She was scarred and unsightly but her worst scars ran deeper than the eye could see, they were internal. She lived with deep emotional wounds. Even though, she is nameless and faceless, Luke recorded her narrative in his gospel (Luke 7:36-50). Rejection had been her lot in life and her only claim to fame was her reputation among the town people as a notorious sinner. Although the town people ridiculed her and whispered to one another when she passed by nobody knew or cared to know her real need. They only knew she was a disgraceful woman, one of society’s outcasts…. a nobody. Her past had so identified her that she had no future and nothing she could ever do could change that label. Nevertheless, neither her label, nor her failures nor her brokenness stopped her! Shame’s abominable grip could not keep her away; neither could the knowledge that she would be unwelcome. In fact, nothing could stop her from going to Simeon the Pharisee’s house that evening because she had heard Jesus would be there. It was not hunger than drove her or a desire to among the acclaimed guests. Love was the force that compelled her and love was stronger than shame! She just had to see Him for herself. Her heart yearned to worship the one who had shown love and compassion for people like her.
When she arrived, she did not wait for an invitation. She entered boldly into the room where Jesus sat. She had come with a purpose! In her hand, she was clutching probably the only thing she had of any value, an expensive bottle of perfume. At first, she stood behind Him, in awe. Then her emotions took over and she burst into tears and wept uncontrollably at His feet. So forceful were the tears dripping from her face they bathed His feet and she dried them with her cascading coiffeur. When Simon saw her, he was appalled! The sight both offended him and intruded upon his values. Surely, this astonishing performance was proof positive that Jesus was a fraud! Had Jesus really been a prophet He would have known who she was and what she had done. He would never have allowed this woman be in the same room with Him, let alone allow her to touch Him. However, Jesus knew exactly who she was and what she had done! In fact, He knew better than anyone else did, for he saw past the exterior. He saw the emotional scars. Jesus did not deny her reputation.... He forgave it! Knowing Simeon’s secret thoughts and silent accusations, He pointed out the extreme magnitude of the woman’s sins, which God had lifted from her by His grace, and then He connected the dots. This was why her love for Him flowed so deeply! Personified in this hurting, broken woman was all of humanities brokenness, which He had left His thrown in Glory to heal. He too had come with a purpose. He was Emmanuel, God with us, coming to restore her. He had come to heal and set her free both from her sin and from the shame of her sin!
“Therefore I tell you, her sins, many as they are, are forgiven her, because she has loved much: but he who is forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:47 (AMP)
The guest who witnessed began to question, “Who is this man who forgives sin?” However, to the scandalous woman the questions had been answered in fact, settled in her heart for once and for all.
She did not care who knew what she was, she did not care who was gossiping nor did it matter what anyone thought. It made no difference to her that others considered her an outcast, society’s reject! Her one and only purpose was to worship Jesus! She did not care about her reputation, she did not worry about the gossip, and she wanted only to worship the one who had forgiven her of so much!
Jesus looked her in the eye and said “Your faith has saved you; go (enter) into peace - in freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin.” Luke 7:50 (AMP). Jesus not only forgave her sins, He set her free from all the shame, guilt, and pain her sin had brought. The prison doors had been opened at last; she could look herself in the mirror and hold her head up high! Her sins were gone and so was the shame! Finally, she was free from the prison, which had held her in bondage for so many years! She was as innocent as a baby was; free to live in peace, not allowing even the memory of her sin to torment her.
She was no longer a monument to her failure but she was a trophy of God’s grace!