We have all experienced the unspoken judgment of others. A critical gaze, silent disapproval, a glaring objection. As I revisited the story of Luke chapter 7 my heart stirred with an experience not far removed, from the description of this Pharisee of old. Sharing the penchant of devotion as this woman who loved much, I can only imagine what this encounter was truly like for her, or maybe what it would have been like for me and the treasured lesson for all of us to learn.
As the box crackled and broke open, her heart simultaneously erupted. There was no holding back the flood of tears. Her torso caved as she fell completely to her knees and poured forth the ointment. It was Him. She alone knew who He was and for these few moments, He belonged to her. As the others in the room became invisible, she began her sacred ceremony. Barely whispering she sang the refrain of yesterday’s song in the quietness of her heart, ” I am my beloved’s and He is mine”. With trembling hands she gently warmed the oil as she poured it upon the feet of Gods perfect one. Blinded to those around her she could only behold the form and flesh of the one person that mattered most. The only one who had ever truly seen her. Who had discovered beauty hidden beneath her shame. He knew the flawed, most intimate thoughts of her heart, yet still in-comprehensively, in-exhaustively loved her.
In his eyes she found an infinite pool of love and mercy that bathed her with forgiveness and somehow made her new. Perfect. Clean and finally, again beautiful. A flood of emotion rippled through her body as she poured forth her soul in adoration. The oil flowed as her heart gushed and she humbly anointed the Holy One of God. For the first time in so many, many years she was free. Flushed with the feverish passion of her devotion, she was laid low by the longing of her thirsty soul as her tears fell upon his feet. Gently she dried them with her hair and whispered words of adoration only He could hear. But her display of purity was met with disdain. Her act of devotion, utterly despised. “How could this man be a prophet?” the religious host silently scoffed. “Didn’t he know what sort of woman she was? ” The very act that he despised, was the same act Jesus cherished. Her frail, fervent outpouring of love.
“Do you see this woman?” Jesus asked his host. (ref. Luke 7: 36-50)
Not long after the Son of God would find himself more harshly judged and misunderstood than she and now it would be fitting to the Father that He that would pour out His soul. Instead of oil, he poured blood. Instead of the soft caress of hair, His flesh shredded with angry iron clad whips, until it hung as ribbons. As his body pierced and tore from the jagged edge of raw metal and his skin stretched beyond its limit, he anguished. Vinegar met his thirst, the spittle of men met his forgiveness. As His heart ruptured in brokenness He prayed for His murderers; Father forgive them.
Crushed as grapes in the wine press His soul continued to pour forth. The mockery of His King’s crown pricked his brow. Filled with passion and the fervor of his unwavering commitment, He completely surrendered to the fulfillment of His purpose, the pledge of love that would cost him everything. He suffered unbearably until the appointed time when He finally spoke the words, ” It is finished”. The betrothal to his Bride would require absolutely everything He could give, and somehow it seems, even more. For Him, there was no other way. For He remembered her well and longed for her return. The intimate fellowship and communion of her love. And now finally, it was done.
The reproach of our love for Him is a small treasure we lay at his feet, a gift we bring to his altar. At times despised and misunderstood, we meet Him in the place of betrothal He paid so dearly for. It is there I so gratefully join Him in shame and embrace Him in reproach, in the secret place of worship. As the woman in this Biblical account I am are aware of how much I have been forgiven of. The Pharisee viewed himself as not needing such a gift, yet I cherish nothing more. As the healing of my heart and body testify of His love for me, it is His presence I cherish most. When inclined to judge a display of worship, to criticize an act of love, or even despise an outpouring of affection toward the King, maybe we should ask the question Jesus asked, “Do we see this man?”