She was a sinner…

… 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.

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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.

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3 thoughts on “She was a sinner…

  1. …..fullness of forgiveness….. a constant striving to realize and accept this, but moving forward every day. TBTG​

    On Wed, Jun 8, 2016 at 11:10 AM, Draughting Theology wrote:

    > Steve Pankey posted: “… 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 bee” >

  2. Don’t you think that the sudden appearance of Mary Magdalene in the lection’s closing verses hints that she might have been the unnamed sinful woman, who then became a follower?

    • Robin,
      Thanks for commenting! While I see how one could read the pericope and equate Mary of Magdala with the woman at Simon’s home, I do not. The first part of the passage is so focused on sin and makes no mention of evil spirits, I find it difficult to believe that Luke would then immediately use evil spirits to define Mary if he wanted us to see them as the same person.

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