And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Luke 7:37-38 (ESV)
The washing of feet in ancient times was a very common practice. With most people wearing sandals and traveling on dry and dusty roads or terrain, washing their feet when they entered your home was not only a sign of hospitality but was necessary for cleanliness and health. It was just as important for a host to ensure that the feet of his guest were washed as it was to provide them with food or a place to rest. In most cases the lowest servant was given the task of washing feet. Anointing the head of a guest was also an act of courtesy and hospitality. Jesus’ rebuke of Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7 was justified seeing that Simon did not perform the basic acts of courtesy and hospitality.
The kissing of feet was also a common practice among the Jews as well as the Romans and Greeks. Kissing the feet was a means of expressing reverence and affection. Kissing the feet of a dignitary was also a token of obedience and subjection.
It is possible that the woman in Luke 7 was or had been a prostitute (Luke 7:39). It was a custom in those days for women to wear their hair up with their head covered. The only time a woman let her hair down was in the privacy of her bedroom with her husband, or in the case of a prostitute when she was conducting business. This woman lavished her love upon Jesus in response to the love of a Savior who had forgiven her of much (Luke 7:47). Her worship was not in response to a command but poured from a heart that was overflowing with gratitude. And she wasn’t concerned with what those sitting at the table thought of her.
Jesus said to his and disciples and the crowds that followed him, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:34-38 ESV)
True worshipers are not ashamed to show their affection to the Father. They are so overwhelmed with his forgiving love for them that fear of looking foolish is no deterrent to public displays of affection. God is seeking for men and women who unashamedly “let their hair down, break their alabaster boxes” and anoint him with fragrant worship.
Are you ashamed to show your affection to the Father for fear of what others may think?
Scriptures for meditation:
2 Timothy 1:8-12