Sitting at Jesus’ Feet
(Finding Forgiveness and Renewal)
By pastor Kelly Sensenig
One spring a family was driving from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa, Florida. As far as the eye could see, orange trees were loaded with fruit. When the stopped for breakfast, the mother ordered orange juice with her eggs. "I'm sorry," the waitress said. "I can't bring you orange juice. Our machine is broken."
At first the mother was dumbfounded. She knew they were surrounded by millions of oranges, and she knew they had oranges in the kitchen for orange slices garnished their plates. What was the problem? No juice? Hardly. The mother observed that they were surrounded by thousands of gallons of juice. The problem was they had become dependent on a machine to get it.
Christians are sometimes like this. They may be surrounded by Bibles in their homes, but if something should happen to the Sunday morning preaching service, they would have no nourishment for their souls. The problem is not a lack of spiritual food. The problem is this. Many Christians haven't grown enough to learn how to get the spiritual food for themselves by spending time in God’s Word.
Dearly beloved, we need a devotional life, a quiet time, a time when we stop hurrying, running, and moving. It’s a time when life is put on hold, when we can we sit as Jesus’ feet, and allow His Word to refresh our souls and rebuild or revitalize our spiritual lives. Oh dear friend, we need to take time to be holy! The world rushes on! We need the quiet time, a special retreat, and a place where our souls can catch up with our bodies! This study is about the importance of the devotional life. Every Christian must learn to sit at Jesus’ feet, listen to His Word, and allow Him to communicate His daily message to your soul.
There are several passages of Scripture where we find certain people sitting at Jesus’ feet. These Bible passages teach us the importance of taking devotional time with the Lord. They remind us to slow down in life, where we can allow God to one again speak to us, and recharge our spiritual batteries. Christ longs for our fellowship and wants to share His life with us.
We discover two blessings at Jesus’ feet.
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
The Biblical account of Mary and Martha remind us of how we can find fellowship and communion with the Christ only when we take time to sit at His feet and listen to His Word. Let’s break this section of Scripture down with some other related texts to get the full picture of the importance of fellowshipping with the Lord.
There are two observations related to fellowship with God.
I. Sitting at Jesus’ feet.
Martha was so busy in life that she had forgotten to smell the roses. She had not taken the needed time to sit at Jesus’ feet and refresh her soul. The truth is this. When we sit at Jesus’ feet and make devotional time with Him, we are choosing something that can never be taken away from us. “Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). The world with all its alarms and charms cannot steal away our devotional life with the Lord when we make it our highest priority.
We must take time to devotionally meet with the Lord, where we can give Him our heart, and commit our days to Him. If we want to keep ourselves spiritually sane and keep our lives from falling apart we need to remember to sit at Jesus’ feet. How often do we rush on with the world and forget to sit at the feet of feet? Let’s be honest. Many of us are guilty of running without resting. We are guilty of setting out for the day’s journey without first sitting at Jesus’ feet.
When I sit at Jesus’ feet three things take place.
a. I listen to His Word (Like 10:38-39, 42).
When we sit as Jesus’ feet and listen to His Word we will experience fellowship with the Lord. When we listen to God’s Word on a daily basis the believer will experience fellowship with the Lord. This is what Mary experienced. However, the Bible first says that “Martha received him into her house” (Luke 10:38). This woman was willing to welcome Jesus in to her home and serve Him. This is certainly something praiseworthy. Martha should be commended for her willing service to the Lord. Do you have a servant’s heart today? Are you willing to serve the Lord and open your heart and home to Him?
“I will serve Thee
Because I love Thee
You have given life to me.
I was nothing before You found me.
You have given life to me.”
By the way, if Jesus were to knock at your door today, could you let Him in without fearing what He might see, hear, and find you doing? What would you change in your home if you knew Jesus was going to visit tomorrow? If there are some things we would change, or some things we would get rid of, then we must make the necessary changes for Jesus knows all about our homes and what we are doing. You can’t fool Jesus!
