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The Alabaster Box

“A sinful woman anoints Jesus’ feet” Luke 7:36-50

Luke had quite a knack for ticking the Pharisees off whenever he compared them with sinners – the sinners always came out ahead. Here we have Simon a well-known and respected religious leader who had invited Jesus to his home for dinner. It is obvious that his intentions were not genuine, as he did not offer Jesus the common courtesies that were readily available to his other guests. It was not by accident that he neglected to: 1. wash Jesus’ feet (because people wore sandals, their feet got very dirty); 2. anoint his head with oil; 3. offer him the kiss of greeting (this was a normal way of greeting one another).

So what were Simon’s true motives for inviting Jesus to his home and disgracefully disrespecting Him so? Maybe he felt that he was too good for Jesus. Was he trying to put him down in front of his elitist friends and make himself look good to them? Was he lording it over Jesus that he, Simon, was a “Godly” person who never mingled with “sinners?” Hmmm. Whatever the case, the contrast could not be more clear.

We still see this kind of hypocrisy in our churches today. I have witnessed much too much damage by those who believe they were so good all of their lives that they had little to ask forgiveness for, and therefore consider themselves better than others. Although they may have realized that “being good” will not get them to Heaven, and asked Jesus to be their Savior, they do not show evidence of having asked Him to be their Lord. They put on a good show, just as the religious leaders of Jesus’ time did, by involving themselves in different ministries just so they can say, “Look at me and how important and Godly I am.” But in God’s good time, their true hearts and motives are revealed.

I have noticed a much more forgiving and Christ-like spirit in those whom God has brought out of the battle-torn trenches of a sin-ridden-life. They are those who are appreciative of having been forgiven at all.

“He who is forgiven of much, LOVES much. He who is forgiven little, loves little.”

Enter: “a certain woman in the city, which was a sinner” (she was probably a prostitute) “when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,” (fragrant oil) “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.” (It was customary for them to recline while they ate. They laid on couches with their heads near the table, propping themselves up on one elbow and stretching their feet out behind them. This woman could easily anoint Jesus’ feet without intruding near the table.)

Notice first that she sought Jesus. I believe that God set a divine appointment for her with Him that day to receive salvation. The Spirit convicted her of her sin and drove her to the feet of Jesus for redemption at all costs.

It was a very brave act that she, a sinner and a woman, entered a Pharisee’s house uninvited. To be so bold says that she must have felt an extraordinary sense of gratitude that God would forgive such a one as she, along with overwhelming feelings of unworthiness. There was obviously deep remorse for her sin, as she wept tears of thankfulness bathing Jesus’ feet and drying them with her hair. I imagine that she laid every sin that she had ever committed at Jesus feet as she cried from within for forgiveness, understanding that she did not deserve it, but grateful to receive it.

“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.” I get a mental vision of Simon’s face contorting as he recoiled at the sight of the woman touching Jesus. Not long ago, it shocked me to have heard similar words from one who claims to be a child of God: “I have to wonder if she is really saved. She always seems to be attracted to the kind of people like that woman who has divorced so many times. Can’t she find more Godly friends?”

And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have something what to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.” (Jesus heard Simon’s thoughts and interrupted them.)

“There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?”

“Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 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. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 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. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.” (Jesus honored the woman.)

When we fail to be honest with ourselves and overlook our own sins, we  lose our appreciation for what Christ has done in working forgiveness in our lives. Our pride hardens our hearts, and we begin to experience a lack of Christian love for others as we hold ourselves in too high esteem. Over time, our ears and our hearts grow deaf to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and we are in need of His reminding that “Pride cometh before a fall.”

Luke 7:36-50 “36. 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.”

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Jesus' Encounters with Women

 

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Creation of the First Woman

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The first time the word woman appears in the Bible is when God created Eve from Adam’s rib or side. The Hebrew word for this usage of woman is nashiym (naw-sheem), “because she was taken out of man” (Genesis 2:23). The stress is on identification of womanhood.

God’s word tells us that he created the earth and the heavens and everything in them in seven days. It was on the 6th day that he created mankind. Genesis 1:26, 27 – “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

We see that God made both man and woman in his image. One was not any more the image of God than the other. Neither sex was of more or lesser value to God. He fashioned and prepared us for various tasks, but his purpose was for us to live with the same intent: to honor God. Though one of us is not superior to the other, each of our genders has its own exclusive privileges.

