The woman of today that I want to share is the woman with the alabaster box. This is a beautiful portrait of love, faith and humility. As I went to study again the woman with the alabaster box I found four accounts in each of the gospels. In John 12:1-11 it speaks of Mary in the home of Lazarus. In Matthew 26:6-13 it speaks of a woman, but gives no name. In Mark 14:3-9 again, no name of the woman is given, but it speaks about being in the house of Simon in Bethany. And in Luke 7:36-50 it tells of a woman in the house of a Pharisee, but her name is not mentioned. It is this story that I will share today.
In many stories of the bible about people, their names are not mentioned. Just as today, I don't think it's our name that is important, but the story behind the name, and the light being shone on Jesus, as in this story.
First, lets speak about the alabaster jar or box. Alabaster was a compact, fine textured, usually white and translucent plaster often carved into vases and ornaments. In this case it was a jar or box that contained valuable perfume. This perfume was worth more than a years wages. So, whoever held this jar or box, knew just how special it was, just how costly and fragrant.
Here in Luke, Jesus is at a Pharisee's home, having dinner. As I study I find that it was not at all uncommon for a Pharisee to invite Jesus to their home. They were inquisitive, and interested in Jesus' teaching. We see as Jesus is here, there is also a woman, a woman with a jar, and great faith in her Lord. She moves humbly to Jesus, bows at His feet, breaks open the jar, and begins to pour the contents upon His feet. As she is pouring the frangrance upon Him, her tears are falling. In this beautiful moment between a sinner and her Savior, she wipes her tears away by her hair. She is giving Jesus all she has, both in worldly value, and most important from her heart. As she kissed the feet of Jesus the Pharisee began asking questions. Simon is wondering that if Jesus was indeed a prophet, wouldn't he know this woman was a sinner and if so, why is He allowing her at His feet? It was so hard for those around to understand the love of this woman, and the fogiving love of her Savior.
Jesus goes on in verse 40, speaking directly to Simon. Jesus shares a story about two men, both with debts, and both debts being paid off, only one is much greater than the other. So, Jesus asks him who he thinks would be more thankful, the man with the greater debt or the one with the lesser. Simon realizes the man with the greater debt would be more grateful and show more love than the other.
Listen to what Jesus says to Simon here beginning in verse 44 "Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn't offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn't greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to annoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. I tell you, her sins and they are many, have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love. Then Jesus said to the woman, Your sins are forgiven."
Simply beautiful. Can there be anything more simple than humble love? Jesus shows us His humble love upon the cross. He gave all He had upon the cross, showing us His humble love, a love that would last forever. Although a simple story, there is much meaning here.
As Simon didn't give, didn't offer, and didn't greet, the woman did. The difference? The woman realized who was before her. She realized the magnitude of her Savior. She saw what Simon was missing. On this day, she had the greatest blessing. She gave and she received. She offered all she had. Did she realize her Savior would be upon a cross in just a few days? Did she realize she was annointing Him and how a great a gift this was to her Savior? We just have a picture of love, and there is nothing greater than love.
As Simon points out she is a sinner, does he not realize he too is a sinner? Does he not see the pride in his thoughts? Simon was willing to have dinner, to ask questions and to learn, but was his willing to give his heart as this woman did? What did Simon really give this day? As the woman is forgiven, you know as she walks away her tears are still falling. In the depths of her joy I am sure she still finds a sadness over her past. I wonder if Simon learned that day. I wonder if he learned not only from Jesus, but from the humble acts of this woman. I did. I see a beauty in her that is reflecting Jesus.
As you listen to this beautiful song by CeCe, close your eyes and see this woman before you. Close your eyes and see Jesus before her. Find the forgiveness, find the joy, find all you are looking for. At the feet of Jesus is where we find love and life. She poured all she had before Jesus, her past, her present and future. Jesus accepted her with His love and washed her in forgiveness. Let Him wash His forgiveness over you today. Find a new life in Him today. Don't build treasures here on this earth, but build treasure in heaven. Pour out all you have today. Pour out the shame, the guilt, and pain. As you pour, emptying all you have allow Jesus to fill you with all He has!!!