The Bible says in Luke 10:39 that Mary took time to sit as Jesus feet and listen to His Word (“sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word”). This means that Mary knew what was most important in life. The world is passing way (1 John 2:17). Let us never forget the Bible world is the real world. When you sit at the feet of Jesus and spend time with the Lord in His Word, you are in contact with reality, the things that matter most in life, and the things that will last forever! Mary sensed that she needed personal time with the Lord. In the midst of a fast-paced society all of us need to take blessing breaks and spend devotional time with the Lord. We can’t afford to neglect time with Jesus where we open up His Word, the Bible, and allow Him to speak to our hearts, reshape our lives, and direct us for the day’s journey.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
How can we expect to keep our lives in spiritual tune when we never want to listen to Jesus? Christ wants us to listen to His Word and then obey it. He wants us to take time with Him where we can allow Him to once again speak to us, redirect us, and strengthen us for the journey. Jesus wants to take time with you. The question is this. Do you want to take time with Him?
We must learn to slow down and live again! God isn’t in a hurry so slow down and let Him speak to you afresh and anew from His Word. This reminds us of the importance of having a daily quiet time. If we fail to sit at Jesus’ feet we will sooner or later begin to falter in our spiritual lives. We will sense that something is beginning to lack and find ourselves drifting away from our spiritual moorings. When we fail to sit at Jesus feet we will find it harder to talk to the Lord and worship Him. We will find ourselves missing out on the true blessing in life.
The need for quietness and solitude was never greater than it is today. A.W. Tozer writes in his book Of God and Men that some of God's children “want to discover the blessedness of spiritual aloneness, to relearn the ways of solitude and simplicity.” To such he offers this counsel: “Retire from the world each day to some private spot...Stay in the secret place till the surrounding noises begin to fade out of your heart and a sense of God's presence envelopes you. Deliberately tune out the unpleasant sounds and come out of your closet determined not to hear them. Listen for the inward Voice till you learn to recognize it...Learn to pray inwardly every moment. After a while you can do this even while you work.”
Isaiah 30:15 says “in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” In Matthew 14:23 we find that Jesus “went up into a mountain apart to pray.” He found the importance of having a spiritual retreat where He could talk to the Father and commune with Him. When we find that the Lord is speaking to us through His Word we normally will find ourselves speaking to Him through prayer. God speaks to us through His Word and then we speak to Him requesting His guidance and strength for the day.
“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”
When Jesus went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray, we can rest assured He wasn't heading off for the latest Rabbi Retreat featuring "The Day's Most Dynamic Communicators" along with "The Finest in Contemporary Jewish Music." We don’t need these things. What we need is the quietness and solitude of sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to Him speak to us through His Word.
Andrew Murray once said:
“How many Christians look upon it as a burden and a duty and a difficulty to get alone with God! That is the great hindrance to our Christian life everywhere.”
Dearly beloved, when we make time for the devotional life we take the necessary time we need to be spiritually fed from God’s Word and communicate or fellowship with Him through prayer. We need to stop running around like chickens with our heads cut off and take time to be holy. Of course, just being quiet and listening to the Lord speak to us though His Word is one of the most spiritually rewarding and revitalizing times we can experience throughout the day.
“Beware of saying, ‘I haven't time to read the Bible, or to pray’; say rather, ‘I haven't disciplined myself to do these things.’”
“And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.”
D.L. Moody remarked:
“We ought to see the face of God every morning before we see the face of man.”
A mother one said, “I reached into the cupboard for a mug, filled it with water, then popped it into the microwave. After the water was piping hot, I mixed in a packet of hot chocolate and carried it up to the room where I have my quiet time. I sat on the couch with my Bible and sipped the hot liquid, savoring each swallow. Then it dawned on me that what I was doing with my morning hot chocolate was exactly what I should do with the Word of God. As I drank my hot chocolate, it becomes a part of me. So should I be with God's word. I should sip and savor, be warmed and fed.”
“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Our Lord says that Mary chose the one thing that was needful. She chose to sit at His feet and listen to His Word. Please note that there are not many things which are needful. There is only one thing that is needed to keep our spiritual lives in tune. We must sit at Jesus’ feet. We don’t need to follow the pyramid of secular psychological needs to find fulfillment and meaning to life. We don’t need more contemporary music. We don’t need to start some new program. What we need to do is get back to the simplicity of sitting at Jesus’ feet. It’s at the feet of Jesus where we find meaning and purpose for life. It’s at the feet of Jesus, listening to His Word, where we find direction and keep our spiritual compass pointing in the right direction. When we are sitting at the feet of Jesus we can allow the Lord speak to us again, show us His will, and strengthen us for the journey and tasks of the day.
