"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I
will give you rest."
Then Jesus said to the woman, "Your sins are forgiven."
And Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you;
go in peace." Luke 7:50
These words were spoken to one of earth's most weary and
heavy-laden, a child of despair, who sought the presence and solace of the
Great Rest-Giver in the house of Simon of Galilee. The harsh, censorious,
unsympathetic guests at the Pharisee's table made no attempt at kindly
intervention. They would spurn her away unsuccoured, as if her touch were
defilement. They would leave her a battered flower, crushed and broken with
the pitiless rain and storm. Not only so; they were even tempted to
repudiate and reject the divine character of the new Teacher on account of
His apparent ignorance of her previous life--His apparent tolerance of
impurity. "If His were indeed the Omniscience claimed, He must have known
who it was that was now crouching abashed behind Him, and raining tears of
remorse on His feet." It has been surmised that the words of our leading
motto-verse and its invitation were uttered shortly before; that this
outcast had heard them; that on hearing them the first ray of hope was
kindled in her anguished soul. She followed the footsteps of the Redeemer.
His words, "Come unto Me," had rung in her ear ever since like a chime of
reposeful music; and she dared ask from Him--the gentle Dispenser of
Pardons--that "absolution" which a cruel world and a conventional code of
"With silent step
I enter, and along the lighted hall
Pass swiftly, until I reach Your place, and stand
Behind You weeping; soft Your shadow falls
And covers me from trouble and reproach,
That none may chide my tears or bid me go."
Yes, she was not mistaken. The Sun of Righteousness and
Mercy shone, and the flower lifted its drooping leaves. With sobbing heart
and speechless emotion, she came to the Mighty Burden-Bearer, as implied in
the original "kissing much His feet" and was hushed to rest in the peace of
a divine forgiveness. "Go in peace," or, as it is literally, "Go into
peace"--go enter within My Hospice.
There is a panacea in the words of our meditation for all
who in diverse ways have guilt on the conscience. Transgressions in the past
may be many and aggravated. Love and loyalty to God and truth and holiness
may have been sadly ebbing. "My iniquities have separated between me and my
God." In moments of faithlessness and despair, there may have been
temptation to rush to the dungeons of Doubting Castle, rather than to the
Gospel Hospice, and hear rung only the knell of extinguished hope. Blessed
be His name! there are accents of love and reconciliation heard, telling
that the separating gulf is bridged and the Hospice-gates flung wide open
"Far, far away, like bells at evening pealing,
The voice of Jesus sounds o'er land and sea,
And laden souls, by thousands meekly stealing,
Kind Savior, turn their weary steps to Thee."
I would make it my prayer--"Let me fall now into the hand
of the Lord, for His mercies are great; and let me not fall into the hand of
man!" O Christ, O Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, where
would I be but for You, with the plenitude of Your grace, the wealth of Your
forgiveness? There is no bound to Your ocean mercy. It laves and washes with
its ample tide the dreariest, rockiest shores of humanity. The Bible's great
refrain from first to last is– "He is able also to save unto the uttermost."
The uttermost! Who dare set limits to the uttermost a Savior-God can
do, the possibilities of His infinite love?
"Through life, through death, through sorrowing and
Christ shall suffice me as He has sufficed.
Christ is the end, for Christ was the beginning;
The beginning and the end of all is Christ."
"Come," He seems still to say--"come unto ME! Others may
reject the gracious offer. Others may be tempted to cower in terror over an
irreparable, irrevocable past, as if condemned to stand hopeless outside the
pale of mercy. O weary, restless soul, You are doubting My ability and
willingness to reach your case. Doubt it not."
"Go, in penitence bewailing,
Go, and now bemoan your guilt;
Trust the promise, never failing,
'I will save you if you wilt.'
"Hasten, every soul despairing,
At the cross of Jesus fall;
Though with legion sins repairing,
He will freely pardon all."
There was a beautiful Jewish legend, that for many
centuries after the rite was instituted, the red or scarlet thread bound
round the neck of the scape-goat turned white. It was the significant token
of forgiveness, the words of the great prophet, spoken on the threshold of
his prophecy, put in visible emblematic shape--"Come now, and let us reason
together, says the Lord--though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as
white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isa.
1:18). Other Hospices," the divine Pardoner seems to say, "may be closed,
but read the superscription over My Gospel Refuge and Stronghold. See the
blood sprinkled on its lintels and door-posts, which gives Me the
unchallenged prerogative to say– Neither do I condemn you--go, and sin no
"This is the resting place, let the weary rest. This is
the place of repose." Isaiah 28:12