Jesus went to the house of a Pharisee to dine. While He was there, a woman who had lived a sinful life came. She wept at His feet, using her tears to wash them. She dried them with her hair. She kissed them. She poured expensive perfume on them.
The Pharisee was inwardly indignant. He felt that Jesus should send her away, if He knew what kind of life she led. Jesus knew what he was thinking.
The Pharisee hadn’t brought water for Jesus’ feet. He hadn’t given the customary kiss of greeting. Jesus asked him this question, “Two men owed a money lender, but neither could pay. One man owed 500 talents and the other 50. The money lender forgave them both. Who, do you think, loved him more?”
“Why the man who owed him the most,” the Pharisee answered.
Jesus chastised the Pharisee and forgave the woman. This brings up some questions.
Why did her actions mean so much? It sounds a little gross, but in our culture feet are…well…feet. In that culture, the person who washed someone’s feet was the lowest ranked member of the household. Usually it was a slave. As for kissing them, touching them and so forth, it showed a great deal of humility on the woman’s part. She knew what life she’d led.
Drying His feet with her hair shows something else. A woman’s hair was her glory. Seeing it down and loose was a husband’s privilege. Yet she dried Jesus feet with it. She couldn’t have said, “I repent” better.
The idea of forgiveness: There are times when it is hard to forgive someone. We all struggle with it. Sometimes we forgive only to find ourselves taking it back and getting angry all over again, and having to forgive again.
God isn’t like that. When we repent, the blood of Christ washes over our sins and God can’t see it anymore. It is one reason why we need to work on forgiving others. If we want to be like Jesus, if we want to please God, then we need to forgive.
Our faith saves us: The woman showed tremendous faith in Jesus. He could have sent her away. He could have openly stated all she had done. He knew it, just as He knows what we have done. Our faith in Him saves us. It covers us.
Going in Peace: This can be as hard as forgiving others. We need to forgive ourselves. If we have truly repented our actions, we need to accept that God has forgiven us and that we should forgive ourselves. That means when we wake up in the middle of the night going, “Why did I do that, I’m such a moron,” we can say “but I have been forgiven” and let it go.
Go in peace, serve the Lord. You have been forgiven and you are loved.