Day 22 – Luke 7:37-38

“In that town was a woman who lived a sinful life. She heard that Jesus was eating in the Pharisee’s house, so she brought an alabaster jar full of perfume and stood behind Jesus, by his feet, crying and wetting his feet with her tears. Then she dried his feet with her hair, kissed them, and poured the perfume on them.” Luke 7:37-38 GNT

Imagine the journey of this woman. Although, she had probably seen and heard of His teachings, miracles, and care for the broken, most likely she had only gotten to admire Jesus from a distance. She very likely was impacted at some point by His unwavering love for those judged by society, the downtrodden, and less fortunate. For she was one of those “unreachable” people He seemed to seek out. “A sinful woman, rejected by her society and the religious.”

Until her personal encounter with Jesus, the only God she knew was the one she seen in the faces of the Pharisees, looking down on her, not to lift her up, but to judge and shame her. However, this encounter with Jesus was different. His gaze did not condemn her, even though, those eyes of His told her that He knew everything about her. How could He know everything and still look at her with such love and compassion, she must have wondered. This was the day she met mercy and mercy won her over. She would never be the same because mercy triumphed over judgement in her life. She knew her past was gone and her life would be forever changed.

This encounter made her believe that no cost was too great to offer to the One who had extended such love and compassion to her. It gave her the ability to look at the cost of running into that house and breaking that jar of ointment for Jesus, and counting it worthy of the cost. She could be rejected, beaten, scorned, as she was, even killed for such an act. Yet, the mercy she had encountered made her know she could do no less. Her broken jar of oil poured on Jesus was her act of gratitude. It was her offering of worship, but also her response to mercy’s kiss.

She silently washed his feet with her perfume, and tears. Her gratitude was manifesting through the salt of her tears and the act of such personal sacrifice. For she knew she was loved. She knew she was at home for the first time in her life. The voices of shame held no power over her for mercy had her captivated with gratitude. No one forced her to be grateful this day. Gratitude was the result of the mercy she had experienced. She knew who she was without Him, but she was beginning to see who she really was because of Him. Forgiven and free.

We can read of her story and think, oh how wonderful. But there are only two responses here. The Pharisee who judges and rejects mercy. Or the woman who received mercy and watches it triumph over judgement. The life that remembers mercy is grateful. The life that forgets is ungrateful and becomes judgmental. I remember who I was before Jesus, when I did not know His gaze that would change my life forever. I have been kissed by mercy. I am not the same. Yet, I know there have been times when I have lost sight of how much I really have been rescued from. In those moments, ingratitude begins to surface, and the Pharisee in me finds its place.
I know I am not unlike most. Mercy must be kept in front of us if we are to keep the heart in a place of gratitude. The amazing thing is, that once mercy is understood, gratitude overflows, then mercy begins to also be the type of road we choose when dealing with others. Let’s be people of mercy, for we have been recipients of a mercy we truly did not deserve. This without a doubt is a reason to be grateful.

Today I am grateful for mercy. I can tell you by experience, mercy does really triumph over judgement. The life that has known mercy and remembered it, will be a grateful life.


  1. Reply
    Patricia De'Bell says:

    May mercy ever be before me – God’s Mercy that was and is poured out on me – and may I be merciful to others in His Name – and to myself, accepting His Mercy because ultimately I cannot redeem myself, nor can I free myself of the things that bind me. His Mercy is passionate, not coldly clinical. His Mercy is spontaneous, coming out of His Great Love for us – for me – and I pray for that Great Love of His, which is in me by His Mercy, to well-up and overflow in passionate love and mercy towards others and in passionate love and thankfulness towards Him. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

  2. Reply
    Pat McRae says:

    I have been asking myself: “Why would the town harlot do this act of love? Would I do so? What did she hear about this Man called Jesus that moved her to act so? Was she able to see Him work a miracle for a friend from a distance? Who would of told her Jesus was there? When she acted in this way did she count the cost, or was it a random act done on impulse? Where did she find the courage to enter a Pharisee’s house? So many questions that the text does not answer!

    Can you imagine being known as the town’s harlot? Referred to as “sinner!” I was angry when people would say to me, ” Oh you are Wayne Gibson’s sister!” And then “Oh you are Jack Harris’ wife.” I got so I answered them, “No, I am Pat!” and not in an attitude that would say “Jesus loves you” either. So I guess it is true, things could of been worse!

    I have a heart so thankful for all God has done in my life and the work He is beginning in all those I love. He is my lover, my best friend, my protector, my provider and so much more, but could I do this? Would my love weep enough to wash His feet, would I use my skirt or shirt to dry His feet? (Short hair surely would not work) yes it is possible, for in His presence my eyes leak quite easily.

    But what about the cost of the perfume? I have heard it would of equaled one years wages! Could I? Would I? Again I think it could be a possibility! Why? Because I am learning to surrender all! Not just me, but everything that God blesses me with also. I have not arrived at the end of this lesson yet, but I have travelled down its road a ways now. So if asked and my head stayed out of the equation ‘YES!’ I would pour out for Him.
    But for me the question is would I have the courage! Would fear of consequences stop me from entering that house? Would the thought of my act being rejected be enough for me to turn from my desire to bless? All of the ‘what ifs’ would scream their messages, would I be strong enough to step forward or just wish I had for the rest of my life?
    And the biggest question being asked is, “if I ask, would you wash, dry and anoint one of my servants feet?” Could I? Would I? WOW! How does one answer the King when He asks such a question? I guess if I knew it was God asking and the circumstances said it is good I could do it. But I still have a small part that says ‘are you sure?’ and I have to say ‘NO!’
    I am thankful for this woman’s example. I wonder what they called after this day? It surely could not be ‘sinner’ because Jesus took care of that concern!

