I have been reading over Luke 7:36-50 over the last few days. If you are not familiar with the story, this is the passage where Simon the Pharisee invites Jesus over to his house to eat with him. While Jesus is there, a woman came bringing an alabaster flask of fragrant oil. She began weeping and washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried His feet with her hair and anointed His feet with the oil.
In verse 44, Jesus says to Simon “Do you see this woman?” Verse 39 had already let us in on Simon’s thoughts of what he saw when he looked at her. “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
We have two people in this passage who are so very opposite:
- The woman who is labelled as a sinful woman. Different translations describe her as a woman who lived a sinful life, immoral, a notorious sinner, a social outcast.
- The religious man, Simon, who carries the label Pharisee, which meant he was part of a sect that studied the religious law and had strict observance to the law.
Jesus, however, saw past the labels of the two – religious man versus sinner. He instead saw right into their hearts and saw how their actions came from what was in their hearts.
The one who held the label of religious person invites Jesus to come hang out, have a meal with him, but seems to have an air of equality or perhaps superiority to Jesus. No affectionate greeting, no offering of even what was customary, providing water to wash feet.
On the other hand, the one who held the label of sinner, who was the outcast, sought Jesus out. She heard he was there and, even knowing she would be unwelcomed by the people there, she went anyway. She had no desire for recognition, she stood behind Him. She expressed sorrow, contrition, over her sins and served Him, washing His feet with her tears and drying His feet with her hair. She showed affection, worship, love by kissing His feet and anointing them with oil.
Let me ask you, who do you identify most with in this passage? When you look at what is in your heart and the actions that come from it…
Are you the religious person, holding the label of Christian, attending church, Bible studies, outwardly following the societal accepted rules of Christianity, but having no real relationship with Jesus, no fear and reverence for Him, no desire for His Word?
Or is your heart and life more reflected in that of the sinful woman who seeks out Jesus, putting aside what others may think of you to go and be near to Him, having and showing contrition over your sin, showing servanthood, worship, love, absolute adoration for Him, and giving sacrificially of yourself to Him?
If you are holding the label of Christian with no relationship, no fruit, I implore you to humble yourself and change today. Be like that of the sinful woman, having and showing sorrow over your sins, having a heart of servanthood for Jesus that serves out of praise and worship for who He is and what He has done for you, and having the sacrificial heart that denies yourself and gives to Him all you have.