Today I was going to discuss the anointing of Jesus by Mary just before He entered Jerusalem. But as I studied this out, I realized there are actually two different stories about women anointing Jesus, and I had this story mixed up with the other one, So first I am going to take you back to an incident that happened a year or two earlier. This is found in Luke 7:36-50
36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
This story s fascinating for several reasons. I am sure the people were astonished that Jesus would eat with the Pharisees after all the hard times they gave Him. I’m sure Jesus saw this as an opportunity to speak with them openly in a casual setting. Jesus missed no opportunity to minister to whoever was ready to hear Him. The disciples were most likely baffled by His decision, but that did not stop Him. He went, hoping to have a good conversation with the Pharisee, and a god meal as well.
Next, we see a sinful woman (many assume it is the woman taken in adultery that Jesus forgave – I do not see where the bible supports that) behind Jesus with an alabaster box of ointment. There is no mention how she got all the way in the house, she is just there. And she starts to weep he tears falling on His feet. She leans over and wipes her feet with her hair, and then anoints His feet with the expensive ointment. I am sure the fragrance filled the room. The bravery of this woman,, to come into the Pharisees house and, before all the guests, weep before the Lord, is astonishing. She did not care what other thought of her – she was going to bless the one who had forgiven her. Are we so bold in our witness? Do we show our love for the Lord regardless of what others might think of our testimony? Speaking for myself, II often hum a tune of praise while walking through the grocery store, why don’t I sing it out instead? I often will let people know I’ll pray for them. why don’t I take their hand and pray for them right then and there? Oh, how I would love to have the boldness of this woman!
The Pharisee that invited Jesus thought to himself that Jesus would not even let this woman close if He knew what kind of woman she was. She was a sinner, most likely dressed in clothes that revealed who she was. He made an assumption based on her appearance. I often do that myself. It’s wrong, and I know it. Isaiah tells us that the root of Jesse will not judge by what they see or hear, but will judge with righteous judgement. God does not look on the outward appearance but on the heart (1 Sam 16:7). We need to allow the Holy Spirit to keep us looking at the right thing!
Jesus puts a question to the Pharisee. Who is going to be the most thankful? One who is forgiven a small debt, or one who is forgiven a very large debt? The answer is obvious! The Pharisee answers correctly. Then Jesus reprimands the Pharisee! I would have loved to have been there to hear and see this!
Jewish custom would have said that the Pharisee would have had someone wash Jesus feet when he entered to get the dust off. The Pharisee should have kissed Jesus as a form of greeting, which was custom. And in those days, showers and baths were not so common, so it was not unusual when coming for a meal that some ointment would be used to anoint the guest and leave a better smell in the room. The Pharisee did none on these things but the woman did.
Simple hospitality. I need to practice this more. My wife and I do not do a lot of entertaining at our house, nor do we go to other people;s houses very often. We pretty much keep to ourselves most of the time. When we have the opportunity, we must make sure we are doing all we can to make our guests feel welcome. But even more than that, we must make sure we are doing all we can to make others feel welcome and loved, wherever we meet them. In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the crowd how important it is to treat others with compassion. He says that when we do a good deed for anyone, even the lowliest of people, it is just like doing it for Him. Conversely, f we refuse to do it for someone else, it is like telling Jesus “No”.
How often have I missed an opportunity to minister to Jesus? I remember a message I heard almost 10 years ago by Jackie Pulliinger called “Eyes to See” It touched me to my very core. How often have seen someone in need and not done what I can to help them? If I have, have refused Jesus! How often have I had the time to go visit someone in the hospital, and not gone? have just refused Jesus. When look into someones eyes, do I see Jesus in them? Do I see their need and pray with them? Imagine how the church would grow if the wold would just see us caring like that! if you would like to hear this message, and I encourage you to do so, here are links to part 1 and 2. It is around 45 minutes each – and it’s worth it.
Let’s all do our part, as this woman did that day so long ago to make Jesus feel welcome, and to spread His love to all around. It’s the least we can do!