A story is told in Luke 7:36 about a woman that comes to Jesus, kneels down behind Him, and begins to wash His feet. She then rinses them with her tears, and dries them with her hair. Throughout this entire encounter, she doesn’t say a word. She just…does it. To me, this story is one of the most important stories in the Bible. I think that woman is a picture that will eternally represent what Christians should be. I believe that her story is included as an example of true worship, sacrifice, and relationship with God. I think that if we acted more like this woman in (and actually, out of) church, we’d be closer to the God of the church. So, today, she’s our topic, and our trendsetter. Let's go....
One of the most important aspects in this story (to me) is the fact that this woman had ‘tunnel vision’. She didn’t wait on anybody. She didn’t ask for permission. She had a goal from the moment she left her previous location: to get to Jesus. She didn’t walk in and wait on proper protocol, because she had to get to Jesus. The text doesn’t say that she looked around to see if anybody had on the same outfit, or if anybody saw her walk in, because she had to get to Jesus. She didn’t magically or accidentally end up behind Him at His feet; she came prepared. She walked in with a plan to get to Him, and she didn’t care about anybody else.
This woman (who's name is never mentioned) enters an area full of people that aren’t too accepting of her. She didn’t look like….church. She doesn’t fit in. They saw what she did, and determined that her past was a reflection of her identity. So, nobody’s really clear as to why she’s there. Unless she was deaf, I’m sure she heard the people questioning her motives (and her sanity) as they considered her history, without considering the possibilities for her destiny. The very church members, or “saints”, etc. that filled the Pharisee’s house (where Jesus was) probably asked, "What is she doing here?! She's got some nerve stepping in here after what I heard she did last night! Where is she...what's this in her hand! Wonder what shameless sin she committed to buy that. Girl look, she's going to Jesus. Somebody get Peter! This won't end well...” and despite the chatter, she pressed her way to Jesus. Unless she was blind, I'm sure she saw the way that they stared at her. She saw the judgment on their faces. She was probably very aware of their opinions. But to this woman, they didn't matter. The only relevant opinion was that of Jesus, and He could identify with her position, because He was judged when He went to Nazareth. Don't you remember? He’d gone back home, and faced people who saw Him as the son of Joseph, not the son of God. So, Jesus knew what it was like to be judged by your history. Therefore, she already had a common connection with the King of Kings. The people didn’t matter. The whispers didn’t matter. The opinions didn’t matter. She just needed to get to Jesus.
Once she finally gets in His presence, she kneels down, and does something that separated her from everybody else in the room: she put all that she had into her worship. She may not have had as much money as the others did. She may not have been as eloquent as some of the other guests. She didn’t have it all together, but she did have an alabaster box, and an open heart that Christ could work with. Despite her shortcomings, she was recognized by Jesus because she used what she had to send her own message. She didn’t have to speak, because her actions did. Her tears spoke more eloquently than her words ever could. Her sacrifice is what spoke to Jesus. He saw her heart when others saw her history.
What would happen if we acted like this woman? What if we focused less on what clothing brand somebody is wearing, and dared to completely focus our hearts on God when we came to church? What if we were no longer satisfied with being in the same room as Jesus, but needed to be in His presence? Everybody present was in the room with Jesus, but I believe that she was the only one in His presence. In this moment, she was the only one that stepped beyond the surface, and gave her spirit. She was a reflection of Christ's heart and what it means to reach Him with what He's already given us. What if we wanted His heart like she did? What if we repented with her level of sincerity? What would happen if we had the outright audacity to reverence God for who He is, and refused to become familiar with Him like those that surrounded Jesus in this story? I know what would happen: we’d get an outpour of His presence. We’d have the worship that we sing about, but don't always experience. We’d get the joy we needed. We’d get the hope and stability that we needed. We already know that the healing is in His hem, we just need to be willing to do what it takes to get there.
People have a habit of trying to predict your destiny by looking at your history. They may look at you like you’re weird. They may not understand why you do what you do, or why you love God the way that you do. The beautiful thing is that…they don’t matter. They weren’t there when you came out of that storm, and even if they were, they probably didn’t completely understand what it was like to go through what you went through. They could’ve been around you every day, and not realized that you were at a breaking point before you got that breakthrough. They don’t know your story, so they can’t dictate your worship. God isn’t asking us to give Him something that we don’t already have. He’s not asking us to lie. He’s not asking us to make something up. He just wants something real. He wants your heart. So, the next time you go to church, or have your private time with God, don’t treat it like it’s something familiar. Don't walk into it expecting to do what you've always done for the sake of routine. Walk into that space looking for Jesus, and don’t let go until you get to His feet. Do that, and see how drastically your entire experience changes. I know it works…because I’ve done it myself. The more you press, the more He shows up. So in this time, as we prepare for Easter, let’s take the time to refocus, and make it our ultimate goal…to simply get to Jesus.
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