“I need Jesus, my need I now confess.
No friend like Him in times of deep distress.
I need Jesus, the need I gladly own;
Tho some may bear their load alone,
Yet I need Jesus.”
One pastor would occasionally go on a personal retreat to pray and seek God's direction for his ministry. During one retreat, someone called the church office and asked, "May I speak with the pastor?" The secretary replied, "I'm sorry, he's gone to be with the Lord." There was a long silence on the other end. Then the secretary realized what she had said. "But he'll be back next week."
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”
b. I learn to share my woes.
“Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”
When we sit as Jesus’ feet and talk to Him about our problems and burdens we will experience fellowship with the Lord. In this episode of Mary’s life we find her falling at the feet of Jesus once again. This time she is seen at the feet of Jesus voicing her woe, grief, and concern. Her brother Lazarus had died and she was discouraged and distraught over the whole ordeal. However, we find that Mary found the importance of casting her care upon the Lord as she rested at his feet.
1 Peter 5:7
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
When I place myself at Jesus’ feet I will learn the secret of casting life’s cares on Him. The load of life it too heavy to bear. Fear and frustration can very easily overtake us. We must learn the secret of sitting at Jesus’ feet and casting our cares upon the Lord. Christ wants to shoulder our cares and anxieties. He wants to take the weight off of our shoulders. Many times we hurry through life and forget to cast our burden upon the Lord.
“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
We used to sing these words in a music group.
“Life is moving faster then it ever has before.
What tomorrow brings us in certain any more.
The things that you can count upon grow fewer every day.
But when there number gets to one
That One will show you the way.
Praise the Lord; He never changes.
I come to Him, He’s always there.
He comforts me on every level.
Takes the burden that I bear.
Praise the Lord, He never changes.
He’s never any other way.
And He’ll be the same tomorrow as He was and is today."
Over the years I have found that these words are very true. Praise the Lord He never changes. He’s always there and I can sit at His feet and cast my burden upon Him.
“And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house.”
This man also found the importance of casting his burden upon the Lord while before Jesus’ feet. Dearly beloved, we can’t make it without Him.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
We must learn the secret of resting at Christ’s feet and finding grace for the journey and the trials that we must face. It’s at the feet of Jesus where we find to solace, strength, and steadiness.
“Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear,
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what he deems best—
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.”
c. I long to give Him His worth.
“Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.”
When we worship at Jesus’ feet on a daily basis the believer will experience fellowship with the Lord. The account of Mary’s anointing of her Lord is found also in Matthew 26:6–13 and Mark 14:3–9. However, it should not be confused with the account given in Luke 7:36–50, where a former harlot anointed Jesus in the house of Simon the Pharisee. We will look at this account later. In this section of the Word of God we once again see Martha serving and Mary taking time at Jesus’ feet. In this home Mary expressed her worship and adoration by anointing the feet of Jesus with costly perfume. She was ascribing worth to Him by this action. Mary’s lavish gift expressed her love, thanks, and worship to Jesus for His restoring Lazarus to life.
The perfume she used was expensive. It was imported in sealed alabaster boxes or flasks which were opened only on special occasions. It would have required a year’s wages for a common laborer to purchase this perfumed ointment. Like David, Mary would not give to the Lord that which cost her nothing (2 Sam. 24:24). This woman’s beautiful act of worship brought a fragrance to the very house in which they were dining. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and probably knew that Christ was going to die. She was no doubt showing her devotion to Jesus before it was too late.
“She was giving the roses while He was yet alive, and not bringing them to the funeral!”
Dear friend, if we are going to love, worship, and express our thanks to Him, we better get doing it! Time is running out. Our days are numbered. We must remember what is most important in life and give our days to Him in worship and devotional living.
Are you following the devil’s advice or God’s advice for your life? It’s interesting that when Mary came to the feet of Jesus, she took the place of a slave. When she undid her hair (something Jewish women did not do in public) she humbled herself and laid her glory at His feet.
“But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”
A woman’s longer hair was a symbol of the glory or beauty of her femininity. Therefore, when Mary wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair she was surrendering her glory to the Lord and giving Him all the glory in this beautiful act of worship. She was ascribing all worth and glory to Jesus.
“Eternal Father of my soul, let my first thought today be of You, let my first impulse be to worship You, let my first speech be Your name, let my first action be to kneel in prayer. Amen.”
“And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.”
When was the last time you worshipped at Jesus’ feet? How long has it been since you met with the Lord? When we sit at Jesus’ feet we will experience the wonder of worship. We will learn the secret of opening our heart to the Lord and expressing our worship to Him through thanksgiving, praise, and prayer. We will say, “Jesus, what a wonder You are!” Worshipping the Lord “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) keeps us from the devotional doldrums. It keeps spark in our devotional life.
Here am I; holy Lord, seeking now Your face,
Thankful for Your grace, as I worship You.
Here am I, Holy Lord, in this quiet hour,
By Your Spirit’s pow’r cleanse my heart anew
O Lamb of God, the One that I adore.
I long to sing Your praise forevermore.
O I worship You with songs of praise.
In You alone my heart rejoices.
Accept this offering of love,
O God above I worship You.”
II. Serving at Jesus’ table
“But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things.”
Both Mary and Martha did serve and work in the kitchen. They wanted to make a nice table of food for Jesus to enjoy. However, Mary not only chose to serve but also take time to sit as Jesus’ feet The text implies that Mary “also sat at Jesus feet” which means she not only served, but in addition, set time aside to sit at Jesus’ feet. Mary served and also sat at Jesus’ feet while Martha was continually preoccupied with serving and forgot to sit at the feet of Jesus. Serving is fine. However, if all we do is serve, sooner or later we will become unbalanced in life. God not only wants us to be a worker like Martha but also a worshipper like Mary.
Charles Wesley said it perfectly in one of his hymns:
“Faithful to my Lord’s commands,
I still would choose the better part;
Serve with careful Martha’s hands,
And loving Mary’s heart.”
It seems evident that the Lord wants each of us to imitate Mary in our worship and Martha in our work. Both are important. Blessed are the balanced!Martha’s received Jesus into her home but neglected Him as she prepared an elaborate meal. Let us remember that what we do with Christ is far more important than what we do for Christ. Beware! If we try to work for Christ without taking time to commune with Christ we will become spiritually depleted and miss life’s true purpose and blessing. Mary chose the better part (Luke 10:42) which was the part that could not be taken from her (communion and fellowship with God). How wonderful to realize that no person can steal this time of fellowship from our hearts and lives. If we don’ take time to fellowship with God it’s our own fault. Mary knew that she could not live “by bread alone” (Matt. 4:4). Therefore, she chose to take time to fellowship with the Lord at His feet. There is a very practical lesson to learn from Martha’s life. It’s not only what you are but where you are that counts! We might be outwardly seen as a spiritually giant for the many things we have accomplished and all the places we have been. However, this is what you are seen to be on the outside. It’s not necessary where you are with the Lord. The point is this. Sitting at the feet of Jesus is what makes our service and ministry a delight instead of drudgery. It keeps sunshine in our hearts as we serve and work for the Lord.
The most important part of the Christian life is the part that only God sees. It’s our inner worship and communion before the Lord. Unless we meet Christ personally and privately each day, sitting at His feet, we will soon end up like Martha. We will be busy but miss out on God’s true spiritual blessing. Often in my pastoral ministry, I have asked people who have had serious spiritual problems, one question. What is your devotional life? The usual response has been somewhat of embarrassment. Some bow their heads in shame and quietly confess they have stopped reading their Bible and praying a long time ago. People sometimes wonder why they have so many spiritual problems in life and why their priorities are so mixed up. The answer lies in their neglected devotional time, when they sit at Jesus’ feet, and listen to His Word.
When I forget to sit at Jesus’ feet two things happen.
a. I begin to complain about others.
“But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.”
Mary had done her share of work in the kitchen, so she decided to go and feed on the Lord’s teachings, while sitting at the Master’s feet. Martha felt neglected after Mary left the kitchen and she began to complain and to suggest that neither the Lord nor Mary really cared! I think we need to remember something at this point of our study. Whenever we begin criticize others and pity ourselves because we feel overworked, we had better take time to examine our lives. The Bible says, “let a man examine himself” (1 Cor. 11:28). Perhaps in the midst of our busyness and self-pity we have really been ignoring the Lord. Our real problem is not with others but with ourselves! We have missed time with the Lord and are no longer spending time at Jesus’ feet. Martha’s problem was that she allowed her work to distract her and pull her away from sitting at Jesus’ feet and fellowshipping with Him. We must remember that our service to the Lord can get in the way of our worship of the Lord. We can become so bent on serving the Lord that we miss the quiet time of sitting at Jesus’ feet.
