Monday, September 30, 2019

A Woman of the City, Who Was A Sinner…

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, 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. Luke 7:37-38
A pharisee by the name of Simon invited Jesus to his house for dinner one evening.  It was common at the time for people in the city to come and watch when prominent people ate together.  They would come in and line the walls and watch and listen to the more prominent people visit together.  On this particular night, a woman of the city – a sinner, came to Simon’s house because she had heard that Jesus would be there.  She came seeking the Messiah.  She came seeking transformation.  She came seeking forgiveness. She wanted out of her life of sin and into a life of forgiveness and freedom.  She came already grateful for what He would do for her because she was desperate, and she believed.  When she saw Him, she immediately began to weep at His feet because she knew that He was her Savior.  
Simon had not been a good host to Jesus.  He hadn’t offered Jesus the standard amenities that were normally extended to guests in a home at that time. It was customary for the host to offer water to wash the dust off their feet, give a kiss of greeting, and anoint the guests head with oil. Simon offered none of this to Jesus.  Simon was curious about Jesus but had no respect for Him. Then in comes this woman who was known for her sinful actions. Her reputation preceded her, yet she came anyway.  When she began weeping at Jesus’ feet, she noticed His feet that had not been washed and she began to clean His feet with her tears. Not having a towel, she let her hair down to dry them, which probably only made her lower in everyone’s eyes.  At that time, a woman’s hair was never let down except for their husbands. But she used her crowning glory to clean His feet. Then she went on to anoint His feet with expensive perfume, Alabaster, that she had brought.  It was the best thing she had, and she brought it as a gift for Him. She gave her best and poured herself out at Jesus’ feet. She was considered unrespectable, yet she gave Jesus the utmost respect when the respectable Pharisee gave Him nothing. 
Simon 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.  Jesus knew what Simon was thinking and responded with these words:    Simon, take a good look at this woman. I entered your house as an invited guest, yet you gave me no water for my feet. This grateful woman has washed my feet with tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave me no kiss of friendly greeting, but this woman, ever since she came in, has not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil you neglected to anoint, but she has anointed my feet with precious lotions.  Jesus knew all about this woman, and He knew about Simon too. He proceeded to use a short parable to show Simon his wrong thinking.  It was a parable about two people being in debt, one a large amount and one smaller. Both debts are forgiven so who is more grateful?  Simon answered correctly - the one who was forgiven the greater debt.  Simon had no grasp of the gratefulness of the woman who came seeking forgiveness for her debt of sin.  In Simon’s eyes, he had little or no sin, yet his treatment of Jesus showed the very evident sin of pride.  He had no clue about the grace and forgiveness of God.
Jesus showed extravagant grace to this woman who came seeking it and also to the Pharisee who wasn’t seeking it.  Jesus used this woman and her reputation to teach Simon a lesson.  If Jesus would have been concerned about his reputation like the Pharisees, then He would have never allowed this woman to touch Him. The fact that he not only allowed it but went on to defend her shows how much he truly cared about this woman. It was not enough to strictly obey the Old Testament Law, as the Pharisees believed. Jesus knew that He must love people. He showed true concern and love towards this woman.
Jesus had extravagant grace for this woman, whose sins were many.  She is looked down upon and considered unworthy by most.  She has nothing to offer except shame and sin.  Yet the Son of God Himself forgives her and restores her.  He does not condemn like the Pharisee. He makes her clean and new.  He has extravagant grace for you and me too.  He forgives and restores us when we come to His feet and pour ourselves out.  He is waiting for us to come in faith.   
And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.  Luke 7:50

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