    I am thankful for all the questions God asked me today, and that without fear I could answer Him honestly. No condemnation, no rejection just pure love poured out on me. Only time and opportunity will answer some of these questions. Knowing God both will likely come my way to test the soul, does it follow the Spirit fully yet? I am thankful Luke saw the importance of this woman’s act and recorded it for us to ponder today. I am thankful that God sees the heart! What looks good to man (eating a meal at the Pharisee’s house house) may stink to God and what looks silly and worthless to man (waste of expensive perfume) God sees as an act of pure love from a heart that longs to be right with Him.
    Hope you feel His love for you today!
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  3. Reply
    Susan Craig says:

    This woman reminds me of the publican who could not stand up before God when he prayed-humble because he knew he was a sinner-he did not need the Pharisee to point it out to him. His prayer”Lord be merciful to me,a sinner”,was honest and heartfelt just like this woman. She was also well aware of who she was-she knew she did not deserve mercy. By her actions she was mourning the fact that she was not worthy but so grateful that Jesus showed mercy to her instead of the judgement the Pharisees were so quick to condemn her for. Who loves and appreciates Jesus more-those who deem themselves righteous in their own eyes or those who know without a shadow of a doubt that they are sinners? Those who don’t feel they need Jesus because they have it all together are just as lost as the publican and this woman and the sad truth of it is they do not even recognize their sinfulness. This woman represents all those who recognize that they are sinners and know how helpless they are to save themselves – her tears are flowing from her heart of gratitude that Jesus loves her when she knows she does not deserve it. The pharisees have an attitude of entitlement (they deserve to be saved because they are righteous). Before any person can be saved, they need to recognize their inability to save themselves and throw themselves at the feet of Jesus to plead for mercy. When they do so,their hearts are full of gratitude and the tears flow freely-tears that wash their souls clean. This act in this place and at this time was very significant and a point that Jesus wanted recorded for future generations could read about it and be blessed as much as this woman was blessed. The question that we need to ask ourselves is this-do we deserve salvation or do we deserve judgment? If we are honest, we know we deserve judgment but because we receive mercy our gratitude should be as overflowing as this woman’s tears. Have we ever come to a point in our lives where we throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus and plead for mercy? If not, then why not? Do we feel entitled to receive salvation because we are good people??? Because we go to church regularly and pay our tithes and live an upright, moral life?? This is not the attitude that receives blessing from God-it is the heart’s recognition of unworthiness that pours forth in gratitude to our Savior that receives blessing. Lord I recognize that I am a sinner and have never deserved your grace-but you loved me, a sinner, with a love that I could never fully understand but that I appreciate more and more each day. Thank you Lord that You are merciful to sinners who humble themselves before you and who recognize their need for you. Lord, we know we could not save ourselves-we need you Lord. My heart could never express fully the gratitude that You so richly deserve. I am not worthy Lord but You are worthy. Thank you Lord for saving my soul!!! Thank you Lord for making me whole!!! Thank you Lord for giving to me Thy great salvation so rich and free!!!! Free to me but at great cost to You!!!

  4. Reply
    Jim Holmes says:

    Sometimes I think it can be difficult for a man to comment on, or contemplate the intimate heart of a woman. I can’t quite imagine a man doing what this woman did. Now, I am making this assessment from the view point of the natural man. And yet, some of my personal spiritual experiences with God have touched previous unknown emotions, unknown areas of my life, and simply words themselves have their limit to describe or understand intimate times with Him. I think that women uniquely express the heart of God (that is, for the woman in the passage above, Jesus said that she was doing this for his burial). This woman had a special call on her life, and it was recorded in scripture. God has chosen many women for ministry, as oracles, leaders, pastors, evangelists, as to whatever God has a calling on their lives. When it comes to restoration in Christ, we have entered into the very Family of God, and from the aspect of being crucified with Christ, and risen with Him, as His new creation, we each have our calling in Christ, ministering to one another, serving God as one body in Christ Jesus.
    Now, I am saying all this, because what we have from God is made known to us by His Spirit. It is this same Spirit by whom we have come to know the heart of God, to know Him, and it is by this same Spirit that the love of God is made known to us and shed abroad in our hearts. So, it is that amazing bond of love that surpasses our understanding, that fills your heart and mine, a new heart that enables us to be spiritually likeminded, walking in unity, fulfilling God’s purposes through us. We walk with His righteousness, His compassion, His peace, His love, His joy, His suffering, His cry, His mercy, His grace,…we walk with His heartbeat… I therefore, can identify with the longing of the woman who lived a sinful life. The work of God…her coming to Christ….the Spirit of God drawing her into relationship with Jesus, is the same mighty work of God , by the same Spirit of God, that brings us into salvation….a saving relationship with Jesus. I can remember a desperate hunger to know God. I remember the tears. I remember resting in Him. I remember how he filled me with His love. I remember how I loved Him. Jeus paid a debt I owed, when I owed a debt I could not pay. Now, I belong to Jesus.
    Thank you Jesus, for never leaving me. Thank you that You will be found by those who earnestly and truly seek You. God bless you.

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