Have you ever wondered why a pigeon walks so funny? According to an interesting article in the Detroit Free Press, a pigeon walks the way it does so it can see where it's going. Because it can't adjust its focus as it moves, the pigeon actually has to bring its head to a complete stop between steps in order to refocus. This is the way it walks: head forward, stop; head back, stop.
In our spiritual walk with the Lord we have the same problem as the pigeon. We have a hard time seeing while we're moving. We also need to stop between steps -- to refocus on where we are in relation to the World and the will of God. Certainly our walk with the Lord needs to have built into it a pattern of "stops," which enable us to see more clearly before moving on. We must stop and sit at Jesus’ feet if we want to stay spiritually in tune with Him and serve the Lord with gladness (Ps. 100:2).
b. I begin to care about the obstacles.
Our Lord said something to Martha in Luke 10:41 that stabs many of us in the heart - “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things.” Martha was filled with anxiety or worry and troubled over the many obstacles or trials that she faced in life. Is not this the sad commentary on many Christian lives today? When we fail to sit at Jesus’ feet we find ourselves being overcome by the obstacles we face in life. The cares of this world begin to slowly choke out our spiritual vitality and life. The truth of the matter is this. Trials should actually drive us to the feet of Jesus. They should draw us closer to the Lord.
“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.”
“And I thank You
Lord, for the trials that come my way,
In that way I can grow each day as I let You lead.
Cause You promised Lord, that with every testing
That Your way of escaping is easier to bear.
And I thank You Lord, for the victory that growing brings,
In surrender of everything, life is so worthwhile.
And I thank You Lord, that when everything's put in place,
Out in front I can see Your face and it’s there You belong.”
A preacher of the early 1900s said that when he was 12 years old he had killed one of the family geese by throwing a stone and hitting it squarely on the head. Figuring his parents wouldn't notice that one of the 24 birds was missing, he buried the dead fowl. But that evening his sister called him aside and said, "I saw what you did. If you don't offer to do the dishes tonight, I'll tell Mother." The next morning she gave him the same warning. All that day and the next the frightened boy felt bound to do the dishes. The following morning, however, he surprised his sister by telling her it was her turn. When she quietly reminded him of what she could do, he replied, "I've already told Mother, and she has forgiven me. Now you can do the dishes. I'm free again!"
The second major blessing we find at Jesus’ feet is forgiveness. Through Christ we have received personal forgiveness or acquittal before God that resulted in our salvation from hell. The Biblical narrative unfolds like this.
1. The moment of forgiveness
“And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.”
This woman’s sins are not named, but we get the impression she was a woman of the streets who had a bad reputation (“a woman of the city, which was a sinner” – Luke 7:37). She was likely a prostitute who stood behind the feet of Jesus weeping and washing His feet with her tears and hair. The fact that she washed Jesus’ feet with her hair, which was a woman’s glory (1 Cor. 11:15), speaks of her submissive worship of Christ and how she was giving Him all the glory. She also kissed Jesus’ feet and anointed them with expensive perfume. Judas kissed Jesus in hypocrisy but this was the kiss of worship which became the outward or visible evidence of the woman’s repentance and faith in Christ for salvation.
The Bible says in Psalm 2:12
“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
To “kiss the son” means to be submissive to a sovereign. In this context it means to be submissive to the King! Kissing the Son is an expression of submissive worship that gives evidence of one’s repentance and faith in Christ. If one does not kiss the Son they will perish or be judged by Him (“perish from the way”). Their failure to extend worship to the King demonstrates their unwillingness to repent of their sins and be saved. Judgment comes upon the sinner who fails to embrace Christ as Savior.
Jesus said in John 3:18:
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Have you ever kissed the Son? Have you ever kissed the feet of Jesus?
“Sprinkled now with blood the throne
Why beneath thy burdens groan?
