This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. I know that should probably be something more impressive like parting of the red sea or even the Christmas story, which are both likable, but this story touches me.
The woman is nameless in the narrative, tho from the story we know everyone knew her name and couldn't believe she had the audacity to show up.
A Pharisee invited Jesus to have dinner with him, and Jesus went to his house and sat down to eat. In that town was a woman who lived a sinful life.
She was sinful, everyone knew that, too. Maybe she was the loose woman down the block or the town gossip or a spy for the Romans or just a mean nasty woman. Either way, she was out of place among the dinner guests, especially because she was the only one who was moved by grace.
She heard that Jesus was eating in the Pharisee's house, so she brought an alabaster jar full of perfume and stood behind Jesus, by his feet, crying and wetting his feet with her tears. Then she dried his feet with her hair, kissed them, and poured the perfume on them.
She couldn't bear to make eye contact with Him. She knew what she was. She knew everyone else knew as well. She gave all of her heart, mess that it was, to God's care. And He did care for her. With her heart free from its entanglement with sin, her gratitude created the desire to honor Him. Tho she still felt unworthy to be noticed, she crept in and bathed his feet with her tears. Tears of joy from forgiveness and sorrow for the transgressions against her Lord fell onto His feet, emptying her of her pride and cleansing her spirit. Then offering all her material wealth, she perfumed her feet.
Then the Pharisee saw this, he said to himself, "If this man really were a prophet, he would know who this woman is who is touching him; he would know what kind of sinful life she lives!"
Why do we ever think that God needs our help to sort this stuff out? Why do we ever think He doesn't know? And why do we think He shouldn't care for the lost, the missing, the broken? What chance do we have if He doesn't?
Jesus spoke up and said to him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Yes, Teacher," he said, "tell me." "There were two men who owed money to a moneylender," Jesus began. "One owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other owed him fifty. Neither of them could pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Which one, then, will love him more?" "I suppose," answered Simon, "that it would be the one who was forgiven more." "You are right," said Jesus.
Do you ever think the disciples went, "Uh-oh, he's gonna get it," when Jesus starts to tell someone a story? Who are you in this story-the Pharisee or the sinful woman? I think I can be both.
Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your home, and you gave me no water for my feet, but she has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You did not welcome me with a kiss, but she has not stopped kissing my feet since I came. You provided no olive oil for my head, but she has covered my feet with perfume. I tell you, then, the great love she has shown proves that her many sins have been forgiven. But whoever has been forgiven little shows only a little love."
When I am humble, I am the sinful woman. When I start thinking I have been around for a minute and forget that I am here ONLY by God's grace, in fact only breathing by God's grace, I easily become the Pharisee.I start thinking things like, God you can't possibly do anything with him! I am not going to even waste my time talking to him. Not that long ago, probably someone thought that about me. But LOVE is proof of forgiveness. Do I love enough?
But Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Faith saved her. She braved the crowd of judgemental hearts and placed her heart in the care of her Lord. In humility, she faced who she was and turned away from it at that dinner. In love, she honored Jesus. In faith, she walked away with peace.
Scripture quoted from Luke 7:36-50 from GNB