We all know how Jesus felt about the Pharisees. He was outspoken and seemed to enjoy frustrating them with questions they were afraid to answer. One day a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to dinner.
This ought to be interesting.
No sooner had Jesus sat down when in walks a woman carrying a beautiful alabaster jar. Suddenly, the room is silent as the stunned high and mighty religious leader’s mouths gapped open.
She ignored everyone but The One. Silently she knelt behind Jesus, washing his feet with her tears, using her hair to wash away the dirt, then she pour the perfume over his feet as she kissed his feet over and over.
This woman wasn’t just any woman, she is ‘that’ woman. We don’t know anything about her except she is identified as a ‘certain immoral woman’. The Greek word for immoral is Hamartolos which means devoted to sin, pre-eminently sinful, especially wicked, stained with certain definite vices or crimes and heathen.
She was bad to the bone.
She wasn’t just a prostitute. There was more. So much more. She had the audacity to walk into the home of a Pharisee. Gutsy.
When she heard Jesus was at Simon’s she didn’t hesitate, didn’t think, she just went knowing she had nothing to lose.
Simon, I’m sure was shocked as he watched her walk in his house. I imagine the men looking at her then back to Jesus to see how He would react. Though he didn’t say the words out loud, Jesus knew what they were all thinking. “Wow. People say Jesus is a prophet. If he is, he would know what kind of woman is sobbing all over his feet.”
Jesus chose to focus on his host.
“Simon, I have something to say to you.” Startled, Simon looks at Jesus and says, “Ok”.
“A man loaned money to two men. To one he loaned $5000 and the other $500. Times became difficult and neither could pay their debt so he kindly forgave the debt. Which of the two do you think loved him more?”
Simon answered, “I suppose the one who owed who owed him $5000.” “You are right,” Jesus said.
Then Jesus turned to the woman, looking at her and never taking his eyes off her as he spoke to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I came into your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash my feet, yet she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t even greet me with a kiss yet she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet. You even neglected the courtesy of oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.”
“I tell you, her sins―and they are many―have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who has been forgiven little shows only a little love.”
To the woman he says, “Your sins are forgiven, your faith has saved you; go in peace,” as the men grumbled amongst themselves questioning who Jesus thinks he is.
We have an advantage by knowing who Jesus is. Imagine with me how skeptical they were, just as we were at one time. We have all been the Pharisee, judgmental and looking down on ‘that’ woman.
What amazes me is how comfortable she was walking into the home of a Pharisee. And of course I wonder what she did that made her so bad. Even Jesus acknowledged her sins were many. I’ve read this story over many times, asking for insight and receiving none. God is not revealing the exact nature of her sins and really does it matter. We can all identify with her. Since we were all bad to the bone until Jesus looked at us and said, “Your sins are forgiven, go in peace.”
She risked it all, embarrassment, shame…stones to walk into the presence of God and discovered love and forgiveness. It’s the one thing the Pharisee’s were missing…love. Love was in their presence and they missed it.
She walked into the room bad to the bone and walked out whiter than snow. Isn’t that what we all want? You can have it. No matter where you are in your walk with God, come into His Presence…He’s been waiting for you.
Can you hear Him? “You are my beloved. Cherished and precious, the apple of my eye. You delight me and not only do I love you, I like you.”