… But aren’t we all?
This poor woman from the city. Luke tells the story of Jesus at dinner with Simon the Pharisee only in order to tell us the story of the woman with the alabaster jar. She is said to be a woman of the city, a sinner, but she’s been given all sorts of extra baggage over the years. There is nothing to indicate that she was a prostitute. Nothing to suggest it was Mary Magdalene. Nothing that tells us that she was any different than you or me.
Luke tells us that she was a sinner by using the standard Greek word, hamartolos. He uses the word 18 times in his Gospel, beginning with Peter’s confession, “I am a sinful man,” in Luke 5.8. It is used to describe the various crowds with which Jesus hung out, healed, and even dined. It is the word that the Tax Collector uses as he prays as foil to the Tax Collector in Luke 18. She was a sinner like any other, and yet she is remembered not for her sin, but for her thankfulness.
The woman did what she did, anointing Jesus with Alabaster and tear, in thanksgiving for something he had already done for her, or, as Luke seems to indicate, in thanksgiving for what she knew he was going to do for her. She was forgiven her sins, set free from slavery, and restored to wholeness by Jesus, and as such, she was thankful beyond words. She was moved to tears, and she was just like me.
Would that I were moved to tears in thankfulness for what God has done for me in Jesus. Would that all of us found our way to feel the deep relief that this woman felt. Would that each disciple of Jesus, all of whom are sinners to begin with, might realize the fullness of forgiveness in our lives.