“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”
(Luke 7: 36-38 NIV)
This is a love story…a genuine and authentic love story… which actually occurred and was recorded in Scripture very long ago. A sinful woman coming into the house of a righteous Pharisee to be near Jesus…and wanting to do so much more….wanting desperately to express her love for Him with the deepest of intimacy… Many believe she was a prostitute, broken and torn, used and abused by the many townsmen…many of the men who visited her for her services were probably outstanding and reputable citizens of their town…as we still witness over and over again in today’s’ society…for nothing has really changed in the darkened hearts of a fallen humanity… self-confessed righteous men hiding in the darkness of their multitude of secrets… their sinful secrets…masking their fallen humanity with self-righteousness and pride…and judging others for what they themselves will do in secret…until the truth is finally revealed…and the truth is always revealed…
This sinful woman was greatly disliked by the people of the town…most avoided her company…whispered and sneered as she walked near…hated by the women and the wives of the many men who must have enjoyed her company and contributed to her infamous notoriety… voluntarily engaging in all the secret sinful pleasures of her well- known ungodly profession. And at this recorded moment in Scripture, we find her standing next to her Savior…standing in the house of a strict, self-righteous, and religious Jewish leader…and we find her there weeping…and sobbing uncontrollably…overwhelmed and overcome with unmanageable emotion…her heart breaking and sorrowful…sobbing enough to wet His feet with her painfully broken tears…. then… in an act of utmost intimacy of love and devotion in first century Jewish culture….and even breaking from traditional Jewish custom…she let down her locks….and she gently took the most glorious part of her body… and dried His feet with her hair….
How incredibly beautiful the display of love…
…Her inner fear must have been immeasurable…the uncontrollable trembling of her body…the furious and rapid beating of her terrorized heart… the awkwardness and repercussion of possible public scorn and wounded humiliation….the fear of rejection…the fear of shame…the fear of abandonment….and the fear of rebuke…
The righteous Pharisee who invited Jesus to dinner quickly became self-righteous, as he always does… with his thoughts…and his thoughts were filled with disgust and dismay as to how a woman with such an ungodly character….a well-known town prostitute… could possibly kiss the feet of this Rabbi…this Mighty One, but when Jesus looked at her… Jesus saw her heart….and lovingly turned to her without rebuke, rejection, or abandonment…and in Christs’ response… we see the difference between a self-righteous heart and a heart filled with overflowing love and thankfulness toward a personal Savior…
“…Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.”
“You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.”
“You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.” (Luke 7: 44-46 ESV)
In the self-righteous heart of the Pharisee… he would have never allowed this woman to touch him nor he touch her….this woman was a great sinner…unlike him…at least he thought….but he thought wrong… “I’m a (self) righteous Pharisee with little sin to forgive”…. she is one who is to be despised and rejected… one who is thought to be beyond the reach of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness….one to be shunned by God and by man…expect of course…. for all those partaking in and enjoying her services….
In the overflowing love and thankful heart of the sinful woman, we see a woman who risks public humiliation and scorn to worship and love her Savior…taking the lowly and unworthy position of kneeling at and kissing His feet….a crying and repentant heart full of sorrow and regret… a woman with a multitude of sins to forgive… yet seeking forgiveness from the only One who can forgive….and wanting only to express her love and devotion for Him in the most intimate way…while risking it all to do so….
…To This Savior who forgives, restores, and transforms…
…Which heart do you possess?
He who is forgiven much….loves much!
…But he who is forgiven little…loves little!
(Luke 7: 47 ESV)
“A cold self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to Hell than a prostitute.”
–C. S. Lewis