Dear Student of the Word,
My, my - it's been three months since I have updated my study in Luke's gospel. I have been so busy with other writing projects that I had to neglect this particular project for a while. I am back no track, however, so I am picking up where we left off in August at Luke 7. Here is what I wrote in part four of this seven-part study 12, the entirety of which is available for you to download below:
Study Twelve, Part Four
36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. 37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is-that she is a sinner."
7:36 – It was a distinct honor to be invited to someone’s house to eat in Jesus’ day. This was a sign of fellowship, friendship and covenant. This is why Judas is described with shock and dismay: “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9). When was the last time you had a meal in your home with an invited guest? The Bible urges us to practice hospitality.
7:37 – It has been widely assumed that this woman was a prostitute, but the text does not bear this out. She was a sinful woman, of that we are sure, but we are not sure what her sins were. It doesn’t really matter, for we should all be able to identify with this woman:
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Romans 3:21-25).
Many feel that this alabaster jar was the woman’s dowry, since this was expensive perfume. She poured out all she had on the man who had freed her to be who she was intended to be and had delivered her from what she once was. I hope you never forget where you were when Jesus met and saved you. You owe Jesus everything and should be willing to pour it all out on Him.
7:38 – This picture makes me uncomfortable, not because of the woman, but because of my own hang-ups. She wet Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair! That is just too close for comfort according to my tastes. It’s not what makes me comfortable when people worship—it’s all about Him! I don’t know what Jesus had done for someone, so why should I set myself up as their judge them when they respond to His love? Also, many complain that some worship is too emotional. What is “too emotional”? Am I the judge of that? Are you?
7:39 – The Pharisee didn’t judge the woman—he judged Jesus! I have often done the same, wondering why God would do this or that for a particular person. What business is it of mine? Yet I insist on making it my business. I would do well to heed James’ words:
Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you-who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12).
Lord, help me to mind my own business. Deliver me from a judgmental and critical spirit. I ask you to come and replace my hard heart with a heart of flesh that has compassion and mercy for others. I can’t do that, Lord, but I give you permission to do that in me. I choose today to identify with the woman in this story and not the Pharisee.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the daily devotional entitled A Daily Taste of Proverbs. Thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy this study of Luke's gospel from God's word.