by Charlotte Barton
Jesus had been asked to dine at Simon the Pharisee's house. So, here Jesus was eating and reclining at this person's house. Simon thought he had it all together spiritually. He seemed to be a very religious man. He knew the Word of God inside and out. But did he truly know the Son of God who was eating and reclining in his house? Did he truly want to embrace the presence of Jesus or merely entertain, go through the motions of showing interest, communicate with Jesus with words that were surface and without heartfelt meaning? Is there anyone in the House, in the presence of Jesus, who says, "I want to know Him more! I want to embrace the presence of Jesus and worship Him with heartfelt meaning! I will give up my pride and give a costly sacrifice to Him. I have got to get to Jesus and sit in His presence and just bless Him for Who He is!”
There was such a woman. This woman's story is revealed in Luke 7:36-50, known as the anointing sinner . A woman broken and hurting, bound with a life of sin, was walking on a path lined with many houses. She stopped in front of one particular house. This was a house that looked ordinary on the outside just like most other houses, much like our churches today, most look quite alike on the outside. But this particular house was different. She knew there was something special about this house. There was a presence drawing her from within this house. There was a presence in it that she knew she just had to get to. This house was honored to have the glorious presence of Jesus, the Son of God, in it.
Suddenly, the door of the house swung open and in walked this woman, uninvited as far as we can tell through the Scriptures. She was uninvited by Simon and the people in the house, but Jesus was drawing her to His presence. There is always an open-invitation into His presence that His Holy Spirit continually sends out to our spirit. She was evidently known by the community to be a "hopeless" sinner. The Bible calls her an "especially wicked sinner" (vs. 37) and "notorious sinner" (vs. 39). By the way Luke used the phrase "a sinner" and the Pharisee's disgust at the sight of her touching Jesus indicates she was a prostitute. She had lived a life of sin in the past and still was up until that present time. The Pharisee knew of her and her life style.
To the Pharisee's surprise, she had something of worth in her hand. She had something of good use in her possession. To some people it may not have been very costly, but to her and to Jesus it was precious, costly, and sacrificial. This sinner woman was holding an alabaster jar of ointment! "How dare this sinful woman," the Pharisee probably thought, "come into my house acting all holy, carrying that anointing oil! You are not holy enough to have something of that value in your possession."
As she came into the room, the woman found Jesus lying in a reclining position, stretched out at the table, up on one elbow. This was the custom of that time since the table was usually a cloth or mat placed on the floor. She did not let anyone or anything hinder or distract her from making her way to the feet of Jesus. Judgmental thoughts or accusations that were surrounding her fell to the floor because she kept her eyes on the One Who could set her free. Humbly standing behind Jesus at His feet, she wept uncontrollably.
It seems that her weeping involved several things. First, although it may not have been the main reason, she may have been heart-broken that the Pharisee and whoever else was in the room (but, not Jesus) could not see the pain and heartache she felt inside. They could not see her heart's desire for Jesus and for repentance. They could only see the outside and her past.
Secondly, she was weeping because of her deep, heart-felt repentance. She had much to be forgiven of.
Thirdly, she was probably to a point in her life that she had hit rock bottom and there was no way out of the deep pit on her own. Jesus was her only source of help and deliverance. She was crying out to the Savior and Deliverer.
Finally, she was to a point of desperation within her spirit in which she was determined to press in to Jesus' presence. She just HAD to get the feet of Jesus. Despite the fact that "her kind" was not welcome by some in the house, despite the fact that everyone knew her past, despite the fact that she did not look holy, she would not let anything keep her from getting into the presence of Jesus.
As her tears flowed from her eyes they fell upon the precious feet of Jesus. Her tears fell upon the feet that walked the dusty road where He met and healed the ten lepers. They were the feet that walked on the water. The feet that walked to Lazarus' tomb and said "Lazarus come forth! Loose and let him go!" Her heart felt tears fell upon the precious feet that walked up Calvary's hill to die on an old rugged cross for us. His feet were dirty with mud, dirt, and unwanted matter. Simon did not even have respect enough for Jesus to wash His feet when He came into the house. He would not let go of His pride. That in turn, caused Simon to not fully receive all that Jesus had to offer.
But this woman let down her beautiful hair, a woman's glory, as the Bible calls it. She began wiping Jesus' feet with her hair to dry her tears from His feet. She was letting down or releasing her outward glory and rubbing and mixing it and her heart-wrenched tears with the presence and the Glory of the Son of God. This woman was letting down, releasing her outward, fleshly glory, to embrace the majestic Glory of the King of Kings. She began kissing His feet to show her strong affection and devoted love for Him, worshiping and honoring Him with all her heart and through her actions.
Then, she proceeded to anoint Jesus' feet with anointing oil, a costly perfume. One definition of anoint is "to rub, to sprinkle, or to smear". I do not believe she just sprinkled the oil onto Jesus. I believe this sinner woman, determined to bless and minister to Jesus and receive His forgiveness, rubbed and smeared the precious perfumed oil onto His feet. Another definition of anoint is "to dedicate to the service of God". She was completely dedicating herself to the service of God, through ministering to His Son Jesus. This act of anointing was a culturally understood way of expressing devotion. She had come to a pivotal point in her life from devotion to a life of sin, to devotion to a life with Jesus.
Jesus, blessed and touched by her amazing determination, devotion, selfless love and affection, and repentant heart, said, "Your sins be forgiven". I believe the woman still would have blessed and honored Jesus in the same way even if He did not extend forgiveness to her. She knew He deserved all the praise, all the glory, and all the honor that could possibly be given, just because of Who He is. She truly loved Jesus with all her heart. Now the Pharisee served God, but did not truly love God. The woman knew she had a lot that Jesus forgave. Therefore, she had a lot of gratitude and thankfulness to Jesus, and had a greater love for Jesus.
What this woman was presently doing and what she presently became was more important than what she had done in the past or what she use to be. Our present is more important than our past or what we used to be. Yet often society, represented by the Pharisee, tends to focus on or identify a person by a past life style. It is an awesome work of God when He transforms our hearts.
Our future is not determined by our past. Society and some within the church, may hinder those with a past from ministering unto Jesus. With a repentant heart, with the anointing in her hands, the sinner woman ministered unto Jesus. You, Child of God, have an anointed future as you minister unto Jesus. Though you may have junk or baggage in your past, you no longer carry that junk or baggage. Though you were once weighted down with sin, through repentance you are now freed from sin's bondage. You have the anointing in your hands to minister to Jesus. As you witness or testify for Jesus, you are ministering unto Him. You are touching Him. As you worship Him, you are touching Him. As you sing to Him, you are touching Him. When you are praying for someone else, you are touching Him. When you are visiting the sick, poor, or imprisoned, you are touching Him. When you are ministering to others who spiritually have dirty feet with unwanted matter on them, sin and junk attached to them, as you, spiritually speaking, humbly kiss, and embrace them, you are ministering to Jesus.
Children of God, Jesus desires us to sit at His feet, sit in His presence, to worship Him, to minister unto Him, to touch Him, to touch His heart. Put the past behind you and look to the future with Him. He will use your past for His glory. What the enemy meant for evil against you, God will turn, is turning, or has turned around for the glory of God. So, with a repentant, humble heart we approach the presence of God to minister to Jesus and to worship Him, rendering ourselves willing vessels to be used for the Kingdom of God.