He Who Is Forgiven Much, Loves Much

The verse in Luke 7:47 baffles me. There, Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

Does it mean that only those with many sins and have been forgiven are able to love God deeply? And those whose lives are not so messed up will not be able to express and experience that deep love for God? I don’t think that’s what Jesus meant. To me, this verse seems like an invitation to those who are hungry to search out the hidden and deeper truths of God.

It reminds me of the ‘Super Lemon’ sweet, which is very sour on the outside but sweet on the inside. To get to the sweet part, you’ve to endure the initial sourness in your mouth. Those unable to endure tend to spit it out after a while and miss the chance of enjoying its sweet inner core.

It’s like what Proverbs 27:7 says, ‘A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet.’ Sometimes, God hides ‘sweet things’ in bitter food to keep out those who aren’t hungry enough or are ‘full’ of themselves. How hungry are you for the things of God?

To unlock Luke 7:47, you need to understand the context of the story. Let’s draw some insights from it.

The story began in verse 36 where Jesus was invited to a meal at the house of a Pharisee named Simon. They were interrupted by a sinful woman who entered with a jar filled with expensive perfume and she knelt at the feet of Jesus in front of all the guests, weeping. She covered His feet with the tears that fell from her face and wiped His feet with her long hair. After that, she began kissing His feet and anointed them with the expensive perfume that would’ve cost her more than a year’s earnings.

This sinful woman probably heard about the miracle report that spread throughout all of Judea and the surrounding region – that Jesus had raised to life the dead son of a widow in the city of Nain, and how the people proclaimed, “A great prophet has risen up among us” and “God has visited His people” (Luke 7:16-17). That report gave her hope as she was probably a ‘walking dead’, having no hope, being ostracised by people, and trapped in her sinful and shameful past.

By faith, she went searching for Jesus and found Him in the house and expressed her gratitude to Him in advance with the beautiful act of worship, trusting that He too would ‘raise her from the dead’ and give her a new life to start afresh. 
When Simon saw her act and how Jesus didn’t chase her away, he thought to himself “if Jesus were truly a prophet, He’d not have allowed this sinful woman to come near Him.” Jesus knew what Simon was thinking and told him a parable about a moneylender who had two debtors, one of whom owed the moneylender a very large amount of money, and the other only a small amount.

When both debtors were unable to repay their debts, the moneylender wrote them off and forgave all that they owed. Jesus then asked Simon which of the two debtors would have greater love for the moneylender. Simon answered correctly that it was the one whom he forgave more.

I believe the two debtors in this parable were Simon and the sinful woman. Jesus highlighted that, when He entered Simon’s house, he had shown Him none of the customary courtesies extended to a guest such as providing water to wash the dirt off His feet, giving Him a kiss of greeting, or anointing His head with oil. The woman, on the other hand, did all that. 

Verse 47 reveals the condition of the heart – if you don’t see the need to be forgiven, you won’t be grateful for what the Lord has done for you. Even though the woman’s sins were many, her repentant, loving actions toward Jesus showed that she knew she needed forgiveness.

On the other hand, Simon (who may have viewed himself as more righteous than the woman) had not shown as much love to Jesus because he wasn’t aware that he himself had his own debt owed to God. 

Our posture should be like David’s in Ps 139:23-24: ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.’

One last note – our worthiness is not based on how much or little sins we’ve been forgiven. You shouldn’t feel less worthy before the Lord just because the sins forgiven were less severe than those who had messed up lives, and vice versa. Jesus paid the full price for each of us, regardless of the magnitude of our sins. He didn’t ‘die more’ for the greater sinner and less for the lesser sinner.

To love God more, we need a fresh revelation each day of Who He is and what Jesus has done for us on the Cross at every single moment of our lives henceforth.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

How much have you been forgiven?


Ps. Kevin Koh

The Gift of Tears

The Bible tells us God actually collects tears in a bottle. He knows what you’re going through and He cares about you so very much. He knows every thought and ache you have in your heart, and all your heart’s desires.

Psalm 56:8 says, “You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” This shows me that, not only does God capture every single tear you’ve cried, but He keeps track of what made you cry and what breaks your heart so that He can heal and comfort you.

Repeatedly in the Bible, figures of great strength and faith pour out their souls in tears and anguish. Two-thirds of the psalms are laments, complaints to God. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, wrote an entire Old Testament book entitled Lamentations. As did Isaiah and read more…

The Pool of Bethesda

Since the start of the year, we’ve seen a dramatic spike in the number of healings in Cornerstone, some of which are very notable. When a person scheduled for surgery gets it cancelled because the doctors cannot find what was wrong before, that’s a significant miracle. 

3rd or 4th stage cancers almost used to be a death sentence, but no longer. Faith is rising and people are starting to understand that nothing is impossible for God. There’s nothing that God cannot do. When we use words like ‘incurable’ today to describe diseases, we’re diminishing God’s power. We ought to banish that word in church. If you use the word ‘incurable’, you’ve just made the sickness greater than God – there’s no impossible situation that God cannot reverse.
 
A prophet wrote to me about a vision he saw: read more…

Hope in God

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is more than an event. This resurrection power that brought Jesus from death to life releases an amazing hope to transform lives, both now and in the future. This resurrection power is available to us and releases a hope to expect great things from God. It’s not only a desire for the good outcome; there’s a confident expectation it’ll happen because, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).

