The story of David and Bathsheba is one of those stories that holds a mirror up to all human foibles, our attempts to justify our own bad behaviour. It should remind us of ourselves and yet doesn’t because just like David we are adept at lying to ourselves.
Our sense of self, self preservation, self interest, self obsession, self image stops us from admitting the truth about ourselves and blinds us to truth of what we have done.
We are equally adept at justifying ourselves and our behaviour with ludicrous excuses which after a while we convince ourselves are the actual truth.
As human beings we’ve all done it at some time.
In our story we heard today God used Nathan the prophet to see deeply into David’s heart and to connect with him, and Nathan used a clever parable as a device to get Solomon to convict himself. All the excuses that Solomon doubtless used to justify himself in his own eyes were stripped away and exposed as the tissue of lies they were, and David came face to face with himself and his own sin. He came face to face with his own true reflection.
One day that will be us – our souls will be bared and exposed to the searing white light of God’s gaze. There will be no-where to hide, no refuge except one, faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Or would you prefer to push Jesus to one side and fight your own corner perhaps and try and self justify just as most of us do in life?
God knows all and sees all and can see straight into your heart so there can be no pulling the wool over his eyes. You’ll be on your own, defending the indefensible with someone who already knows the full truth about you.
In the gospel reading that same perception, the same wisdom that can see through outside appearances and reputations and see straight into the heart of things is also a property of Jesus Christ of course and using a similar device as Nathan, a parable, he attempts to show Simon the Pharisee that despite his outward appearance as an upstanding man he too is a sinner, or as Jesus says in the parable, a debtor.
Perhaps not as great a debtor as this woman, but it is she who is right with God because she knows she is a sinner and was undeserving of any forgiveness. She recognises her need, is sorry for her sins and comes to Jesus in a spirit of repentance and Jesus freely forgives her.
But Simon doesn’t know his need, he deludes himself, lies to himself, and he is convinced by those lies even though he truly strives to keep the law. He never fully did keep the law of course but he cannot admit that to himself, let alone Jesus.
Those are the two pathways that are open to all of us. That is the choice we all have to make – whether to admit our own need of forgiveness and put our faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus or to try and justify ourselves.
And this in a nutshell is what Paul is talking about in our reading from Galatians. No-one could fully keep the law but just as that woman experienced in that parable in Luke, through genuine repentance and faith in Christ, forgiveness is freely given.
I believe that it is pertinent that she is unnamed. She represents all of us.