“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
It was a room filled with religious leaders, churchgoers, and enough self-righteousness to sink ten battleships…yet she dared to enter. She was a woman whose presence, I am quite certain, halted the after-dinner conversation and had those present picking their jaws up off of the floor. The Scripture tells us she, “lived a sinful life.” To put it more clearly, she was a streetwalker…a prostitute. In every way imaginable she came from the “wrong side of the tracks.” She was in the lowest social and moral category of the culture of her day. She knew what she was…and yet she entered.
She may have been corrupt and carnal, but she wasn’t a coward. She was fully aware that she was walking into a lion’s den of people who were ready to eat her alive; but nothing or no one was going to keep her from Jesus. There is an obvious assumption that she had seen Jesus before this night. Why else would she have risked so much to worship Him? She had listened to His words, and what He said had radically changed her life. Though He never used the word, she heard it clearly – grace.
Jesus didn’t look at her with lust, but with love. What was on His mind was not her guilt, but her worth. What happens next was unheard of in those days. She began to weep uncontrollably and a river of her tears washes over the holy feet of Christ. She untied her hair and began to dry the tears from His feet. Bowing in front of her Savior, she is completely overcome, so she opens a jar of perfume and pours it out onto Jesus’ feet as she kisses them in humble adoration. Throwing all caution to the wind, she worships wholeheartedly at the feet of her Lord.
The cultural standards of the day would have expected Jesus to be embarrassed…to recoil and rebuke her for even daring to touch Him. But her act of love is met with His act of grace. Jesus knew everything about this woman. He knew who she was, where she was from, and all that she had done wrong. Yet, He received her in her sin.
So often, we think that sin disqualifies us from the grace of God. The truth is, sin is the only thing that qualifies us for the grace of God. We don’t give up our sin and then receive God’s grace. We receive God’s grace and then have the power - through His Spirit - to give up our sin. Grace always receives us in our sin.
God, thank You for receiving me in my sin. I pray that You would create in me a heart of gratitude and worship, just like the woman in this passage, so that I, too, may always worship You with all of my heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.