On Sunday we talked about worship and ever since I have been thinking about the unnamed woman who had encounter with Jesus (Luke 7: 36-50). We’re not told much by Luke about this woman, and yet what we are told is enough to understand that this woman was a prostitute.
Imagine, this woman waking up on this particular morning to the realization that she is alone and once again abandoned by the former night’s guest. Empty, alone, rejected and miserable.
And perhaps, on this morning, outside her window she hears the sounds of voices, people begging for healing and deliverance and other voices shouting words of anger and hatred.
I can imagine her going over to her window to hear what the commotion is all about. She hears the crowd quite as a man in his thirties speaks compassionately to an older woman, who was ready to bury her only son.
“Don’t cry” Jesus said as he reached out and touched the coffin
“Young man, I say to you, get up!” and the dead man sat up and began to talk.
From her room where she watched the crowd gather this woman realized that this man Jesus, was no ordinary man. Unable to leave her window she continued to grasp every word and clung to every phrase which Jesus spoke to the crowd that gathered around him.
He spoke like no one she had ever heard before. He spoke with authority, as if he were speaking directly to her. And as Jesus continued to instruct those gathered around, the woman hears for the fist time the tremendous truth of the gospel message.
She understands for the first time that there is a God that loves her, that will never leave her, never forsake her. She believes what she hears, that there is a God that can fill her emptiness and make her clean.
And there in her tiny little hovel, in the darkness of her room she comes face to face with the light of redemption.
Tears begin to flow. She knows that she needs to be in his presence, if only for a moment,
so she rushes to the street only to find the crowd dispersing and that Jesus had left.
In anguish and heart wrenching sorrow she cries out for the One who has changed her life. Desperately she runs to nearby alleys searching for the man of redemption.
‘No! Not again, has he left me too? I can not lose him, He is my only hope!’ She cries to herself.
And then someone says to her “if you are looking for the Rabbi he has gone to the home of Simon the Pharisee”
Quickly running to the place where Jesus had gone to eat, this woman finds Jesus reclining at the table. She falls at the feet of the Saviour and begins to weep. With tears flowing from her sobbing heart, she washed the Lord’s tired feet with her tears and wiped away the soil with her hair. Then she pours a valuable perfume upon His feet from her alabaster jar, which she carried with her.
Can you imagine the depth of this woman’s tears being enough to clean the dusty feet of Jesus? Imagine the gratitude that moved her to boldly display her devotion and adoration. Imagine the courage it took to approach Jesus in the manner she did, but it didn’t matter, for her love for Jesus knew no bounds.
Luke tells us in this passage that the common courtesies of the day were not shown to Jesus by his host. The feet washing, being greeted by a kiss and anointing of oil/perfume upon the head.
In verse 44 we read ….
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she 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. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Jesus makes it very clear that it is not what the woman did that saved her, it was her FAITH.
The extravagant act of love and worship came as a result of the forgiveness and love she received from God. Her obedient act of faith then led her to respond in worship.
Jesus commends the faith that led to her extraordinary demonstration of love. “Your faith” he says, “has saved you; go in peace”.
I long to worship Jesus as this woman with the alabaster jar of perfume did! Excessively, abundantly, lavishly, …extravagantly. Without fear of judgment or ridicule.
So what is worship?
True worship is when one’s spirit adores and connects with the spirit of God. When the very core of one’s being is found in loving God.
True worship is not about songs being sung, although music is a wonderful expression of worship, it is not itself the essence of it.
True worship is a lifestyle and it happens when we put God first in our lives.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and will all your mind and with all your strength…. Mark 12:30. This verse, I believe, captures the essence of what worship really means. WE can do all the right things, but if we are not doing this first, then we are not truly worshiping.
Let’s worship God, extravagantly!