Written by Grace Hsu. Artwork by Keith Pang.
In Luke 7:36-45, we read through a short narrative of a woman entering the house of a Pharisee to wash and anoint the feet of Christ. Though we are never given her name, in verse 39 we know that she is well known for her sin, most likely prostitution. So why did she willingly enter a Pharisee’s home when it was a Levitical law to stone those not found to be a virgin out of the context of marriage? (Deut 22:20) In addition, verse 37 states that she learned about Christ’s attendance and prepared the alabaster jar of perfume. Then, to take it a step further we see in verse 38 she used her hair to clean the feet of Christ. This suggests that she went to the house without veiling her hair, and unveiled hair was usually the first indicator of a promiscuous woman. So why didn’t she veil her hair as she ventured to a Pharisee’s home? Was her intention only to endanger her life?
Of course not, but the use of her hair helps unravel her intentions. First and foremost, Middle Eastern women highly value their hair as an extension of their womanhood. In retrospect, there was a story of a queen who said her greatest sacrifice for her husband’s safe return was to cut her hair and offer it up. Throughout history, it was common to sacrifice animals as offering for safe returns or victories, and this queen likened her hair to the highly valued animal sacrifices. So it becomes clear that this woman’s intention was to offer Christ her best, even if it meant shaming herself and possibly losing her life. In her desperation to show Christ her love for him, she gave her time, her glorious hair (1 Cor 11:15), her tears and alabaster jar of perfume, and her life. When was the last time you offered Christ your best? When was the last time you were so eager to express something that you didn’t care how foolish you looked or how much money and time you spent on it? When was the last time you wanted to do something so bad you were willingly to risk your life for it?
How desperate are you really to show your love to Christ?
1. Reflect on the ways that you have shown your love to Christ? Was there a particular moment when you made it clear how much you loved him?
2. How do you think you can continue to demonstrate to God your love for him? What kind of sacrifices will such a display require?