Part 4: Daughters of Dignity
Day 4: The Defenseless Defended
“Then he [Jesus] turned to the woman and said to Simon [the dinner host], “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.” Luke 7:44-46
Have you ever been in a vulnerable position where you could have been run over?
Have you been in a humbled state when you could have been trampled on?
A religious leader of the day invited Jesus over to dine. The date was set and the party planning commenced upon his acceptance. The night arrived. The table was set for a feast and the banquet recliners were out. Guests started to gather and it was custom to open the door for others to come and hear the visiting Rabbi’s conversation.
In walked an uninvited woman with a sketchy occupation, likely prostitution. Did she put others there on edge? Was there an awkward silence? Was she warmly welcomed?
Whatever her experience, she felt most comfortable to stand right behind Jesus. As he was reclined at the table and conversation carried on, she began to weep. Her tears washed over his feet. She proceeded to lower herself down to her hands and knees. Bent her face to the ground. With her hair grazing the dusty floor, she dried his feet with her locks.
After his feet were washed and dried by her tears and her hair, she pulled out a jar of rare perfume.
The kind that probably cost a month’s worth of Starbucks. Yet with it, she began to pour it out over his feet. It would have been custom to anoint a prophet’s head with oil, but maybe she didn’t feel worthy enough to touch his head. Instead, she washed and anointed his muddy feet with her tender tears and expensive perfume. Not in a private corner, but for all to see. A humbled woman in a vulnerable state.
Knowing the hosts judgmental thoughts of this act, Jesus came to her defense and called him out. “Then he [Jesus] turned to the woman and said to Simon [the dinner host], ‘Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.’ Then Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your sins are forgiven…your faith has saved you; go in peace’” (Lk. 7:44-50).
Jesus proclaimed her many sins were forgiven and restored her dignity. He fought for her in her most vulnerable state, a sinful woman amongst a seemingly righteous crowd. Her faith led to her forgiveness and her display of affection led to her defense. This might have been the only time anyone ever stood up for this woman. It might have been the only time someone came to her defense.
Has anyone ever fought for you? Has anyone ever defended your dignity? Jesus defends our dignity.
He protects our hearts. When we come to him with our woes, he fights for our worth. Our culture tries to taint it. Satan tries to steal it. But Jesus defends it. Before one and before all.
Father, we come to you with repentant hearts, our tears glisten your feet and you lift our chin to your face. You defend the defenseless. We could be accused. We could be guilty. But yet you show us grace. You forgive us and restore our dignity. Thank you, Your Daughters.