36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.37 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.38 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.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty.42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 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.45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman,“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
See also Matthew 26: 6-13 and Mark 14: 3-9*
Just take that story in for a moment. From a Pharisee mindset, it would have probably seemed like a very awkward and inappropriate scene. A street walker, comes into a party unwelcome... Everything stops and gets quiet... Whispers ensue as the audacious woman kneels at Jesus' feet and rips the Alabaster box off of the cord around her neck, she breaks a bottle of expensive and potent fragrance (pure nard*) beside his feet; sobbing as she pours out the precious perfume on them; mingling the liquid with her tears and wiping them off the with her beautiful tresses...
Eyebrows raise... no one speaks... then Simon breaks the silence...
"What on earth..."
No my friend... heavenly places is where this scene makes sense... Not earth. This story is so beautiful from a Jesus mindset...
Jesus compares this occurrence to debtors who owe a moneylender. What a great way to explain what was happening as the baffled audience watched with confusion on their faces...
Those who owe the most seem to understand Jesus' love from a unique perspective.
I'm not by any means saying that just because some of us, by the hand of God, who were lifted to Jesus from a deeper, dirtier hole, that we love Jesus more. We are all equal in His love. I'm just saying there are different perspectives to appreciate as we study the work of God. My mind can't even wrap around the fact that Jesus has a unique and intimate relationship with each of us. He knows us.
My growing up and coming to Jesus may be very different from someone else's. No one is any better than anyone else in God's eyes. There is something lovely about someone who is raised up in the church and are blessed with a family who knows and teaches them about God. Some of us were in the dark. Regardless... by the glorious power of Jesus, no matter where we came from or where we stray, we are never too far from the arm of God. He can snatch us back to himself from anywhere. Some of us can relate to Mary of Bethany...
Some of us came to Jesus desperate, broken, and lost. We didn't come to him in the perfect circumstance from the world's perspective... but we came to Him... which is what He wants us to do. Regardless of where we find Him. It's often the times we come to Jesus is when we are at the end of ourselves. This woman took the most valuable thing she had (out of the little she had) and willingly and boldly gushed it over the road-dusted feet of Jesus... Holding nothing back from Him. She had a past of trying to satisfy a longing in her spirit with all the wrong things. Filth to the world, but precious in the eyes of Jesus, she had finally found the One who would satisfy and save her.
If you found out the secret to fill the emptiness you've had for years was somewhere in town at a party... I bet you'd barge in and fall on your knees, gasping for air in between sobs of joyful weeping... at the feet of the answer you'd been so desperately searching for.
I knew all the wrong answers... I found out the hard way by trying to fill the God sized spot in my heart with all the wrong things. It caused much self-inflicted pain, suffering, grief, and heartache. But in my brokenness is when I saw the love of Jesus, and I knew I had found the one I'd been searching for.
So from Mary's example, we see the steps to an intimate relationship with Jesus.
Come to Him unashamed, keep nothing from Him...
Run to Him and find Him, no matter what. Even if it means crashing a party...
Come to Him with all you have, everything that you are, hold nothing back. Be broken before Him...
Just like the alabaster box.
Give Him the best of yourself, lay absolutely everything out at the feet of Jesus,
Pour into your relationship with Him, giving it your all. Going all in no matter what it costs.
And what does Jesus do after this woman's seemingly odd favor?
He forgives her of her sins... Everything... All of it. Lifted off of her shoulders.
He saved her.
He saved me.
He can surely save you if He hasn't already.
Lord God, my Savior, My All in All,
I come to you, sinful and unworthy. I know I don't deserve, yet I still receive. I am the least, I give all I have to you. My best; I hold nothing back. Thank you for saving me. I desire an intimate relationship with You and I am unashamed.