For she loved much - Or, Therefore she loved much. It appears to have been a consciousness of God's forgiving love that brought her at this time to the Pharisee's house. In the common translation her forgiveness is represented to be the consequence of her loving much, which is causing the tree to produce the root, and not the root the tree. I have considered ὁτι here as having the sense of διοτι, therefore; because, to make this sentence suit with the foregoing parable, Luke 7:42, Luke 7:43, and with what immediately follows here, but he to whom little is forgiven loveth little, we must suppose her love was the effect of her being pardoned, not the cause of it. Ὁτι seems to have the sense of therefore in Matthew 13:13; John 8:44; 1 Corinthians 10:17; and in the Septuagint, in Deuteronomy 33:52; Isaiah 49:19; Hosea 9:15; and Ecclesiastes 5:6. Both these particles are often interchanged in the New Testament.
Loved much - loveth little - That is, A man's love to God will be in proportion to the obligations he feels himself under to the bounty of his Maker.
Wherefore I say unto thee - As the result of this, or because she has done this; meaning by this that she had given “evidence” that her sins had been forgiven. The inquiry with Simon was whether it was proper for Jesus to “touch her” or to allow her to touch him, because she was such a sinner, Luke 7:39. Jesus said, in substance, to Simon, “Grant that she has been as great a sinner as you affirm, and even grant that if she had “continued so” it might be improper to suffer her to touch me, yet “her conduct” shows that her sins have been forgiven. She has evinced so much love for me as to show that she is no longer “such a sinner” as you suppose, and it is not, therefore, “improper” that she should be suffered to come near me.”
For she loved much - In our translation this would seem to be given as a reason why her sins had been forgiven - that she had loved much “before” they were pardoned; but this is clearly not the meaning. This would be contrary to the whole New Testament, which supposes that love “succeeds,” not “precedes” forgiveness; and which nowhere supposes that sins are forgiven “because” we love God. It would be also contrary to the design of the Saviour here. It was not to show “why” her sins had been forgiven, but to show that she had given evidence that they actually “had” been, and that it was proper, therefore, that she should come near to him and manifest this love. The meaning may be thus expressed: “That her sins, so many and aggravated, have been forgiven - that she is no longer such a sinner as you suppose, is manifest from her conduct. She shows deep gratitude, penitence, love. Her conduct is the “proper expression” of that love. While you have shown comparatively little evidence that you felt that “your sins” were great, and comparatively little love at their being forgiven, “she” has shown that she “felt” hers to be great, and has loved much.”
To whom little is forgiven - He who feels that little has been forgiven - that his sins were not as great as those of others. A man‘s love to God will be in proportion to the obligation he “feels” to him for forgiveness. God is to be “loved” for his perfections, apart from what he has “done” for us. But still it is proper that our love should be increased by a consideration of his goodness; and they who feel - as Christians do - that they are the “chief of sinners,” will feel under infinite obligation to love God and their Redeemer, and that no “expression” of attachment to him can be “beyond” what is due.
Bear in mind, every teacher who takes the responsibility of dealing with human minds, that every soul who is inclined to err and is easily tempted, is the special object for whom Christ is solicitor. They that are whole need not a physician, but those that are sick. The compassionate Intercessor is pleading, and will sinful, finite men and women repulse a single soul? FE 275.1
Shall any man or woman be indifferent to the very souls for whom Christ is pleading in the courts of heaven? Shall you in your course of action, imitate the Pharisees, who would be merciless, and Satan, who would accuse and destroy? O will you individually humble your own souls before God, and let that stern nerve and iron will be subdued and broken? FE 275.2
Step away from Satan's voice and from acting his will, and stand by the side of Jesus, possessing His attributes, the possessor of keen and tender sensibilities, who can make the cause of afflicted, suffering ones His own. The man who has had much forgiven will love much. Jesus is a compassionate intercessor, a merciful and faithful high priest. He, the Majesty of heaven—the King of glory—can look upon finite man, subject to the temptations of Satan, knowing that He has felt the power of Satan's wiles. “Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren [clothing His divinity with humanity], that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.” FE 275.3Read in context »
When Satan tells you that your sins are such that you need not expect any great victories in God, tell him the Bible teaches that those who love most are those who have been forgiven most. Do not try to lessen your guilt by excusing sin. You cannot come near to God by faith unless you realize your sinfulness. Then you can place yourselves right on the promises, and with unwavering faith can claim a share in the infinite sacrifice that has been made for the human race. Cling closely to Jesus, and His great heart of love will draw you unto Himself. LHU 333.2Read in context »
Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on the merits of the Saviour. By prayer, by the study of His word, by faith in His abiding presence, the weakest of human beings may live in contact with the living Christ, and He will hold them by a hand that will never let go. MH 182.1
These precious words every soul that abides in Christ may make his own. He may say: MH 182.2
“I will look unto the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation:
My God will hear me.
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy:
When I fall, I shall arise;
When I sit in darkness,
The Lord shall be a light unto me.” MH 182.3