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"Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7.47

We like to think that we live in less credulous circumstances than our more primitive ancestors - though many still do own a faith and superstition remains rife throughout society. In 1st century Palestine, during Jesus' earthly ministry, it was believed that suffering was caused by sinful behaviour and that, in turn, was the due to the malevolent influence of demons. So a healer worth their salt did not simply address the presenting illness but cast out the demon causing the problem in the first place. That is risky work, fraught with mysteries which are beyond comprehension by most of us.

For Jesus, the murky underworld of demonology and its influence on human health, was like an open book. He also understood that behind demonic activity, whatever that might be, lay a real force to be reckoned with, referred to in the New Testament as Ho Satan (The Tempter). Breaking the power of Satan released a sinner from being dominated by their sinfulness, whether that expressed itself in bad behaviour or in illness or both. Many who were healed by Jesus so appreciated the freedom, peace and health that surged into their lives that they were inspired to follow him, whatever the cost. Many of these were women.

Faith is motivated by love and love is a response to compassion. God so loved the world that he sent his only son... As the sinful woman who anointed Jesus teaches us, the degree to which we appreciate what is probably the most familiar verse in The Bible, John 3.16, determines the depth of our faith and the length we are prepared to go in its expression.



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