The story of the sinful woman who cried her tears
at Jesus feet at the Pharisee party intrigues me in so many ways. It is an intimate account of Jesus loving her at her lowest. I can relate to her. Her passion. Her emotion. Her big move. Her desperation. Her boldness to cry with Jesus.
And I wonder…What got her to the point where bursting in uninvited to a Pharisee party of all things became her best option that evening? I wonder and ponder guessing that she had exhausted doing broken alone. Tears alone. Alone and broken was no longer working. I am guessing that, like me, she had tried every other option. Self talk, self help, will power. Perfectionism; the nice word for pride and being our own God… as if enough good clean action can wipe the soul slate clean. Cleaning up the outside while the inside was a crying shame of aches. I’m curious as to how that night crying her tears in front of judgmental men with Jesus became her best course of action ..I have to guess her thoughts were not completely planned out, was it more of a compelling surge of desperate emotion that led her to Simon’s prestigious party that night. A place of thinking where her town label of the “very sinful woman” no longer kept her separated from the heartbeat of the social agenda in town that evening. She threw off her self-defeated soul play record of you don’t belong, as the needle of the player screeched and scratched the over-played album in her mind and she ran…burst…out of that invisible prison of lies and ran in her desperate moment to Jesus.
She did out of her desperation the thing for Jesus that should have happened as was custom but did not occur that night. No one had washed his feet, no one had given him the customary kiss of greeting, no one had anointed his head with oil as was tradition…Jesus sat at the party being treated less than and without and the woman came in less than and without and provided and met the “without” Jesus had encountered that evening. How ironic…the very thing this sinful woman did in desperation came and fulfilled what was not done for Jesus. She washer his feet with her tears, she wiped them with her hair, she kissed his feet and poured her jar of perfume on them.
Defining intimacy can be said to be known and to know. What a picture of intimacy is happening in front of everyone to know Jesus in this encounter she is having with him at the party..He calls her out as he says, “Simon…Do you see this woman?” He does not reject her as I am guessing so many others had…He allows her to have her moment of crying tears of painful remembrance and of thankful emotion… repentance tears pooling and wiping her hair and pouring her perfume. He uses her act as an example to everyone in this room, “Her sins, which are many are forgiven because she has loved much…”
In this moment of intimacy in a room full of people this desperate woman knows Jesus. She learns his character. Not reactive, but lovingly responding. Humble, in allowing her to meet the unmet actions of the evening for him, a Validator, who sees strength, meaning and purpose in her greatest moment of weakness, the Extender of Forgiveness, He bows low to her and says to her, “Your faith…(your choice in desperation)…has saved you…Go in Peace..”
And I wonder after this death to life, hopelessness to hope filled, unforgiven to forgiven moment to a very sinful woman now washed of her sins…what happens next…
Because the outside remained the same..many think this woman was caught up in prostitution, some commentaries read how some would have described her as a whore, a known sinner… perhaps abandoned… It is certain that she had much to be forgiven, and she had probably passed her life in crime… the town harlot… and in a moment with Jesus she was freed…forgiven…changed…and yet the town was still her town…and the reputation…the mentalities of others… the outcomes of the past were still present…her tricks still lived there and could possibly pursue her or taunt her into believing that her moment of forgiveness with Jesus was counterfeit and mock her moment…did she have home to go to after her evening, did she have someone to process her transformation with after she left the party? My mind wonders to what happened next for her…I don’t know…
This is what we do know of the encounter and the evening and the woman’s future…
Go in peace…Jesus paves her way, her next steps with these three words.
Go…to move from one point to another, begin in motion, contribute to or be put into a whole, pass through a particular time and circumstance…begin motion…change in direction, leave depart one way, make an exit, start out, get underway, make a move, to enter into a specified course of action…turn out, develop, pan out, work out, attempt something, function properly, operate, work, run,be associated in, blend, coordinate, align, match, be regularly kept, put in a particular place, belong…fit in, live…
So many meanings and synonyms of go…Jesus said so much about her next steps with three words..the first being go. When you replace the word go with all of it’s different meanings and synonyms she has many helps for her future…she can change her direction, start new, begin to function properly, align with peace, be kept in peace, fit in with peace, pass through from her chaos into peace.
In…expressing the situation of something that is or appears to be enclosed or surrounded by something else…expressing movement with the result that someone or something becomes enclosed or surrounded by something else.
In tells us that she is no longer alone…her going is now surrounded by and she is enclosed in something…in someone…take in this visual; a woman being enclosed and surrounded by someone and something…Peace.
Peace…freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility. Is the definition of peace yet going deeper in scripture we find Jesus saying that He himself is our Peace who has torn down every wall of hostility.(Ephesians 2:14) He promises to leave us himself, Peace I leave with you , my peace I give to you (John 16:33)..offering a part of himself in the go…In Thessalonians, We she that he is the Lord of Peace…
In this woman’s changed moment and now new life, we don’t see what happens next for her. We do see the direction Jesus pointed her in three simple words. Be kept in and live surrounded and enclosed in me;your Peace.
We too, just like the account of this woman, can take heart that those moments for us; when we weep desperate tears, cry out boldly to Jesus, experience death to life moments of inner soul change, can move forward in our journey of the unchanged around us, the circumstances and people that remain, outcomes of choice that have led to less than perfect consequences…now enclosed in and with Perfect Peace encamped around us, living in and depending on Jesus himself in our going to show up as Peace in every transaction of life that is yet to come.
With this truth what happens in your next?