Luke 7:36-50 (ESV)
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”
41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “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. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
I love this story! I love it for a lot of reasons. For one thing I love it because I just love Jesus so much! I also love it because I really identify with this woman. Sometimes people wonder how, despite suffering and hardship, I am still passionate about Jesus or how I can still have joy or remain thankful.
Those who know me at all know that so often my heart has been broken. The oppression becomes depression at times and it is intense. My heart becomes heavy not just for myself but for those I know who are hurting or in bondage and often I feel anguish for the way Jesus is misunderstood even by His own. So how, in a world filled with pain, do we get from there to joy?
The secret is in this story. Jesus went to have dinner with false religious leaders, showing once again that He will give anyone a chance. They, of course, did not see it that way. The Pharisees were so prideful and blind that they thought they were doing Jesus a favor by inviting him to dinner. Then she showed up, uninvited and most certainly unwelcome. She didn’t fit in. She was known to be a sinner, probably a prostitute. I’m sure she wasn’t exactly well put together or fashionable. She showed absolutely no decorum whatsoever by sobbing at a dinner party and falling at the feet of one of the guests.
On top of that, her act of devotion in pouring out an expensive bottle of oil was certainly unusual and totally lost on those present. But it wasn’t lost on Jesus. He knew that she “got it” and they didn’t.
When we get it, we do the same thing. When we finally begin to understand what it is we’ve been saved from, we easily spend time weeping at His feet. When we start to grasp the impossible chasm between our sinful selves and His holiness, we can’t stop the flood of thanksgiving. When we truly have our eyes opened to the absolute fact that we were slaves of the most heinous, abusive leader of the most despicable kingdom imaginable and that because of our sin and unholiness that is all we could ever deserve or hope for outside of the loving sacrifice and forgiveness of Jesus, then we start to get it. And when we begin to grasp that, all we want to do is give Him whatever we have down to our last drop of blood, our last tear and our very last breath.
He is so worthy! The fact that He has rescued me is enough but He doesn’t stop there! He doesn’t just rescue us and go on. He really loves us. He calls us friend. He makes us children of God! His kindness is almost too much to take in. But try. Meditate on that and the worship will burst forth,the tears will flow and the joy will come.