50 And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Mary was about to do the unthinkable. She was about to anoint Jesus feet in the middle of a group of men who would call her out and make her look foolish. They would disparage her and humiliate her. As she walked toward the house where Jesus was, why didn’t she stop and turn around. What kept her focused on the task she knew she needed to do? What made her want to thank Jesus for his forgiveness in her life?
She had not yet witnessed the one act that sealed her forgiveness. The act of Jesus death on the cross. She did not see him bowed in Gethsemane pleading with the Father to provide another way. As Jesus bowed there, crying out to God, truly not wanting to walk the path that was before him, pleading – please take this cup, this suffering that I am about to do, from me. Mary didn’t know that what caused Jesus to surrender was her. I imagine as he knelt there that he saw her face. He saw yours and mine. As he knelt there not wanting to walk the path before him, each and every one of us flashed before him.
Mary also didn’t know what he would go through on the cross. As he hung there and our sins were being piled onto him, she didn’t see or understand the pain. Not just physical pain, which he surely had, but the separation the sin caused between him and his Father. As Jesus hung there, each and every sin was laid on him. Every single sin each one of us and every single person in the world has ever committed. Jesus didn’t look up in the middle of all that and say “Wait, this one sin that Elaine committed, I can’t take that on. And look, that one sin from Peter, Mary or Sarah, no, I won’t die for those.” He died for it all. The big ones and the little ones. But, Mary didn’t know all that yet.
As the people started talking Jesus said “Do you see this woman?” He didn’t mean physically. He meant her heart. Do you see what she has embraced about me? And then he turned to her and said “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Friends, we are not saved because we do good things. We are not forgiven because we are sorry for the bad things we’ve done. We are forgiven only because of the utterly complete death on the cross. That’s it.
Like Mary, we must embrace that. We must have faith that Jesus’ death on the cross was enough. We must live like we believe that we are completely, 100% forgiven. If we believe that, we too can live our lives in peace. Let’s not let our past sins cause us to miss out on the life of forgiveness and joy God has for us. Let’s leave our mess at the cross knowing because of Jesus death, we are forever forgiven.