Women of the Bible

A sinner in the city: Cheerful Sacrifice

Luke 7:36-50

Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.

Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.” And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.”

“A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.”

Turning toward 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 has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

*****

The last thing I see in this woman’s worship is simply this: She gave her best.

“…she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.”

Since the beginning of forever, it’s been fairly common knowledge that when you intend to honor someone — and especially a king — you don’t bring him the box of junk leftover from last Saturday’s garage sale. That just doesn’t cut it!

No, you give something of worth. And when it comes to this King of Glory — this King of Love — the only gift we can possibly offer is our very selves. The willing sacrifice of our lives, our hopes, dreams, brokenness, failures, wants, and needs — this is the gift fitting for such a King.

Romans 12:1-2 says that such an offering is not just a good idea, but it is our reasonable service. It’s the only thing that makes sense. I mean, is this not the God of Heaven who reached down to redeem our souls? Is this not the Perfect Son who was accused, tortured, and put to death on our behalf? Of course He deserves our very selves!

But that is so easy to say, and yet we so often (and easily!) drift away. When we’re in that amazing moment, and we’re so overwhelmed by grace and forgiveness and love and majesty, we readily fling ourselves at His feet. We jump at the chance to say, “Take all of me! I’m Yours!”

That’s when our eyes are clear, and we see that radiant glory for what it is.

Then the week and the errands and the kids start to get crazy. Or the amazing catalogs full of everything we crave start arriving. Or we’re exhausted and “me” time sounds so…deserved and right. Or we just like life better when we’re doing our little routine and not worrying about moving to Africa and those starving kids. (In fact, let’s shut out all mention of starving kids — or abortion, or sex trafficking, or persecuted believers, or… you know. It’s knocking my groove off.)

And we start to cling to our puny little life like a little girl clings to plastic beads. Silly, right?

That little girl just needs to be shown a string of real pearls, and then I’ll bet she’ll let go.

And we just need to see a glimpse of Jesus and eternity, and then — then I’ll be we’ll be willing to let go, too.

Because this is the sort of song Jesus deserves to hear from us:

“Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so Divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

Does the power of His love and the fullness of His grace so overwhelm you that you are eager, even desperate, to give Him your very best? Is He the pearl of great price for which you would gladly sell all you have?

If you feel like something is lacking in your worship experience — if any of these three responses are not bubbling up within you when you’re in His presence — then I want to encourage you today: Ask for more. Expect more. But most of all, ask that the eyes of your heart might be opened to behold Jesus.

*****

As I end this little series on worship, may I ask you to click over here and listen to a song I wrote a few years ago? There you’ll find the words expressed by a heart that had grown cold, desperately desired more, and finally realized the answer lay in seeing Jesus. (play Bind My Heart.)

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