~Luke 7:36-50 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. 37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
I wondered what alabaster looked like and did a quick search. The picture above is absolutely gorgeous. I can just imagine a box made of this beautiful stone! In my research, I learned the significance of this alabaster box in biblical times. When a young lady reached the age where she could be married, her family would include in her dowry such an alabaster box. She would fill this box with precious ointment to be used to anoint the feet of her future husband to show him honour. What a beautiful picture this paints of the woman in today’s account!
What was the significance of her actions toward Jesus?
1. Kissed His feet: She must have heard Jesus speaking in public and come under great conviction. From the moment she entered into Simon’s home, she bowed at His feet and kissed them. Can you imagine what this took for her to do? This woman entered into a Pharisee’s home – she knew that they all would know who she was and what a sinner she was at that. True repentance doesn’t care what others think – the cost of a sinner’s salvation is worth more than humiliation. She humbled herself – have we come to the Master’s feet with such humbleness?
2. Her tears – Her tears of repentance were genuine. They were not just crocodile tears lasting but moments. The entire time Jesus was there, she ceased not to cover His feet with tears. She had much on her heart, I would say. (Luke 7:47)
3. Her hair – This dear lady used her own hair to wipe Jesus’ feet. She used part of herself, not part of her robe, but her own hair – her head covering, if you will. What a beautiful depiction of her submission to the Lord. A woman’s hair is her glory and this woman was willing to use it for her Saviour! She was willing to give Him all of herself in servitude.
4. Her alabaster box – She also broke her alabaster box and used it to anoint her future husband! I loved that she not only anointed Christ’s head but His feet as well. I find that quite significant. She was showing Him that He would be her “head” and her leader. By anointing His feet, she was showing Him of her love for Him and she would serve Him gladly. (John 13:12-15) Can you imagine the beautiful fragrance that permeated the room as she used all of it to anoint Christ’s head and feet? Her actions were a wonderful sweet aroma to the Saviour! She showed Him her repentance, love and willingness to serve.
How do we compare to this repentful sinner and her actions? How are our actions showing our testimony? Have we humbly come to Him with tears and submission to His will? Have we given Him our all, both physically and spiritually? Or have we clung to our alabaster box selfishly? Does our testimony and servitude for Him have a sweet fragrance before those around us, reflecting the Lord Jesus Christ?