She had long, brunette, tangled and tatty hair with bags under her brown battered eyes; her clothing was nothing but a dirty old bed sheet, just like her sin. Yet she was on her knees in front of the spotless, perfect saviour of the world. Remind you of yourself sometimes?
She was counted in the small population of people that had the privilege of being in the same room as this man, never mind having her dry bare feet touching the dirt that surrounded him. Here she was, at her worst – at her peak performance as a sinner – and this was emphasised by the Pharisee’s thoughts (Luke 7:39).
It says in Luke 7:38 that she was stood behind him. Ever noticed that? Why do you think she was behind him? Was it because she didn’t have her favourite earrings in? Or she hadn’t straightened her hair? No, she was a shameful, guilty sinner, and she knew it! She knew how unworthy she was to be near this man, because she knew who he was.
But what this woman did was something so special that it made Jesus release a pleased smile.
‘She began to wash his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed his feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil’. (Luke 7:38)
Her salty sweat-like tears, tatty, tangled hair and rough, chapped lips offered Jesus cleansing, affection and love; and the fragrant oil, (which was said to be worth a year’s wages for that woman!) was something that she sacrificed to bring a satisfying, beautiful smell to Jesus. He felt so much compassion and unworthiness radiating from this woman that he forgave her; he put her sinful past behind her and renewed her.
Let me ask you this: you’re in heaven, walking up the steep steps leading to the judgement seat where Christ sits on the right hand and you’re meeting him for the first time. What can you bring to him that will cause his smile to glow?
Read about the woman’s encounter with Jesus yourself in Luke 4:36–50.
Luke Flavin, The Church of God in Nottingham