Behold, A Woman At His Feet—Part 2

Behold, A Woman At His Feet—Part 2
Behold, A Woman At His Feet—Part 2

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Behold, A Woman At His Feet—Part 2

Bible study by Sharon Faith Ries

Sharon RiesThis is Part 2 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 Part 1, 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.

A Woman Worships

... [The sinful woman] stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Luke 7:38

The sinful woman, weeping profusely, was fixed on anointing Jesus with the precious ointment that she had kept in her little alabaster box for special occasions. Some kept these ointments for their burial. Alabaster is softer than marble. It was the best stone used for pots and vessels for storing precious ointments. Alabaster was very expensive and considered to be a most precious treasure to have. Costly ointments and cosmetics were stored in alabaster vessels and were often used by wealthy Roman ladies.

In biblical times, people used to recline on couches to eat. She had probably knelt down, weeping more tears than she had ever before shed. They flowed in abundance from her hurting soul, so much so that she had enough warm tears to wash Jesus’ feet! She kissed His feet and anointed them with fragrant oil, pouring out her broken heart on Jesus. The woman was desperate to repent before Him; she wanted to be cleansed of her sin and be forgiven. She knew that only Jesus could set her free and give her peace. Like the multitudes, she had heard of the young man raised from the dead in the city of Nain. Only Jesus could give her a new life.

Washing a person’s feet may sound very strange, but it was very normal in those days. After walking the rocky, dusty, and sometimes muddy roads wearing rough leather sandals, it was a gesture of hospitality by the servants in the house to wash the guest’s feet, anointing them with healing salves and ointments. I can just imagine the sores and calluses on their feet!

Then she undid her long, flowing hair, which was considered disgraceful for women to do! She lovingly wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair. This act of adoring worship flowed from her heart. The sinner kissed His feet and anointed them with fragrant oil. Kissing the feet was a sign of submission to a king or someone of great authority. It was a mark of respect, an act of salutation, customary in the East.

Through the woman’s actions, she demonstrated true repentance and total submission to the One she came to know in her heart as Lord! The Greek word for Lord is Kurios; it means “supreme in authority; controller.” The woman had made Jesus her Lord. She had walked into a Pharisee's house uninvited, but she knew who was Lord there, and she did not care what anyone had to say! Her worship of Him was spiritual. Her heart, her mind, her soul, and her bowed body were all involved in worship. We must acknowledge, like this woman did, that Jesus alone is Lord: He is Supreme over everything! When Kay, Pastor Chuck Smith’s wife, would lead pastors’ wives in prayer, she would always say, “Pour out your heart before the Lord.” How does one worship our Lord this way?

Worship in Spirit and Truth

In the story of the Samaritan woman, found in John Chapter 4, Jesus taught the meaning of true worship. He went out of His way, through Samaria—a route no Jew would take (because the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans)—to meet a sinful woman. He met her at a well in Sychar, knowing she would be there. Jesus often went out of His way to reach even one sinful person. This woman had lived with five husbands, and the man she was with now was not her husband. In speaking to her about worship, Jesus told her in John 4:23-24, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.” He then revealed Himself to her as the long-awaited Messiah––the Christ come to this world.

This passage left me thinking, What does it mean to worship in spirit and in truth? We are spiritual beings. We must enter into intimate spiritual communion through the Spirit of God and speak the truth to Him—like the woman who was a sinner.

We must first acknowledge that Jesus is LORD. In Psalm 121:1-2, David declared, I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

We must wait on the LORD. David in Psalm 62:5 and 8, quiets his own soul: My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. ... Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

We must approach the LORD in truth. David poured out his heart in truth when he penned his prayer of true repentance for the sin of adultery he committed with Bathsheba.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your loving kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight–– ... Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Psalm 51:1-4 and 10-11

This Man

Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “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

The Pharisee may have admired Jesus’ teachings, as he had invited Him and other guests into his house to hear Him. Maybe the purpose of the dinner was to test Him. The Pharisee had not made up his mind whether Jesus was a prophet sent from God or not. Jesus was more than a prophet! Jesus was 100% God, and He was 100% man.

There are many names that speak of Christ’s humanity in Scripture: Babe, Son of Mary, Brother, Man, Carpenter, Galilean, Nazarene, Crucified One, Prophet, Physician, Teacher, Rabbi, King of the Jews, Son of David and Son of Man. Some of the names that speak of Christ’s Divinity are: Son of God, Holy One of Israel, Son of the Highest, Eternal Existing One, Immanuel (God with us), Lord, Alpha and Omega, Ancient Days, Radiance of God’s Glory, King of Kings, Savior, and Prince of Peace.

The Pharisee concluded that Jesus could not be a prophet as the multitude had declared. He could not be a Man of God, or he would not have permitted the polluting touch of such a person. Up to this time, relations between our Lord and the dominant religions and the government parties of the day had not reached a state of hostility toward Jesus. The Pharisees and Chief Priests were sharply watching the One whose influence was so great among the people. Jesus had not yet been declared “public enemy and blasphemer.” The Pharisees as Israelites avoided, as far as possible, all contact with a pagan. They always found fault with the free interaction Jesus had with tax-gatherers and sinners!


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

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