I only began to follow Christ in my 20’s. Up until then, I’d lived a life that was very far from the Lord and I’d done things I was not proud of, but after giving my life to Jesus everything changed for me. Perhaps that’s why I love the woman who poured out her jar of perfume on Christ’s feet in Luke 7. She reminds me, of me!
Jesus was eating at the home of Simon, a prominent Pharisee in Galilee. In those days, because people reclined at the table to eat, the first thing a thoughtful host did was order the lowest servant of the household to wash his guests’ feet. But no one had made the effort to do that for Jesus that day. He was still hot and dusty from the journey.
We know little about this nameless woman except that she had “lived a sinful life” in the town. People disapproved of her; but when she heard that Jesus was at the religious teacher’s house, she didn’t hesitate to come to the table with her alabaster jar of perfume. The fact that the fragrance was sealed in an alabaster jar tells us a lot about it. The perfume would have been pure nard, costing up to a year’s wages. The only way it could be accessed was by breaking the neck of the bottle; and once it was opened, the precious contents had to be quickly used up!
Luke 7:38 tells us that: “As she stood behind Jesus 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.”
That perfume was her most treasured possession and I can imagine that it might have been part of her hope chest – one of the items she had been saving for the day of her marriage. Perhaps the sinful life she’d lived made that dream of eventual marriage seem impossible; but as she gave up her most valued possession, she was holding nothing back. This small bottle represented all of her hopes and her dreams. All of her tomorrows. When she broke it she released all of her security for the future, lavishing it on this One who had shown her love and concern as no other!
Jesus’ self-righteous host couldn’t understand why He allowed her to touch His feet; for surely as a teacher of teachers, Jesus should have known what kind of woman she was – that she was steeped in sin! What Simon didn’t understand was that despite all of his own good works he needed the forgiveness that only Christ could give just as much as that desperate woman.
Simon had really done nothing for the Lord that evening; but she had served Christ out of gratitude and love, pouring out her very best on the One who was so soon to be poured out for her! She loved much because she had been forgiven much. And the beautiful thing is, Christ not only accepted her gift — He accepted her!
We aren’t told when or how she had heard Christ’s message of forgiveness for those who repent, but we know what she did that day proved what she had believed in her heart. He was her Savior, her Redeemer. He loved her like no other and was willing to forgive her past life.
He is willing to accept you too, just as you are right now. Confess your need for Him, turn away from your sin and He will forgive you. He will love you like no other and give you the true peace you are longing for.
Perhaps you’ve never thought that you could give something to God as this woman did. What do you give the ruler of the universe, the Creator and Sustainer of everything? What gift will you bring? The only gift He truly wants is your repentant heart!
© July 2019