On My pierced body laid,
Justice owns the ransom paid:
Bow the knee, and kiss the Son,
Come and welcome, sinner, come.”
This woman gave evidence that she was a repentant sinner who had expressed faith in Christ by submissively kissing the feet of Jesus in this act of adoration or worship. All of these actions or gestures were an indication of this woman’s sorrow and repentance over sin. They also indicate she had faith that Jesus could forgive her sins. Dear friend, this woman was once you. Remember when you were sitting at the feet of Jesus weeping and asking for the forgiveness of your sins? He was there for you!! What if Jesus wouldn’t have been there for you? We were all sitting at the feet of Jesus before we became a Christian. And what did Jesus do for us?
“And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.”
This was the moment of her forgiveness and ours as well. The moment we express faith in Christ, we are forgiven of all our sins, and eternally acquitted in God’s presence.
“And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”
Faith in Christ results in forgiveness and salvation (Acts 26:18). When we express simple faith in Christ we receive the forgiveness of sins (“Thy sins are forgiven”) and salvation from hell (“Thy faith hath saved thee”). Do you remember when Jesus gave these words of reassurance to you? Let these words sink deep into your soul. What if Christ would have said: “I can’t forgive you? I can’t accept you? I won’t save you?” If this were the case every last one of us would be going to hell. But He didn’t say this. Instead, He said, “Thy sins are forgiven.” Blessed noonday truth. At the feet of Jesus I find forgiveness and acquittal before God which results in my salvation.
“Jesus, answer from above,
Is not all thy nature love?
Wilt thou not the wrong forget,
Suffer me to kiss thy feet?
If I rightly read thy heart,
If thou all compassion art,
Bow thine ear, in mercy bow,
Pardon and accept me now.”
2. The manner of forgiveness.
Jesus explained the manner in which He forgives sinners in Luke 7:41-42: “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?”
Jesus introduced this parable to teach the unconditional forgiveness that He gives to lost sinners. What a beautiful way to express Christ’s forgiveness! It’s free! A person can’t earn forgiveness nor must he meet certain conditions to obtain it. Christ frankly or freely and graciously forgives sinners. Why? It’s because He is a friend of sinners.
“The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!”
The whole episode of the sinful woman at Jesus’ feet, finding forgiveness, illustrates that what the religious leaders said about Jesus was true. He was not a glutton or drunkard but He was a friend of sinners! In their ridicule the Pharisees and scribes actually revealed one of the most wonderful and lovely traits about Christ’s life. He was a friend of sinners!
“Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.
Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.”
Today many try to find forgiveness and release from their sins through reformation, religion, and praying through the rosary. But forgiveness can only be found at Jesus’ feet. When we sit at Jesus’ feet, and place our faith alone in Him for salvation (Gal. 3:26), we find the complete forgiveness that we need to provide us with salvation from hell. The truth is this. Sitting at Jesus’ feet brings deliverance from sin’s penalty and power.
“Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.”
This is an illustration of what happens to everyone who comes to faith in Jesus Christ. After we were saved and delivered from the clutches of the devil we were seen sitting at Christ’s feet in humble gratitude and praise for what He has done for us. It’s at the feet of Jesus where I find freedom, forgiveness, and release from the fetters or shackles of sin. You won’t find forgiveness in popes, cardinals, and priests. You won’t find it in religion, denominational structures, prayer beads, the Star of David, Eucharist, or legalism. You will only find it at Jesus’ feet.
One man told me that during World War II he was lying in a foxhole and had prayer beads, the Star of David, and a cross around his neck. He said that he was in good hands. Dear friend, you won’t find forgiveness in relics. You will only find forgiveness at the feet of Jesus.
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”
You will notice that these Bible texts do not say maybe we will be forgiven, hopefully we will be forgiven, or that we will be potentially or partially forgiven. Never! At the moment when we express faith in Christ all our sins are forgiven in God’s sight forever. Micah 7:19 gives this wonderful promise: “and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” What a beautiful way to express complete and eternal forgiveness or acquittal that we have in God’s presence.
You ask me why
I'm happy so I'll just tell you why,
Because my sins are gone;
And when I meet the scoffers who ask me where they are,
I say, "My sins are gone."
When Satan comes
to tempt me and tries to make me doubt,
I say, "My sins are gone,
You got me into trouble but Jesus got me out."
