Luke 7:36-40, 44-50
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.” Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “Speak.” Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Food For Thought:
Jesus has broken almost every rule in the book when it comes to social decorum for his day. First, he is associating with a woman, which would have raised eyebrows in 1st century Israelite culture. Next, the author tells us that she is a sinner ― another “no-no” for a Jewish rabbi. Finally, it tells us that she let down her hair (this is something that women only did in the presence of their spouses), and then she proceeds to bathe his feet (a very intimate part of the body) with her hair. Jesus tells her that her faith has saved her. He doesn’t care. Jesus was willing to break all the social decorum of the day if he thought that someone could be transformed by a relationship with him. It is interesting to think about this passage in modern times. If Jesus was willing to associate with the outcasts of society, why are we so often fearful to reach out?
Holy God, you gather the whole universe into your radiant presence and continually reveal your Son as our Savior. Bring healing to all wounds, make whole all that is broken, speak truth to all illusion, and shed light in every darkness, that all creation will see your glory and know your Christ. Amen.