UNSUNG HEROES

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  Woman Who Anointed Jesus  
 
 

Luke 7:36-50
36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table.
37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,
38 and 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.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is--that she is a sinner."
40 Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Tell me, teacher," he said.
41 "Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"
43 Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled." "You have judged correctly," Jesus said.
44 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.
45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.
47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
48 Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
50 Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."


Jesus always found people's homes as a place of conversion. Homes are a great place to convert households. Hospitality during Jesus days was awesome and yet it was mostly among the equals. But Jesus did not discriminate between rich and the poor, sinful and the religious.

The Pharisee mentioned in the passage was religious and probably a leader in the synagogue. The woman had obviously lived a sinful life. The Pharisee held on to his good standing. The woman was a broken vessel. Both approached Jesus differently. How do we approach Jesus? If we think it is like the Pharisee we have hope that we recognise our stand. Yet when we say we are like the woman we need to re-evaluate ourselves again to see whether it is true. Why? The Pharisee never thought he will be not accepted by God but the woman never thought that she will be accepted by God.

The woman felt the need to serve Jesus - just serve Him without expecting anything from Him. She uses her tears and hair to wipe His feet. (Imagine Jesus's feet being dirty after a full day of walking and Simon had not given any water to wash.) She went the extra mile to kiss and pour perfume on the feet. When was the time that you have done something special for Jesus just to show Him your love and be grateful to Him?

The Pharisee did what he did the best. Judged! As a leader or even as a disciple we end up judging. So what is wrong? We fail to judge ourselves. And that is what happened to Simon the Pharisee. He forgot to give water and kiss Jesus. Simon not only looked down upon the woman but questioned and doubted Jesus' ability to assess the woman.

Why did Jesus tell Simon a story? Why did Nathan tell David a story? Simon and David were good at judging. But they were not able to judge themselves. Yet their judgment about others was used to convict them. What story will Jesus tell to convict us?

What was the story? Who will love more, the one whose debts are bigger or one whose debts are lesser? How much of our sins are forgiven? Are we behaving like our forgiven sins are really great? Or are we quick to judge others?

The woman could have judged the Pharisee and questioned his lack of hospitality towards Jesus. But she focused on herself and her love for Jesus. The result: Jesus forgave her sins. Until we forgive we are prisoners and only Jesus can set us free.

Faith is the foundation of our security in Jesus. The woman had her faith and therefore her security in Jesus but the Pharisee had his faith in his position and therefore his security came also from his position.

Finally the woman's faith saved her. She has taught us how to ask for forgiveness with great humility. Jesus gave her His peace. Jesus never had conditions to forgive the woman. She came with confusion and she left in peace.

The woman's story has found its way in the Gospel. Truly she is an UNSUNG HERO.

Application:

Let us examine ourselves by writing out our sin list before we were baptised and after we are baptised. This will be a test whether we are the un-forgiven Pharisee or the forgiven woman.