Bible Society of South Africa

The invisible woman – 18 March 2022

By Xanthe Hancox

Bible text(s)

44Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your home, and you gave me no water for my feet, but she has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45You did not welcome me with a kiss, but she has not stopped kissing my feet since I came. 46You provided no olive oil for my head, but she has covered my feet with perfume. 47I tell you, then, the great love she has shown proves that her many sins have been forgiven. But whoever has been forgiven little shows only a little love.”

Luke 7:44-47GNBOpen in Bible reader

In the Jewish culture of the first century, women generally had few rights and were expected not to be seen or heard. Even in the gospel accounts, few women are named.

The anonymous woman in today’s story crashes Simon’s party and makes a scene as she lets down her hair in public. This gesture would have been shocking, misunderstood as seductive. Her perfume permeates the air. Her weeping breaks the awkward silence.

Jesus knows what Simon is thinking, so he tells a brief parable about debts and forgiveness. Then he asks Simon a seemingly obvious question: “Do you see this woman?”

Of course, Simon really doesn’t see her. He observes the woman’s actions but fails to discern what is happening in front of him. Jesus understands that this woman is pouring out her deepest feelings of thanksgiving and love toward God. It’s a sacred moment of unconditional surrender and devotion to God.

This question reverberates into our time as well: “Do we see this woman?” We often choose to stay neutral, impartial, and detached when it comes to expressing emotion for God. But such a radical outpouring of affection to Jesus is the natural response of a forgiven Christian.

We need the eyes of Jesus to see and honour the beauty of such great love when a forgiven sinner shows it.

Prayer: Lord, free us to see the love of others for you and to show our love too, in welcoming them for your sake. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.11
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