A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. (Luke 7:37-38 NIV)
The passion in this moment is breathtaking. I can see this woman, wrecked with desperation, discovering that Jesus is nearby. I can imagine her eyes lighting up with hope as she runs and grabs the only thing of value she owns – an alabaster jar of perfume.
I can picture her running to the home of Simon the Pharisee, filled with a mixture of fear and expectancy. Expectant that Jesus will receive her, but fear that she won’t make it to Him. Fear of judgment and condemnation, fear of rejection, fear of shame, fear of being told she had no right to be in the presence of someone as holy as Jesus.
I can almost feel her heart pounding as her bare feet pass over the dirt road. As she breaks through her fear, running breathlessly into Simon’s home, her eyes darting back and forth from one person to another – and landing on the One she came to see – her Jesus.
What an intense moment this had to have been! A well-known sinful woman, probably breathless, sweaty, and dirty – bursting into a Pharisee’s home uninvited – and going directly to the feet of Jesus.
Her emotion as she pours out her heart through her tears is intense. The fragrant aroma rises as the jar is broken and poured out, just like her heart.
I can imagine the fear gripping her within as she hears herself being called out by the Pharisee. She has been discovered, she has been seen for what she knows she really is – a sinner.
I can almost feel the tension growing within her as she awaits the response of Jesus, wondering, “Will He condemn me? Will He judge me? Will He cast me out? Or will He receive me?”
I imagine seconds felt like an eternity in that moment. Oh, the wait would be so worth it. Just to hear the sweet words of the Savior as He came to her defense!
Jesus! Our Savior, Defender, Deliverer, Forgiver! Jesus!
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:44-47 NIV)
I have thought about this woman many times since I started my walk with Christ. And I relate.
I, too, have a desperate longing to be with my Lord, and have done nothing to warrant being in His presence. Like this woman, I am aware of my sinful nature, and of His Awesomeness!
I have had to break through walls of fear, people-pleasing, judgment, condemnation, shame, guilt, and more – just to get to His feet. Many times, the “Pharisee” in my story is in my own head – telling me I’ll never be good enough, pure enough, right enough, holy enough, to be in the presence of God.
But like this woman, I refuse to let that voice stop me. I refuse to let fear of what people think of me, or even of what I think of myself, come in the way of my surrender to Jesus – at His feet is where I belong.
I deeply connect to the emotional response this courageous woman had as she fell at the feet of our Lord. A response that says, “I don’t deserve the amazing things you have done for me! I don’t deserve your love and your grace! I know who I am, and I am unclean! But, still, you love me! Your mercy undoes me! I have nothing to offer you but my very life – and it is yours. Everything I am, everything I have, Jesus – I am yours!”
Sisters, may this be the response of our own hearts each and every time we come into the presence of the Father. May we see ourselves and our relationship with Jesus through the lens of His magnificent grace!
May we always remember that we have done nothing to earn His love and forgiveness and may we passionately thank Him for it daily. Remember: she who knows she has been forgiven much, LOVES much.
Even in the midst of difficult circumstances, even as we come aware to our own sinful hearts, even as we recognize the incredible GREATNESS of our Father, there is always a place we can safely fall, knowing our Defense will come – at the beautiful feet of our Savior and King, Jesus.