“A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 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.”
I have read this section of the bible a few times over the years and I have to be honest, it hadn’t really hit me in the same way as it did this time around. I was planning these 2 blogs for Good Friday and Easter Sunday and thinking about what on earth makes this ‘Good?’
Good Friday, is the day Christians remember the pain, sorrow, cruelty and death that Jesus endured. It is brutal and hard to comprehended giving this day the title ‘good!’
I want to take us back a bit, Jesus is eating at the house of a religious man and reclines from the table. A lady who had been living a sinful life arrives without invitation and stands a little away sobbing. Something in her heart was breaking, was it some sort of personal reflection on her life and the choices she had made? Was it that she sensed something in this moment, she had seen Jesus, heard him speak and felt a deep conviction?
Whatever the motivation, she moved forward with this alabaster jar of perfume. A few things to note, this was outrageously expensive stuff, we are talking a years wages here. She doesn’t just sprinkle it she pours it, nothing is being held back. This perfume would have been set aside for her own burial, but here she is, floods of tears, wiping the feet of Jesus and using her very best perfume.
Can you imagine the scene? The smell must have filled that room with it’s incredible aroma, her emotion being poured out, seemingly without words, just gratitude. Gratitude for what?
Because Jesus was a good man? Wise teacher? Great friend?
Jesus looks at her, ‘your sins are forgiven.’
Her greatest need was to be forgiven, to know it, to really know it in her heart. What an incredible moment. Others judged, others pointed at her life of sin and shame, but Jesus said ‘it’s ok, you are forgiven.’
This ‘sinful’ women got it, she understood something whilst the others sat back with bellies full. She saw her saviour.
The thing that stood out the most here for me, is that this perfume was intended for her own burial. Instead of keeping it locked away for that day, she brings it out and pours it on Jesus. I might be reading too much into this but that’s like saying ‘here is my burial.’
She wouldn’t have known of Jesus’ resurrection at this point, she might have heard whispers about people wanting Jesus dead. Had she dreamt about this man giving his life for her? Did she perceive or understand his teaching in a way that revealed the potent exchange that was to come on the cross? How did she grasp at this hope in Jesus?
Something happened here, this moment was incredible. I will say the final bit on Easter Monday, but for today….this is my burial. This is my death. This is my Jesus.
Image Credit: Dylan McLeod