Luke 7:36-50 is such a beautiful picture of worship. The prostitute saw who Jesus was and was moved to action. She made a choice to give Him something incredibly precious and valuable to her, her perfume, her livelihood. The most important thing to a prostitute was their perfume, which this lady held in this alabaster jar. Her devotion was sacrificial, intentional and it was courageous. What is your alabaster jar?
When Jesus entered Simon’s house, he did not give him a basin to wash His feet and did not greet Him with a kiss. This would be like bringing a special guest into your home and not opening the door for them, taking their coat and saying hello. What Simon did was very offensive. I wonder if he was slightly jealous of Jesus and that is why he went out of his way to try to show Jesus was nothing special. Perhaps this is why the prostitute is crying. Wondering, “Don’t they know who He is? Why are they treating Him this way?”
I love how Jesus doesn’t just sweep things under the carpet, but addresses attitudes and actions. He brings this offense to Simon’s attention as well as bring truth to the lies he was believing. A humble man at this point would apologize for his lack of respect and thank the woman for compensating for his rudeness. But Simon is not able to recognize his faults, but is only able to point the finger at the woman.
Still talking to Simon, Jesus turns to the woman. How beautiful! He is looking right into her eyes and starts bragging on her in front of the entire room of people. Who in these men’s worlds would be the most undeserving of honor? A prostitute woman, but Jesus seizes the opportunity to brag on her because of her faith.
This story is incredibly shocking to the men in that room because not only does Jesus praise and honor a despised women, but goes on to make her the noble hero. And His honoring of her brings with it the benefit of restoring her to community.
This was a common habit of Jesus. He bragged on John the Baptist, the paralytic’s friends, Mary, the woman with a demon possessed daughter, the centurion man Turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” (Luke 7:9) and why? Why would God of the universe, who is able to see our hearts, stop what He is doing and honor flawed people? One reason is because He values life and wants to give dignity."
Excerpt from my bible study Beholding Him, Becoming Missional.