36) Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37) And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38) and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and kissed his feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil, 39) Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself saying, “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.”
40) And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
41) “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42) And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave then both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
43) Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44) Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45) You gave Me no kiss, but his woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46) You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47) Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
48) The He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49) And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50) Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Mark 7:36-50 NKJV
Her name is never stated, her life never chronicled for all to study and contemplate. She
is simply known as the woman with the alabaster flask. Is she a heroine? No. Had she done great things in her life? Definitely not. So why did Jesus see fit to include her in the book of books? It wasn’t her person that was impressive. It wasn’t her social or financial status that earned her a spot on those precious pages of the new testament. It was instead her repentant heart. She didn’t simply ask Jesus to forgive her sins. She went far beyond the mediocre prayer of her day. Without uttering a word she humbled herself as far as any one person could. The tears she shed proved her sorrow for the sins she had committed. The expensive oil symbolized her willingness to give Jesus all of her no matter what the cost. In wiping his feet with her hair she showed him the depth of her devotion.
Surely those sitting around the table thought it strange. They knew all too well her sinner status. The open stares of contempt spoke that which their human tongues refrained from stating. This woman was a sinner pure and simple. How could this so-called prophet, the Son of God, touch such a contemptible creature?
Jesus went far beyond compassion. In loving her He gave her hope. In forgiving her He gave her a future. With four simple words he set her free. “Your sins are forgiven.” How her heart must have rejoiced to the point of bursting at those words lovingly spoken by the Son of God.
Though she is never again mentioned in scripture, one has to assume she was a changed woman. In her we see another shining example of how Jesus takes the smallest, the weakest, the most vile and broken in creation and uses them for the glory of the Father.