Bible Society of South Africa

Everybody welcome – 20 September 2021

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

37In that town was a woman who lived a sinful life. She heard that Jesus was eating in the Pharisee's house, so she brought an alabaster jar full of perfume 38and stood behind Jesus, by his feet, crying and wetting his feet with her tears. Then she dried his feet with her hair, kissed them, and poured the perfume on them.

Luke 7:37-38GNBOpen in Bible reader

There are many individuals mentioned in the Bible, who came onto the stage, grabbed the attention for a moment and were never heard of again. Even so, what they had done or what had happened to them, was important enough to be recorded in the Bible. Such a person was the woman we meet here. The writers of all four Gospels recorded that it had happened, so we can be sure that it was important. Three of them mentioned that it had happened at the house of Simon the Leper, and Luke identified him as a Pharisee. John mentioned that it had taken place at the house of Lazarus and that it was Mary, the sister of Lazarus, who anointed Him.

Matthew, Mark and John recorded that it happened in the week before the Passover, that meant shortly before Jesus’ death on the cross. Luke placed it much earlier in the ministry of Jesus and is the only one who tells us that she was a woman who lived a sinful life. It looks as though they may have recorded different events when a woman anointed Jesus.

To me, the story as told by Luke is something special. This woman must have had a real desire to meet Jesus and do something special for him. As someone leading a sinful life, it took a lot of courage to enter the house of a Pharisee. Jesus seems to be comfortable with the situation of a woman leading a sinful life wetting his feet with her tears, drying them with her hair and kissing them before pouring the perfume onto them. To his host, Simon, it was a bit unsettling. Jesus saw his discomfort and told him the story of the two men who were in debt. He wanted Simon to understand that someone who had led a sinful life, like this woman, would be the person most grateful to be forgiven. She received what she wanted most: “Your sins are forgiven,” Jesus said, and that holds good for all of us.

Prayer: “Thank you, Lord, that our past is not that important to you, and that you will forgive every one of us who comes to you with the desire to be forgiven. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.13.12
Find us on