Mary had heard about Jesus, He was the talk of town. She too was the talk of town , her reputation was out there, everyone knew that she was the sinful woman of the town. She was rejected and sidelined but still, she longed to meet Jesus. When she heard that He was eating at a Pharisee’s house, she knew this was her only chance….
Luke 7: 37-45 (NIV)
37 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. 38 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 people 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 forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“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.
She was the sinful woman in town. Everyone knew what she had or hadn’t done…this affected how they treated her. Notice how the Pharisee thought to himself that she didn’t deserve to touch the prophet?
There are some interesting things to note about her interactions with Christ. A revelation that has changed my life.
1) His Feet
In those days, they didn’t have cars or public road transport, so you can only imagine how dusty Jesus’ feet were from all the walking that He did. This did not deter Mary from washing His feet. She knew that she was not worthy, she was the sinner of town but somehow He would still accept her.
Mary’s actions remind me of a song that we used to sing in the Youth Service called ‘No Higher Calling’
The first line of the song is ‘Down At Your Feet Oh Lord is the most high place.’
Mary understood that at the Lord’s feet was where she was the highest. This was the closest that she had ever been to Him.
2) Her Tears
She let herself be broken before the Lord. She did not need to speak or justify her sin. Her liquid prayers would communicate what was in her heart. Each tear was recorded in Christ’s book, none of them passed him by.
Psalm 56:8 (New Living Translation)
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
3) Her Hair
It is common to hear that a woman’s hair is her crown. Her crowning glory (Proverbs 16:31). For Mary she didn’t care that Jesus’ feet were dusty, that her crowning glory would become dirty. Her image was already tainted by the deeds that she had committed. Regardless of what she had done, she earnestly desired for the Lord’s glory. It was a turning point for her. From then on her life would revolve around bringing glory to the Lord.
3) Her Alabaster box
She didn’t have much but the Lord was worth her all. She didn’t have to work for years to be worthy of being in the Lord’s presence. She perfumed His feet. I don’t know about you, but even after a pedicure I do not perfume my feet. She poured very expensive perfume on His feet. To others it may have seemed like it was a waste of perfume, but to the King it was a sweet smelling sacrifice.
Mark 8:36 (NIV)
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
She understood that He was worth her all.
The Matthew account says that she did a beautiful thing for the Lord.
Matthew 6:10 (NIV)
Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”
To Jesus, brokenness is beautiful. It is of much more value than coming with your act figured out, He wants to relate with you just as you are. He understands the language of tears.
That we may do a beautiful thing for our King.