Hope can mean the difference between hanging on and giving up. It can mean keeping a positive mind when the physical evidence compels you to give up. It can involve an estimation of probabilities, not knowing what the odds are. It’s the voice in your head that says, “You can do this”. It’s this attitude of ignorance, coupled with defiance, but still choosing to ‘hope against hope’, beating the read more…

The Lord Speaks

I’d like to reiterate on this Resurrection Weekend that Jesus Christ is ALIVE! This is the greatest and best news ever to hit this planet and after 2,000 years, it continues to be most significant. It’s because He’s alive that salvation for mankind is possible. The Son of God came down on earth and paid the cost of sin, and did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. There’s no better nor greater news than this. Our eternity is changed because Jesus died for our sins.
 
One of the clearest personal evidence that Christ is alive is that He speaks to us – especially as followers of Christ. And when the Lord speaks and we hear what He’s saying, life is a lot easier to manage and go through. It’s also a lot more fun when read more…

In the Grip of Prayer

I had a very interesting conversation with my wife recently. I shared with her that I was experiencing this strange ‘hollow’ feeling inside of me – it’s like being in this big room all by myself. I don’t feel charged up like I used to after morning devotions. Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing in me to give to others although I’m listening to sermons and praying regularly.

I reflected on my daily routine and asked the Lord to search my heart for any ‘wicked ways’, but nothing significant showed up on my radar. Then my wife said, “Maybe God is changing your ‘spiritual container’ – He’s upgrading you to a bigger one!” Immediately, I had the impression of a 300ml water bottle being filled to the brim with water and the time taken was 5 seconds. I then used read more…

Wrestling with God

Lately, due to my knee injury, I was drawn to study a Bible character who had a limp, and a passage which I found deeply helpful (especially amidst a crisis). It comes from the famous, enigmatic extract in Genesis 32 where Jacob was on his way home to Canaan with his small tribe of wives and children after a 20-year sojourn.

We’re told that Jacob was “very afraid and distressed”, because his estranged brother, Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men (Gen 32:6). This is no welcome party – it’s an army! So, after splitting his household into two camps to try and avoid complete annihilation, the famous scene enacts itself: “Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day”  (Gen 32: 24). Jacob’s wrestling match has taught me a few lessons. 

read more…

How Much Truth Can We Bear?

Jesus was a master at losing people. If you recall, there was a time when the crowds that followed Him were huge. Many were there because they heard of the miracle of the multiplication of bread and fish so they flocked to Him in the tens of thousands.

Jesus, of course, had no intention of allowing anyone to follow Him just for the benefits they could get. So, He said the most provocative thing in Scripture – “Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no life in you.” No explanations were given. No apologies were made. For the majority of the crowd, that was just too much.
 
They came for the free bread and now ‘He’s asking us to be cannibals!?’ So, in just one sermon, He lost almost His entire congregation. As read more…

Radical Prayers of Faith

One of the ‘Uniquely Cornerstone’ core values is embedded in the understanding that the church is called to be God’s House of Prayer. For this very reason, we should pray. It’s therefore not a matter of if we should pray, but when we pray. The result of our prayers should reveal the Kingdom, the power and glory of God.

From Matthew chapters 5 to 7, after Jesus had finished speaking to the multitudes, the people were astonished at His teaching for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. And when Jesus taught them to pray, it was not some heartless command but a result of their witness of His relationship with God, His Father.

The effective, fervent and heartfelt prayer is quite the opposite of lethargic, repetitious, and superficial prayer. While we’re passionate, it’s not read more…

The Blessing of Things Going Wrong

You’ve made all your plans. Everything’s prepared. You double-checked and triple-checked. You committed it all to prayer. You’ve made every effort. Despite all the preparation, something goes wrong. The computer crashes and you lose all your data. Your guest speaker suddenly can’t come. The kids fall terribly ill. All of a sudden, your well-made plans are scuttled and you’re left wondering what on earth went wrong.
 
At this point, you can consider a couple of responses. God forbid but some blame their bad luck. The most natural response, in my opinion, is to point the finger squarely at someone else and, trust me, there’s always someone close enough to the matter to be blamed. Or, attribute the matter to spiritual warfare. The worst of all is to back away from ever attempting something quite as audacious.
read more…

When God Doesn’t Make Sense

February 2019 was an interesting month for me. I received not one – but two – watches. Instinctively, I began to seek its spiritual and prophetic significance as I believe the Lord is saying something to me through this. And so my mind began to run through all the ‘watch-related’ Scriptures for clues.

Is the Lord asking me to ‘watch and pray’ more (Matt 26:41)? Or am I to be ‘His watchman on the wall’ (Isa 62:6)? Maybe it’s about learning to ‘number my days’ (Ps 90:12) or to learn more about moving in ‘times and seasons’ (1 Chron 12:32) like the sons of Issachar, since one was a classic retro-looking watch and the other a modern high-tech watch. Or perhaps the Lord is bringing me into a ‘time of refreshing’ (Acts 3:19)? Or the new watches replacing the old read more…

Strengthen the Weak

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” 
Heb 12:11-12

Over the last few weeks, I’ve learnt a painful but valuable lesson, one which could permanently affect the way I live, how I move, and what I’m able to accomplish with my family. On a family trip to Mt. Kinabalu, I suffered a painful injury to my knee while carrying my youngest daughter on an uphill forest trail. I believe God is teaching me a spiritual lesson and reminding me to strengthen my aging body.

As God’s children, may we continue to allow Him to discipline us and follow His instructions, training, and correction to strengthen the body read more…

Book your tickets