By Beth Demme
I often “find” myself in the stories of the Bible (it’s one of the reasons I keep reading), but recently I found myself in a new way in one of the old stories (which is another reason I keep reading – the words don’t change, but my understanding does).
In Luke 7, Jesus is having dinner at the home of a Pharisee, a local religious leader. During dinner, a woman just like me walked into the room. How do I know she and I have something in common? We’re told “a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town” entered the home and silently approached Jesus.
We aren’t told what the woman’s specific sins are, but does it matter? She had sins and I have sins. Although I wasn’t physically present in the room with Jesus two thousand years ago, I’m probably more like the sinful woman than I dare to admit.
“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.” (Luke 7:38)
The Pharisee says to himself, “if this man [Jesus] were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
Our filters matter.
The Pharisee saw this woman through cultural and societal filters. Filters that made her unpresentable and unworthy.
Jesus saw her unfiltered. He saw her as one who was fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) Jesus saw her as a woman with the capacity to love and accomplish amazing things through that love. Incredibly, I think Jesus sees me (and you) the same way.
Jesus says to the Pharisee:
You [religious leader who looks so good to everyone in the community] did not give me any water for my feet, but she [the sinful woman you deem unworthy] wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown.
Jesus then tells the woman, “your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)
Do you see it? Jesus doesn’t tell the sinful woman to go out into the world and earn God’s love, grace, and mercy. Jesus tells her to go in peace.
That’s what I want – a little peace!
How can I find it? By seeing myself the way God sees me instead of the way society sees me. I need to faithfully embrace the truth that I am loved. I need to eliminate the filters that cloud my view of myself.
Jesus says the sinful woman “was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful.” (Luke 7:47, MSG)
And so there I am, again, in the Bible. Very forgiven and very grateful.
More like this from Beth: