Summary: Jesus shows us clearly the result of forgiveness is love and worship. The woman who anointed Him anointed him with her future and her singleness. Ask yourself what is your fragrant oil.
Intro: If you remember from last week Jesus went to place He shouldn’t be to talk to a woman He shouldn’t talk to. He used that woman to teach us what true worship is. Here we go again! It seems like Jesus is completely happy to tear down our ideas and presumptions about who should and how we worship.
Here in the gospel of Luke Jesus is going to draw a very clear and stark contrast between the religious and those that truly worship.
You can find the anointing of Jesus in all four gospels. In Mark, Matthew and John it happens in Bethany before Jesus’ crucifixion. In Matthew and Mark the woman anoints Jesus’ head, in Luke and John the woman anoints Jesus feet.
Again the background of our story or scene is an everyday event. What is God trying to teach us with this? Worship is not an interruption of our regularly scheduled week. Bowing our life before Jesus happens in all everyday events. All everyday places.
The everyday experience is a meal. It is a meal in an unnamed Pharisees house. So how did this woman a sinner get access to this Pharisees house? In the first century middle east/oriental culture many houses had a square often open courtyard that was used for meals. Passersby and towns people would drop in if there were a special guest attending the meal. This is how the woman probably got access to Jesus.
I. She gave Jesus her attention
This woman who is a sinner. She was probably a worker of the red light district of Galilee.
There are equal arguments on either side that she is Mary Magdalene or Mary of Bethany. That is not the issue here. What is at issue is that she was known as a sinner!
When she enters it becomes obvious that she only has eyes for Jesus. With all the people and activity of the house her attention is fixed on Jesus. The writer of the Hebrews tells us something like this, Hebrews 12:2. She wasn’t there to hob knob or make friends. Verse 37 says she found out Jesus was at the dinner party. Her mission was to come and meet with Jesus. As gently as I can was your main focus and attention this morning to come and meet Jesus? Did you know he was here like the woman did? Is there something distracting you?
Worship doesn’t happen by accident. The woman purposefully sought out Jesus.
In contrast to that Jesus tells the Pharisee I came into your house and you paid no attention to me. You invited me to dinner and then ignored me. Are you more like the Pharisee this morning or more like the woman? She gave her undivided attention to Jesus. Loved ones, Immanuel ought to be a place where people can come and meet Jesus!
II. She gave Jesus her affection
The actions of this woman indicate a deep affection for Jesus. She weeps and washes Jesus feet with her tears. In this we see her willingness to show her sorrow over her sins and past actions and her deep affection for Jesus. After this she did the unthinkable she undid her hair. I know that sounds crazy to us. However a woman in that time only undid her hair for her husband. She undid her hair because no one came forward with a towel. She washed with her tears and dried with her hair. No one else in the house had been willing to serve Jesus in this way. This reveals here great humility and willingness to serve Jesus. She did it whether anyone else was willing to or not.