Bad girls of the Bible
Human nature is used to praising all that is extraordinarily wonderful, which of course is fully worthy of a praise and recognition, but what happens to the rare, but existing unordinary cases? Do they deserve a recognition? Or at least a mention? Well, as we explore the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke, Chapter 7, verses 36-50, we learn that the unordinary cases sometimes deserve a well earned recognitions.
I’m sure all of you know some extraordinary women, be it from the bible, history books or from your own surroundings. Some of us not only know them by their names, but we admire their roles so much that at times we aim to be just like them. Right before my own mother, Mother Mary is my most loved and admired women under and above the skies. Since childhood I remember staring at Her picture hang on the wall of our living room and admiring the beauty, the peace, the sorrow, the love and compassion expressed through Her ocean deep eyes. In my childhood eyes being just like Her was not something close to impossible as my adult eyes now see. As I grew up and learned more about Her and other extraordinary women in this world or from the biblical times, I started questioning and wanting to learn about those women who according to our judgment deserved nothing but embarrassment. What happens to them outside of people whispering, eying with disdain and avoiding their company? What happens to the Bad girls? Well, if we were to base our knowledge according to Santa Clause, we would be told that Bad girls get on the naughty list and get coal for Christmas, but what about on our Lord, Jesus Christ’s list? Do bad girls automatically go to hell? No, if you’ve read Luke 7:36-50 you’ll see how Jesus welcomed the nameless and ageless woman who matter of fact was known to be a very bad girl. If Santa existed (which I believe he does) he would’ve probably rejected her and gave her no gifts for Christmas, society already rejected her and no one want to be next to her, but Jesus welcomed her. He welcomed her touch. He met her gaze. He called her Forgiven! Who does that to a prostitute? Jesus!!!
As we read Luke Chapter 7, verse 36, Doctor Luke paints a picture for us of our Lord Jesus Christ visiting a Pharisees house for dinner. In my visual mind and of the little knowledge I have about 2 millenniums ago, I see our Lord reclined at a low table, propping Himself up on His left elbow and eating with His right hand. His body was stretched out, His feet exposed and aha, a woman, known to be an immoral woman and a wicked sinner, whose sins in the bible are not mentioned in detail because the world’s oldest profession that she carried a senior title in never requires a job description, shows up and stands at our Lord’s feet with a small alabaster vial of perfume, probably the same fragrant perfume she wore to advertise her services. The very first time I read this verse I wondered what is this woman (aka bad girl) going to do with this “jar of fragrant oil”? Did she intent to gift the oil to our Lord? Or did she mean simply to anoint His head, which was a common gesture of respect in the style of the day. But whatever she truly planned to do, we all see that her plans flew out the window the second she saw Him. She was speechless but brave enough to draw closer to our Lord. She stood behind Him at His feet weeping. I am not surprised that this woman who was known to have no shame was crying her heart out, and in a way I can relate to her tears, because I too, often can’t hold my tears when I sense my Lord’s presence in my life. Tears of sorrow for my sins. Tears of gratitude for His goodness. Tears of Joy for His Mercy. Perhaps this nameless woman felt the same. Perhaps some of you been there as well. This woman cried so much that no water was needed for the washing of our Lord’s feet as her tears began to wet His feet. I can only imagine how mortified she must’ve been, but she couldn’t stop her tears – not when her heart was filled to overflowing. She sank to her knees, then bowed her head so low that it touched the ground. Jesus didn’t pull away as most men in the times would have, He didn’t scold her, didn’t make her feel foolish, rather, He gladly received the baptism of her tears, recognizing this heartfelt expression for what it was – a worship, pure and holy.
After washing our Lord’s feet with her tears “she wiped them with the hair of her head” when she could’ve used her sleeves to dry His tear drenched feet. But wiping it with her hair was far more personal, more humble, and more sacrificial. Our so called “Bad Girl” held nothing back now. She pressed her lips that touched so many to her Savior’s feet, “kissing them many times”. Not just once in shy affection, but “over and over again” with an abundance born of passion. It was customary to kiss a man’s hand or cheek or the hem of his garment but this woman kissed His dirt covered, stone bruised feet.
If you think she was finished after that you are badly mistaken my friend. She was not finished just yet.
Luke 7:38 continues telling us – them she reached for her alabaster box, “and poured perfume on His feet”. Wow! Can you try to imagine for a second what the rest of the present guests started thinking about the above painted picture? I sure can.
Simon the Pharisee had seen enough. He said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know who is touching Him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39). He was not only disgusted with this “social outcast, devoted to sin”, he was also unimpressed with Jesus. Jesus knew the man’s thoughts, and so responded with a story about two men in debt to a moneylender. One owed a lot, one owed a little. Neither man could afford to pay back his loan, so the moneylender canceled their debts and “freely forgave them both” (Luke 7:42)
May I just pause here for a second to express my love for our Lord’s style of teaching? The examples He give just draws you into the story, He simply beckons.
When Jesus asked Simon, “Which of them will love him more?” (Luke 7:42), the Pharisee had no choice but to confess, “I suppose the one he forgave more” (Luke 7:43). Too right, Simon – The Lord affirmed the man’s answer, then turned toward our repentant Bad Girl, even as he continued speaking to Simon. This is my favorite part in the entire chapter – “Do you see this woman?” our Lord said to Simon (Luke 7:44)
Simon saw a prostitute, period. He didn’t see her as a person, nor had he “noticed” her acts of worship for what they were.
But Jesus missed nothing. He saw her. He saw her sordid past, her humble present, and her glorious future. He quickly described all the ways she’d honored him—unlike Simon—then finished with this startling announcement: “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven” (Luke 7:47).
All her sins? All are forgiven? Yes.
Why? “Because she loves much” (Luke 7:47).
We’ve called her silent adulation worship. What she really poured all over His feet was love. Her tears, her hair, her kisses, her perfume. Love, love, love, love. Did I say LOVE enough?
In comparison, Jesus told Simon, “He who is forgiven little, loves little”. In truth, no one should fall into that category, because starting from me and ending with you we’ve all been forgiven of a great many sins. All of us should be reduced to tears of gratitude. All of us should be on our faces before Him.
Our Former Bad Girl understood that, which is why Jesus told her straight out, “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48). Not will be, not might be. They Are Forgiven.
The other guests began murmuring among themselves, as Jesus offered the woman a final word of assurance: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50).
Peace? Yes, please. What woman doesn’t need more of that in her life?
She did not speak her faith—no verbal confession, no sinner’s prayer was recorded here—but she certainly demonstrated her love for a God who forgives completely. May we go and do the same? Right Now! This week, this day, this hour!
How can we know, as surely as this woman did, that our sins are forgiven?
God’s Word declares that truth, again and again, like a shower of kisses: “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered” (Romans 4:7).
Then in the next chapter, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
What more do we need? “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us” (Ephesians 1:7-8).
Forgiven. The word is written on our foreheads and etched across our hearts. It’s genuine, true, a finished work. I may not always feel worthy of his forgiveness, but that doesn’t change the fact of it: “Your sins have been forgiven on account of His name” (1 John 2:12).
Done. Thank you, Jesus.
Forever in Him,
Liliya Marlie Gulumian