January 8, 2022

By Heather Brickner and Bryan Hoke

Scripture meditation: Luke 7:36-50

I went but was anxious the whole drive there. I was meeting with a group where an unpopular decision and my title preceded my arrival. That was all they knew about me, and neither was endearing. I prayed for courage and love as I opened the door. While I may have experienced a lack of popularity in those moments, it was nothing compared to what the woman overcame to see Jesus in Luke 7:36-50.

Known in scripture simply as the “sinful woman,” she was unwelcome and uninvited at the home of Simon the Pharisee. Although people speculate on the root of her sin, Luke does not unveil that information, but she was marginalized in her society. Her actions of worship, adoration, and devotion to Jesus were radical and in great contrast to the actions of Simon the Pharisee.

Much in the culture around her should have held her back, and yet she entered that unwelcome space to get close to Jesus. She was undone by her past and didn’t hide it. Amid an extravagant gesture of hospitality and generosity, she received the grace, love, and forgiveness of Jesus. And in that moment, she was both fully known and fully loved.

Simon was concerned about the earthly reputation of the woman and the taboo acts of letting her hair fall and kissing Jesus’ feet. Jesus turns the kingdom of God upside down by acknowledging that true disciples of Jesus recognize their dependence on Jesus and love him unashamedly. No one is excluded from the invitation to say “yes” to following him. Jesus sends the woman away as a forgiven woman, and we cannot fathom the impact this encounter with Jesus had on her life and others who knew her.

As we consider our individual and collective discipleship journeys, how might Jesus be inviting you to embody devotion to him like the woman?

Prayer

Father, create in me a clean heart. I desire to deepen my devotion to you and as a disciple. Help me to not exclude others based upon my earthly understanding of who they are.