She wasn't a very nice lady. She had a poor reputation and was called a woman of the town, a prostitute. Luke is telling us her story in his account of the gospel, and simply calls her an especially wicked woman.
It was no accident that she met Jesus that day, nor was it fate that brought them together at the home of a Pharisee. Jesus had been invited there to eat a meal, and this woman showed up uninvited. She brought with her an alabaster container of perfumed lotion or ointment.
She was standing behind Jesus, crying, and her tears began to drip on his feet. The Bible says she wiped them dry with her hair, kissed his feet, and anointed them with the perfume.
We can understand how this might have made the Pharisee homeowner feel. He was embarrassed at the thought of a prostitute coming into his home and apparently he thought Jesus didn't know what kind of woman she was.
It seemed strange, but Jesus began telling a story to the Pharisee about a lender and a couple of debtors. One owed the lender a large sum and the other owed a small sum, and neither could repay their loans. The lender forgave both debts. Jesus then asked the Pharisee which of the two loved that man the most? The Pharisee told him it must be the one with the greater debt forgiven.
Jesus said, "you have decided correctly." Then he continued telling his host to look at the woman, and reminded him that when Jesus had entered his home, there was no water offered to soothe and clean his feet, yet the woman had cried tears to wet his feet and wiped them wither her hair. Jesus continued talking to the Pharisee host, "You did not greet me with a kiss, yet she continues to kiss my feet. You offered no oil for my head, but she anointed my feet with this costly perfume."
Here is the lesson for the Pharisee, and for us. Jesus said, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven because she has loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little."
Here was a man who was quick to point out how evil this woman was, much in the same way we make sure everyone knows about the sins of people we see every day. Perhaps the Pharisee wondered where the woman got this expensive perfume. Did she buy it herself with money she received from her wicked occupation? Maybe it was a gift from one of her lovers. None of this concerned Jesus. She was a woman who showed honest love toward the One who loved everyone enough to die for them.
You can read the whole story in Luke 7:36-50. I hope we can all benefit from the lesson for the Pharisee. This woman had a past, and we have a past. Jesus died for her sins and ours. On that day, Jesus looked at this woman and saw love. Do you get this picture? The eyes of love, seeing a sinner who loves him in return. When we recognize our hopelessness without Christ, we will long for those loving eyes to see in us, a sinner loving him for who he is, for what he has done, and for who we can become because he loves us.
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