The Forgiven Woman: An Outpouring of Grace

Luke 7:36-50

Suppose we crash a party—circa a.d. 30—when Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus to dinner, knowing his guest of honor would draw a crowd.

Women weren't permitted to serve or consume the feast while men reclined at the table. The poor were allowed to hang around the periphery, collecting food scraps that fell to the floor.

Among the less fortunate was "a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town" (Luke 7:37). Since her name and specific sin aren't mentioned—prostitution, scholars say—we can pencil in our names and sins as we watch this scene unfold.

Undone and Unbound

Knowing Jesus would be there, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume. Perfume being expensive, her jar would have been small and easily hidden.

Did she mean to anoint the Lord's head, as had Mary of Bethany (Mark 14:3), who was chastised by the disciples for wasting what might have been sold? Or did this unnamed woman plan to donate her alabaster jar and its contents to support Jesus' ministry financially, as Mary Magdalene had done (Luke 8:2-3)?

Whatever her intent, she drew near to him. Then, undone in his holy presence, she wet his feet with her tears. Sorrow for her sins flowed from her heart. Gratitude for his acceptance poured from her eyes.

So brave, this woman, standing in a crowded room of men—former customers, some of them—silently confessing her sins. Watching her, I, too, feel the sting of tears. Could I stand before a group of men who "knew me when" and make such a painful admission?

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May 25

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