In Genesis 2:18 God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone; he was incomplete. “I will make him an help meet for him.” So God formed all of the beasts of the field and the birds in the air and gave them to Adam to see what names he would give them. But there was no help meet found for him among all of those.

God put Adam into a deep sleep and took one of his ribs and made a woman and brought her to him. The Hebrew word for rib used here is the feminine tsalah (tsal-aw). Literally it means a rib, as curved, of the body; or figuratively, a side or chamber of a person. Wow! It makes me think of woman actually being taken out of a chamber in man’s side. That helps me to understand why it is a God-given instinct for a man to take his woman under his wing to care for and protect her. It also explains why we women have a deep desire for our knight in shining armor to ride in, whisk us off our feet and devote his life to us. I believe that deep down inside, every woman wants her husband to step up and be the Godly leader that God created him to be. I know that I find that very comforting.

God could have made Eve from dust as he did Adam, but he chose to create her from the man’s flesh and bone. This symbolizes how a man’s and a woman’s hearts and lives are mysteriously joined together in marriage. We can see throughout God’s word that he takes this union very seriously.

A good question to ask ourselves before marrying is : “Are we willing to keep the commitment which makes the two of us one? The ultimate goal in marriage is more than friendship; it is oneness.

Side Note: God did not create man out of man nor woman out of woman that they would be godly joined in union as one. His word clearly states that he made woman from the side of man. The natural union of man and woman in marriage is a sacred blessing from God.

Homosexuality: to “change” or “leave the natural use of” sex

For those who live a homosexual lifestyle and try to justify it by pointing to God’s love and grace, I say, examine yourselves as to whether you are truly a born-again child of God, or ask yourselves if you are being led astray by Satan’s deceivers. Some are choosing to be deceived by so-called preachers (some who are homosexuals themselves) who teach that they cannot help being the way they are. Many believe and teach that their desires are normal and that they have a right to express them. God does not encourage us to fulfill all of our desires, as they are not all good desires. We must restrain those desires that violate his laws. Satan’s liars do not set the standard for God’s Law, and they will answer to God for it.

Yes, God does love the sinner, but he does hate the sin. He is willing to receive anyone who comes to him in faith, and as Christians, we should always love and accept others, but not their sin. We are not to stand in judgment, but to use good judgment when it comes to tolerating what God looks upon as sin.

Homosexuality is a sin in God’s eyes. Leviticus 18:22 “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.” The Hebrew word here for abomination as referenced to God (because this act is an abomination in God’s eyes) is toebah (to-ay-baw) – and it describes people, things, acts, relationships, and characteristics that are detestable to Him because they are contrary to His nature.

Can a saved person live the life of a homosexual? I have pondered that question much because I know and love some who live that lifestyle and say that they are saved. Only God knows that for sure. Saved people are sinners and we will be until we be with our Lord. We are to live day by day in God’s grace, repenting for sins that our natural flesh is tempted to. Repenting means turning away from.

I would venture to say that if they are saved, they are ignoring the roots of whatever issues they have in their pasts that may have led them to this lifestyle. I would also submit, that if they were totally honest with themselves, they would admit that they do not have God’s peace that passes understanding in their spirits.

To those who have homosexual desires: You can and must resist acting upon them. As with temptation to any sin, you must consciously stay away from places and behaviors that you know will spark these temptations. Do not underestimate Satan’s power and goal to lead you astray. Also, I beg you to consider the risk you take for serious harm if you keep giving in to these temptations.

If you are saved and living a homosexual lifestyle: Do not forget that God will forgive sexual sins the same as he forgives other sins. The key is to completely surrender yourselves to the grace and mercy of God, and ask him to show you the way out of sin and into the light of his liberty and love. Immerse yourselves in prayer, Bible study, and the loving support of Christians in a Bible-believing church that does not water down God’s word to make you feel better about your sin. Those actions will help you to gain the strength that you need to resist those powerful temptations. You may even need to seek the help of a trustworthy and professional true, Christian counselor. Christian meaning living a Christ-filled, Christ-like lifestyle.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in God's Love

 

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