Luke, the Gospel writer, tells us tensions were high between Jesus and the Pharisees (chapter 7).  Jesus was the guest of Simon the Pharisee.  The host had ignored basics of hospitality.  No washing of feet, greeting (kiss, v. 45), no anointing oil for the heads of his guests (v. 46). Possibly others were aware of these omissions, possibly not. One Bible teacher thinks this was obvious to all who attended.  A purposeful snub.  I am not sure.

Suddenly an unexpected person came into the room–known to have lived a sinful life (vs. 37).  A woman despised by polite society. 

What happens next is unthinkable to those watching. As Jesus reclined at the low table on His elbows, His feet extended behind Him away from the table, the woman stands behind Him and begins to weep.

Few of us are willing to be emotionally exposed; we are uncomfortable weeping in the presence of others. But this woman wept.

It is not stretching Luke 7:36-50 to imagine all conversation ceased. The room became very quiet. Maybe her weeping grew louder so as to fill the room.  Kneeling down, she began to wash His feet.

Then in an act associated with her profession, she let down her hair–but instead of this being sensual, this was adoration–she wiped His feet with her hair.   She kissed His feet and anointed them.

You can imagine the pressure mounting in the room. No one ate. No one moved. And Jesus did nothing to suggest this behavior was inappropriate.

God wants us to see ourselves in this woman.  In the same way, He wants us to realize who the prodigal son is in Luke 15.  It’s me. It’s you.

This was not likely her first encounter with Jesus Christ.  She had probably listened to Him a number of times.  “Is it not logical to think that she found in His words, attitudes and nuances of action the forgiveness and cleansing she hungered for?” asks apologist C.J. Mahaney.   

Likely she had already believed in Him.

Verse 50 states:  “Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace’” (Luke 7:50).  It’s hard to say that she was not already saved when she came in. Either way–saved just then or previously, now she is worshipping Him. 

She recognized her sin, and unworthiness–as do we. Do we join her in her expression of praise? Do we show our worship in such situations?

Were her tears caused by grief over sin or joyous worship? 

She had faced her depravity. My favorite quote about depravity is:  “I am more convinced of your depravity than I am convinced of my depravity, which confirms my depravity.”[1] 

Our sinfulness is a reality. But the reality of the death, burial, and resurrection of JesusChrist is an even greater reality.

Instead of condemning us, God the Father condemned His Son.  Amazing. 

When condemnation comes, don’t fight it by promising to pray more, fast more,  memorize more Scripture, or do better.  Future obedience is certainly important, but it’s impossible to resolve issues of yesterday by promising to do better tomorrow.  Our promises of future obedience, however sincere, can’t resolve condemnation for past sin. 

Here’s how to beat condemnation:  Confess your sin to God, then believe God for forgiveness. Jesus took the bullet of God’s condemnation we all deserve.  

And the resurrection is the Father’s proof that He accepted the offering of the Son on our behalf.  Don’t carry what He paid for. We can’t atone for our sins, so Jesus did it for us. 

Though Paul called himself “the chief of sinners,” he was not paralyzed by condemnation.  Even though he had killed Christians, before he became one.

All of us can claim the title “chief of sinners” because we are the worst sinner we really know.  That title is not reserved for the Adolf Hitlers or the Pol Pots  (Cambodia) of the world.   We know more of the folly of our own hearts than we know the folly of anyone else’s heart and mind. 

So admit it–you are the worst sinner you know. But it is the grace of God that enables us to have an awareness of our sin.  Most are convinced they are not sinners (or at least not very bad sinners). So for us to genuinely own that reality is an indication of grace. The grace work that has begun will be completed (Philippians 1:6 says so).  

So Unload Condemnation!  Reject it as a satanic attack and rejoice in Jesus Christ.  That’s the really good news of Romans 8:1. 

[1]  Ramesh Richards, Christ’s Commission Fellowship, downtown Manila, March 8, 2012.