I'm glad my sins are gone!
I'm living now
for Jesus, I'm happy night and day,
Because my sins are gone;
My soul is filled with music, with all my heart I say,
"I know my sins are gone!"
underneath the blood on the cross of Calvary,
As far removed as darkness is from dawn;
In the sea of God's forgetfulness, that's good enough for me,
Praise God, my sins are gone!
3. The ministry of forgiveness.
Jesus was willing to forgive you. The question I must leave with you is this. Are you willing to forgive others? To forgive others is a ministry or service that you must perform if you want to be released from a bitter and unforgiving spirit. A stubborn old farmer was plowing his field. A neighbor, who was watching as he tried to guide the mule, finally said, "I don't want to butt in, but you could save yourself a lot of work by saying ‘giteeup’ and ‘woe’, instead of jerking on the reins." The old-timer mopped his brow and replied, "Yep, I know; but this here mule kicked me 6 years ago, and I ain't spoke to him since!"
Some Christians have the same kind of unforgiving heart and attitude toward others even as this farmer had toward his mule. Now let’s ask ourselves an important question. Did we deserve the forgiveness we received at Jesus’ feet? The answer is obvious. Absolutely not. But Jesus was there for us when we needed Him most. Now what should our response be to those who have sinned against us? Should we say, “I can’t forgive you? I can’t accept you? I won’t restore you?” In light of what Christ did for us we ought to return this favor and blessing to others.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”
When we sat at Jesus feet He was kind and tenderhearted toward us. He forgave us of every sin that we would ever commit against Him. We did terrible things that offended His holiness. However, Jesus forgave us of every sin that we ever committed against Him and would commit against Him in the future. Jesus didn’t say, “I’ll forgive you but I won’t talk to you or love you.” He said, “I forgive you because I love you” (John 3:16) and will always love you (Rom. 8:38-39). No strings attached.
Evangelist E. L. Hamilton once rebuked a Christian lady who had an unforgiving spirit toward someone who had offended her. After a moment's thought she replied, "Well, I guess I'll pardon her as you suggest, but I don't want anything more to do with her!" "Is that how you want God to treat you?" said Mr. Hamilton. "Do you want to receive His forgiveness and then have Him withdraw His love and fellowship? Remember, when Christ put away your sins, He cast them into the sea of everlasting forgetfulness!" Recognizing her wrong attitude, she repented and forgave the woman.
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
Even as Christ forgave you! Do you remember what a great sinners you were and what a great forgiver Christ was?
“Roll back the curtain of memory now and then,
Show me where You brought me from,
And where I could have been.
I’m only human and humans forget.
So remind me, remind me dear Lord.”
Remember that day when you were sitting at Jesus’ feet and when you washed His feet with your tears? Remember when your heart was broken and when you kissed His feet? Remember when you said, “Help me Jesus. Forgive me Jesus. Save me Jesus?” Remember when He said, “Thy sins are forgiven?”
Dear friend, let God do a work of grace in your heart and forgive that person, who has wronged you, and love that individual unconditionally, as God has loved you and still loves you today (Rom. 8:38-39). Bury the hatchet and don’t let the handle stick out of the ground for easy access!
A magazine clipping advertised a set of labels that could be used in billing customers. One of them read, "Neither of us can afford to let this account grow any older. Why not send a check today and get it off our minds?" The same is true for Christians. They should extend forgiveness toward a brother or sister or anyone that has hurt them in some way. In doing so, the account will be settled and freedom will be experienced once again in their spiritual lives.
Dearly beloved, as Christ forgave us, so we can forgive others, and one day we will all rejoice together at Jesus’ feet in Heaven. What a glorious destiny and future we will have sitting at Jesus’ feet and worshipping Him throughout the ages of time.
“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Christ said that today He is “set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev. 3:21). Thus, whenever Heaven worships the Father (Rev. 4:10-11) it also worships Jesus Christ who is also in the vicinity of the throne (Rev. 5:6; Heb. 1:3). Someday we will fall before the nail-pierced feet of Jesus Christ and worship Him. Together we will meet before God’s glorious throne and worship at the feet of Jesus who sits upon the throne. What a thrilling destiny we have as God’s children. The best is yet to come!
“Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.”