Luke 7:36-50 (HCSB)
Then one of the Pharisees invited Him to eat with him. He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of fragrant oil and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with her tears. She wiped His feet with the hair of her head, kissing them and anointing them with the fragrant oil.
When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching Him – she’s a sinner!”
Jesus replied to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
“Teacher,” he said, “say it.”
“A creditor had two debtors. One owed 500 denarii, and the other 50. Since they could not pay it back, he graciously forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more?”
Simon answered, “I suppose the one he forgave more.”
“You have judged correctly,” He told him.
Turning to 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, with her tears, has washed My feet and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing My feet since I came in. You didn’t anoint My head with olive oil, but she has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Those who were at thet able with Him began to say among themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?”
And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Feet dirty from long days of walking, with all manner of dust and dung, caked on almost like a protective covering as he had walked and walked.
She hears that He is nearby and she remembers the forgiveness poured out onto her by this One. She has not forgotten the depth of the pit that she had lived in and how He has rescued her.
So she gathers her alabaster box filled with expensive oil and runs to the Pharisee’s house.
As she falls on her knees and begins to loosen the sandals from Jesus feet she is already beginning to weep out of love for her Savior. She lets the tears flow freely. Her weeping is so great that she is able to wash the muck of earth off of His feet with her tears and hair. She loves him so very much.
She opens the alabaster jar that she brought with her and she begins to pour out the expensive, fragrant oil on the clean feet of Jesus.
Silently, Jesus takes notice of everything. He does not interrupt her as she performs this act of love toward Him. Perhaps He even thinks of how He will eventually take the servant’s position before His disciples and will wash their feet with the same love and devotion as this woman does now.
Despite His host’s objections, Jesus makes it clear that this woman has been forgiven of much and that,because of that very thing, she loves much.
What does knowing that I have been forgiven lead me to do, out of love, for Jesus and others?
I don’t need to know the sins of the woman in the picture. It is enough to know of my own, the depth of my own pit, and how often I return if only to stare down into its depths again – tempted to crawl back into it.
Knowing that He loves me in spite of what I’ve said, thought, and done is overwhelming. I love Him
because He loved me first – loved me enough to die for the debt of sin that I would never be able to repay on my own. This should lead to acts of love and service. Just as the woman showed her love and gratefulness by washing Jesus’ feet, I am called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the widow and orphan, and visit the imprisoned – because that is where Jesus can be found and served.
And that’s just a start.
Jesus, may I be like this woman. May the knowledge of Your forgiveness and Your all-consuming love lead me to acts of love and service for all you have done for me. And may these things point to you and bring You glory. In Your name I ask this…
(Painting by Jean-Francois de Troy, Christ in the House of Simon, 1743. Chrysler Museum of Art,
Becky Roode is holding on tightly to God as He takes her on the adventure of her life. She has a Master of Arts degree in Theological Studies from Liberty University and is currently a candidate for a Master of Divinity degree. She loves God and His Word and sharing the experience of Bible study with other believers, especially women. In her spare time, you can find her curled up with a book, laughing out loud, or daydreaming about traveling the world. Becky writes at Candor of My Heart.