Behold, A Woman At His Feet—Part 3

Behold, A Woman At His Feet—Part 3

Behold, A Woman At His Feet—Part 3

Bible study by Sharon Faith Ries

Sharon RiesThis is Part 3 of a three-part Bible study from Sharon Ries, wife of senior pastor Raul Ries of Calvary Chapel Golden Springs in Diamond Bar, CA. To read Parts 1 & 2, click here. You can watch Sharon teach this message, and others, here.

In the Bible, this woman is addressed as a woman who was a sinner. However, as she remains nameless, I have simply called this study Behold, A Woman at His Feet. I believe every one of us can identify with her, as we are all sinners. Through this study, I pray women will come to know Jesus in a deeper and more intimate way and worship Him as Lord. How we need Him! This world is reeling with sin, and women are living in such perilous days; yet we know God is in control.

What Manner of Woman is this?

The self-righteous Pharisees despised this corrupt, immoral woman who, at a dinner party, anointed Jesus with fragrant oil and washed His feet with her tears of repentance. The Pharisee was thinking, This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner (Luke 7:39). No respectable woman would enter, uninvited, such a gathering in the house of a prominent Pharisee. This woman was a great sinner, and Jesus always invited sinners to Himself. She knew that, so she drew close to Him.

Jesus, the Great Physician, always called the spiritually sick to Himself: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). To labor means “bodily labor; to feel fatigued by working hard.” To be heavy laden is to be “spiritually burdened with anxiety.”

The Master’s Lesson

And Jesus answered and said to [Simon, the Pharisee who invited Jesus to his home] … “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He [Jesus] said to him, “You have rightly judged.” Luke 7:40-43

As a Pharisee, he did recognize Jesus as a Teacher of the Law. In the New Testament, the title teacher or master refers to “one who taught the things of God and the duties of man.” Jesus, the Son of God, at the young age of 12, was doing His Father’s business when He entered the Temple in Jerusalem and sat in the midst of the teachers. All were astonished at His understanding of the Scriptures (Luke 2:46-47). Jesus was the Master Teacher, above all others, and everyone who heard Him knew it.

Simon listened and understood the Master’s teaching. Jesus was referring to the sinful woman as the debtor who had been forgiven much, and He was referring to the self-righteous Pharisee as the debtor who had been forgiven little. Simon judged rightly––the woman loved Jesus more.

This Woman

Then He [Jesus] turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Luke 7:44-47

Let us, with Simon, behold her, The Woman at His Feet.

It was common courtesy, and is even today, for Jews to kiss one another on the cheek when they greeted, especially when a guest entered their house. They also honored their guests by anointing their heads with perfumes and oils. But this woman humbled herself to her Lord, washing, kissing, and anointing His feet!

Here, we find deep spiritual meaning. The woman, through her worship, entered into intimate spiritual communion with Jesus––she was worshiping Him in spirit and truth. Her spirit was connected to the Spirit of God. She not only poured out her precious fragrant oil on Him, but also poured out her heart. Her worshipful actions were a sweet- smelling aroma pouring out from her spiritual being onto the Divine Being. Jesus was more than a prophet sent from God. He was the healing Balm of Gilead to her! The Bride of Christ [the Church] says to Christ, her Groom, Your name is ointment poured forth … (Song of Solomon 1:3b). Christ is the fragrant ointment to our souls: Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering of sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (Ephesians 5:2). The sinful woman became enveloped in the fragrance of Christ’s humanity, as well as His divinity.

Amazingly, the Scriptures teach that the believer, just as this woman, diffuses the fragrance of Christ:

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16a

Jesus became the woman’s obsession; she pursued Christ until she found Him. She poured out her love to Jesus, not caring that the religious fanatics who despised her were present. She was forgiven and found peace at His feet.

The Forgiven

“Therefore I [Jesus] say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” Luke 7:47-50

Simon the Pharisee, and those who sat at the table, did not know Him as the Son of God, the Savior of mankind. Jesus had come to the world as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29, paraphrased). Scripture records that the Son of God offered Himself to the Father, to give His life for the salvation of mankind before the foundation of the world, … the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).

Soon the whole world would know Jesus as the Crucified One, crucified for claiming He and the Father were one. Through this encounter, Jesus cleansed a desperate woman of her sins and revealed to the Pharisee and his guests that He indeed was the Savior of the world.

Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you, go in peace.”

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrew 11:6).

“My peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

The Pharisee and his guests were in the company of God in the flesh, Immanuel (God with us), and did not know it! But on this day, a woman in the city who was a sinner came to know Jesus as her Savior!


All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

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