October 14, 2012

An Unnamed but Memorable Woman

Luke 7:36-47

“Do you see this woman?”
—Luke 7:44


In the Jewish culture of the first century, women generally had few rights and were expected not to be seen or heard. Even in the gospel accounts, few women are named.

The anonymous woman in today’s story crashes Simon’s party and makes a scene as she lets down her hair in public. This would have been seen as seductive. Her perfume permeates the air. Her weeping breaks the awkward silence. Jesus knows what Simon is thinking, so he tells a brief parable about debts and forgiveness. Then he asks Simon a seemingly obvious question: “Do you see this woman?”

Simon really doesn’t see her. He observes the woman’s actions but fails to discern what is happening in the spiritual realm. Jesus understands that this woman is pouring out her deepest feelings of thanksgiving and love toward God. It’s a sacred moment of unconditional surrender and devotion to God.

This question reverberates into our time as well: “Do we see this woman?” We often choose to stay neutral, impartial, and detached when it comes to expressing emotion for God. But such a radical outpouring of affection to Jesus is healthy and pleasing to God.

The truly forgiven Christian pours out his or her love for Jesus. We need the eyes of Jesus to see and honor the beauty of such “great love” when a forgiven sinner shows it.

Lord, free us to see the love of others for you and to show our love too, in welcoming them for your sake. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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