the reality of mankind, we find in the Psalms prayers for the forgiveness of sins.
Confession gave David the experience of forgiveness. Confession is a type of prayer.
Psa 32:1-5 A Psalm of David. A Maskil.
How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
2 How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.
5 I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord";
And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.
David does not question his forgiveness. He is sure of it because of his faith in God’s redemption.
The assurance of forgiveness is found in both testaments. The experience of it restores the soul.
Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.
7 You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble;
You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.