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The Woman Who Loved
Long long ago there lived a woman named Mary. This was a woman who had known many a hard and hopeless day. She had turned to prostitution just to make a living.
Wherever she went she felt the blows of scorn, hatred and rejection. There seemed to be no hope for Mary, no hope that is, until the day she heard about a man who was captivating the hearts of her people.
Mary Hears about Jesus
In the little village where Mary lived, rumors and stories about a God-man were spreading like wild-fire. Mary tried to make sense of what she heard as she pondered what people were saying. Whoever he was, he had a large following and everyone who met him was stirred up in their own way, some with anger and some with wonder and awe.
These stories were astounding and miraculous. All of them pointed to this man named Jesus. Those who had been drawn to Jesus talked about a love He possessed which was all encompassing, a greater love than she had ever experienced or known
One day, as Mary was walking through the courtyard, her attention was drawn to a man who was speaking to a group of people gathered around him. She noted that his eyes were filled with light and joy. She drew a bit closer so she could hear what he was saying, "Friends, Jesus is no ordinary man," he exclaimed, "He is the son of the living God, the God of Israel. It is God himself who sent His son to earth to teach us all about himself and to give us hope." The man motioned his hands animately and excitedly as he urged the people, "Come, you must see him for yourselves."
The crowd grew noisy as everyone began to talk at once. Mary walked away quietly pondering these things in her heart. "If Jesus is the son of God I must find a way to see him." A deep ache of longing rose within her. "Oh, if only I could catch a glimpse of this God-man, I know my empty heart would be filled and satisfied for the rest of my days."
A few days later Mary learned that very soon Jesus would be meeting with some important men in a nearby city. Upon hearing this news she felt her heart leap within her chest. Her thoughts raced with excitement and anticipation. Perhaps she would have a chance to lay her eyes upon Jesus.
Thoughts began to whirl around in her head. How could she honor this God-man who came to earth to show mankind His love? The one, they said, who performed so many miraculous acts. The one man who might love her just as she was. A man like none she had ever known.
Mary Honors Jesus
The long awaited day finally arrived. The day when Jesus was to come to the city nearby. Mary had already prepared for the moment she would lay her eyes on him. She carried her most prized alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. She had purchased her gift with the money she had tucked away for many years.
Entering the city she searched for the place he was to be. As she passed by Simon's home she spied Jesus on the patio reclined at a table. She felt deep distress when she noted that the Savior’s feet were still thick with the dirt of the road. The custom of the day was to wash the feet of a guest in your home, yet no one had administered this simple courtesy to Jesus. No one had washed Jesus feet.
Although it was not acceptable for a woman to enter a man's meeting place, Mary quietly, yet quickly, entered Simon's home and fell at Jesus feet. She was moved with compassion and a deep, deep love for the one man she felt would love her, even though He knew all about her. As she lifted her eyes she found Jesus looking intently into her own eyes. At that moment a confidant knowing filled her being. All she had heard was true. This man was no ordinary man, he was holy and he loved like no man had ever loved.
Mary's feelings could not be contained as the contrast between the sinlessness of Jesus and her own marked and stained life hit her. Her tears splashed down upon Jesus' feet so profusely that they covered and cleansed them. Through her watery tear filled eyes she struggled to open the prized alabaster jar. Dipping her hand in the ointment she smoothed the expensive perfume onto his feet. There was no towel available. Thinking quickly she untied her hair (another no-no of that time) and wiped his feet dry with her dark and luxurious locks.
Of All the Nerve
Simon looked on with contempt. "How dare this despicable woman of the streets enter my house! Of all the nerve; she just snuck in and threw herself at Jesus." Has she no shame? How did she get past the servants?"
As Simon scrutinized the scene before him he struggled to control himself. While holding himself in check he felt a loathing and repulsion swelling up within his chest. At the same time an eager anticipation grew for the moment Jesus would reproach her.
Simon sat very still as he intensely studied Jesus' face. He was surprised and puzzled when he observed a softness of expression on his countenance. Jesus, who had already read Simon's thoughts, turned and spoke to him, "I have something to say to you Simon." Simon's eyebrows lifted as he wondered, "You have something to say to me?" but instead replied simply, "Tell me teacher."
Jesus then told Simon a story in the form of a parable. "A man lent money to two people. To one he loaned 50 pieces of silver; To the other 500. Neither person could repay the debt. The lender, because of the kindness in his heart, chose to forgive them both and cancel their debt." Next came the penetrating question: “Which debtor do you think, loved him more after that?”
Of course the answer was obvious and so Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven." Jesus answered, "You have judged correctly."
The one who is forgiven most loves most. "Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Luke 7:47
An Everlasting Love
According to the custom of the day Simon had shown no honor to his highly respected guest, Jesus. Simon did not greet Jesus with a kiss nor had he washed Jesus feet or even offered water for him to wash his own feet. No oil was placed upon his head.
Yet, this supposed despicable woman demonstrated her devotion and worship of Jesus by going beyond mere courtesy. She humbled herself in complete adoration and heartfelt service at his feet. She honored him with all that she possessed.
This woman, whom society despised, had touched the heart of the one man who loved her in spite of herself. Her heart surrendered to the only man who had ever truly loved her. In response to this devotion, Jesus set her free from her sin.
The woman who loved, found in Jesus, an everlasting love.