Summary: Jesus taught a great lesson on love in this story of a woman’s fall, faith and forgiveness
Go In Peace
Today’s passage records the story of a woman. It is a beautiful story of love and forgiveness. It is a story of thankfulness, of faith and of hope. Do you take the time to remember what God through His Son has done for you? He loves you so much. He loved this woman so much. And her response to His love should touch the heart of each of us today.
As we consider the story today we will look at three things. We will look at her fall, her faith and her forgiveness.
In verse 37 the Bible tells us she was a sinner. This is repeated as the thoughts of Simon the Pharisee are given to us in verse 39. The contrast between verse 37 and verse 39 is the fact that Simon knows her to be a sinner, meaning she is a woman that has a reputation. Possibly a prostitute and at the least an adulteress. Jesus knew who she was and in His example to Simon compared her to the one who had the greatest debt. And then there was the ointment. The fact that it was carried in an alabaster box meant that it was very expensive and most likely was a tool of her former trade. It’s fragrance being used to lure men into her bed.
Now do not take this example that God has given us to mean that one person’s sin is greater than another’s. In God’s eye, sin is sin. Jesus died on the cross for all sin from the least to the greatest. I am not to compare my sin to your sin and you are not to compare yours to mine. Rather, measure your sin against the righteousness and the love of Christ and then you can put yourself in this woman’s shoes. She was indeed a fallen woman, as is the estate of all of mankind. We are people with much to be forgiven. We are a people that owes much by way of a sin debt. It’s unfortunate that so many churches have cheapened the price of sin. Some have altogether done away with what they call a bloody religion. But we need to realize the great price of our sin.
And now we come to faith. Did you ever wonder how this woman came to be in Simon’s house? I did. Can you imagine if I overheard one of you inviting someone over to your house for lunch and I just showed up? And what if my neighbors came along? And the rest of you, why don’t you come along as well? That would be quite strange wouldn’t it? But the Jews had a custom, if someone had invited a dignitary or other special guest who was of interest to the public, other dignitaries could invite themselves. But there was also a place for the beggars and those with special needs to come hoping to meet and present their request or get a hand-out from this special guest. This is how this woman came to be in Simon’s house. She came by faith, having heard of this Jesus and believing that He as the Son of God could forgive her sins. Without an invitation, without any greeting from Jesus or Simon she entered the house. She came with no concerns as to who would see her or what they would think of her and she began to worship Jesus, all by faith.
Jesus began to teach Simon a lesson about love, respect, faith and honor. As He speaks to Simon He is looking at this woman. He begins with the act of her washing His feet. It was a custom, particularly if the guest was one of honor for the host to have his servants wash his guest’s feet. Simon has not done this for Jesus but Jesus says that this woman had washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. By the way, this was not the kind of crying that you sort of fight back when you’re watch Old Yeller and they have to shoot him because he got sick. Verse 38 tells us she was weeping. That means she was sobbing. Think of a mother who stands by the casket of her little son or daughter, she weeps and sobs for her little child. This woman’s tears, her weeping was over years of regret. They were tears of pleading, in faith, to the one she knew could forgive her of those sins. They were tears of godly sorrow, of heartfelt and true repentance.
And then in faith, she kisses His feet. Not once, but He says continually since she got here. The Jews had three types of kisses. One was a kiss of greeting, as we would say hello and greet each other with a handshake. One was to say good-bye. But the third was reserved for a dignitary or someone of grandeur, a person of importance. From the moment this woman laid eyes on Jesus she never ceased to worship Him and she showed that love and adoration by kissing His feet.