Reading my devotional last week, “One Thousand Gifts Devotional” by Ann Voskamp, I ran headlong into the story of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair in the home of the Pharisee, Luke 7:
39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”
40 And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” 44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”
As I read the devotion (Day 39 if you are interested, and I hope you are) I wept. I wept like I never have over the picture of this woman in the house of a Pharisee. I moved on several days in my reading, but I couldn’t shake the one about the woman with the tears and the hair. It is such an intimate and passionate expression of love. So this weekend when I had a little time I went back to it and asked the Father for revelation.
Reading it over and over, and crying over and over, I realized that in all the times I’ve read this in my life I have always identified with the Pharisee in the story. The one who invited Jesus into his home, but not his heart. The one who wanted to eat with the Savior, but not commune with Him. The one who wanted to dialogue with Him, not be changed by Him. The one who didn’t even know he needed a Savior because he had done it all right. The one in the story who is being corrected and told what he has done wrong.
As I wept, for the first time I was identifying with the one who had been forgiven much and knew it. Knew she was not just forgiven for sins she committed (behaviors), but for being a sinner (identity). The woman who knew not only what she had done, but who she was and without the Savior, she wasn’t going to make it. We are all sinners by BIRTH not because of what we do. It’s in our very DNA – the strands of Adam woven into every cell of our body. Sinners will sin, there’s no surprise. But receiving the whole gospel sets us free and cleanses us not just from what we have done, but changes who we are. It gives us the freedom to live from a new identity, one with Christ.
I prayed the prayer of salvation when I was about eight years old, but I missed the part where my identity changed. I was just another little girl trying to be good for Jesus. Thirty-six years later my tears are gratitude not only for forgiveness of what I have done, but for who I now am because of Him.