We continue in this article in our study of the gospel of Luke by looking at Luke 7:36-50.

I wonder what you would do today if every person in your church knew the sin or sins that you hope no one ever knows that you have committed? Well my friends, this woman's worst sins were known to her whole town, and yet she came to the house of the man with the most impeccable religious reputation in his community, in the company of his most valued and trusted friends, a company from which undoubtedly she was an outcast and she was looked upon with condescending contempt. And you've got to ask yourself a question, "What is that woman doing there?" or you will not understand this story. You need to understand that in the culture of the Middle East, all a woman has is her reputation. That's all she has. If she has that reputation, no matter what else she doesn't have, she's got a chance of making it. But if she doesn't have that reputation, she doesn't have a chance at all. In fact, she's got a good chance of not living very long.

This Pharisee was throwing a party. It would not have been uncommon, when a respected religious teacher from out of town was in your home town, to throw a celebration for him. And it wasn't like an intimate dinner party that you would have given at your home. It's more like a block party. And uninvited guests would have come and they would have gathered around the edges of that courtyard and they would have listened in. And this woman came to that meeting.

Now it is clear in this passage that the Pharisee who had invited Jesus in was sizing Him up. He wasn't so sure about Jesus. This is clear because of the courtesies and the etiquette that he did not show towards Jesus.

This woman did not come to that place that night sizing Jesus up. This woman already knew something very, very important about Jesus. Somehow she knows who this Man is and she knows His message and He has already changed her life. This man has given to her something that she has never ever received in her life, and that is forgiveness of her sins. And she is there with what is most likely the most precious possession that she owns. She is there in a company of people who have no respect for her whatsoever, only contempt. But she is there because of one Man, and because of the grace and the forgiveness and yes, the acceptance, that He has shown to her. And it is her intention to show to Him her undying gratitude and love because of the grace and mercy and forgiveness that He has revealed to her.

Luke tells you, "She came up behind Jesus" - in other words, she comes up to the point on the couch or the chair that He is reclining on, and she comes up right on His feet. And then she looses control and she begins to weep. The tears are both tears of contrition over who she was, what she had done, the sin that she had committed against God, but also over the fact that this Man had changed her life by showing her grace and forgiving her through God's mercy. And she begins to weep. She catches herself and she looks down and she realizes that she is crying on Jesus' feet. And she does something astounding. She lets her hair down and she goes down to her knees and she begins to try Jesus' feet with her hair while weeping.

Do you know that some rabbis in Jesus' time told husbands that they had the right to divorce their wives if their wives ever let their hair down in front of another man? This woman does not care what anybody thinks about her! She doesn't care what they know about her; she doesn't care what she once was, because this Man knew her heart and saw her sin and saw her need and He forgave her. And all she wants to do is thank Him and praise Him and express her gratitude and her love.

And then she breaks open this alabaster perfume and she pours it not on His head or on His shoulders, but she wastes it on His feet. It's a picture of humility. This is the post precious possession she had. These sort of perfume bottles, we know from the rabbis and from Josephus, were very, very important to Jewish women.

And all the while, Simon is looking at her with contempt. And what's worse, he is looking at Jesus with contempt. And he's saying to himself, "If this Man were really a prophet, He would know that this is an immoral woman. This woman has no reputation, and if He were really a prophet, He wouldn't even allow her to touch Him." And Jesus hears his heart and says, "Simon, I have something I want to tell you. - if there were two men, one who owed a man two months salary and one who owned a man two hears salary, and the man forgave them both, which of them would love him more?" Now it's kind of obvious what the answer to that question is. And Simon is insulted that he would even be asked such a question.

Do you see the irony? Simon didn't get it. One commentator says, "Simon couldn't see what she had become because all he could see was what she once was." But Jesus saw her heart and Simon's. And don't you love this? He turns to her and He says to Simon, "Her sins are forgiven." And then Jesus says, "You know what the evidence is? Look at her tears. Look at her love for Me. Look at her focus on Me, her joy in Me. This woman's love has been evoked because I've forgiven her."

Now, if our justification is by love, we're all going to hell. But Jesus is saying, "The fact that this woman trusts Me, believes in Me, has put her faith in Me, is evidenced by her love. And Simon, very frankly, your lack of love to Me shows Me that you don't know who I am and you don't know your own heart." And so I want to ask you today my friends, how do you deal with that sin, with those sins, that you don't want anyone else to know about? Do you try to cover them up because you fear that if you came to this place, and maybe you fear rightly, that if you came to this place you would not be accepted? You would be judged. You would be condemned. You would be looked down upon.

My friends, if that's where you are, then this woman has something to teach you because she didn't care what anybody else in that room thought of her. She didn't care if she was weighed in their balances and found wanting, because she had already been weighed in the balances of the only One that matters and she had been found wanting. And then to her utter astonishment, the One who knew sins in her that she did not know about herself said, "My child, I love you. Your sins are forgiven." And that was such a liberating experience that she did not care what anybody else thought of her, because the only One that mattered had said, "You're forgiven. You're My child. I love you."