In Luke seven, Jesus is criticized by a Pharisee for letting a woman who was said to be of low character kiss his feet and put perfume on them. He says in response, in verses 44 through 49, “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 anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.”
The verses continue, with Jesus saying, “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 a little love.”
I think this is one of the most beautiful interactions that Jesus has with his followers. I can just see this woman kneeling before Jesus, in complete awe to be in the presence of the Son of God, and washing his feet and wiping them with her hair. She had no doubt whatsoever that she was in the presence of a sacred being, and reading about her humility and worship of Jesus is incredibly touching.
Jesus uses this opportunity to explain how her gratitude is indicative of someone who has made many mistakes. He underscores in this passage that human hierarchy means nothing to him, just like he had done in the past concerning the religious authorities of that day. It is such a contrast that he draws between human values and the sacred values that he and God share.
Whereas the critics valued those that were seen as ‘good’ above the reputation of this woman, Jesus saw her need to be forgiven of her many transgressions as something that he could fulfill. We realize reading this passage that this is what he came to earth for, to show us that all of us can be forgiven, and that it doesn’t matter to what degree we have transgressed. He is a sacred being with the power to purify our souls, and he loves us so much that it makes him very happy to do this. He loved us enough to come to earth and suffer a terrible fate in order to share this with us, and this passage is a great example of the incredible depth of his unfathomable unconditional love.
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