If you encountered and received absolute unconditional acceptance that was not dependent on anything you did or didn’t do how would that affect you?
In Woman Washing His Feet Part 1 we looked at the messiness of the prostitute’s behavior towards Jesus. Why would she make such a seeming fool of herself? What might have happened to this woman of ill repute before she entered Simon’s house and did that?
- Had this woman encountered Jesus somewhere else?
- Did she hear Him teach and His words washed over her heart bringing understanding of true love?
- Was she in a crowd and He made eye contact with her? On purpose?
- In that moment of eyes to eyes did she feel absolute utter acceptance and no condemnation?
- Did that momentary connection with Him cause her to see and know her true identity and value that transcended her actions and livelihood?
- Was this truth about who she really was increasing within her?
- Is this what drove her to do the unthinkable?
Anyone answer “YES!” to some of these speculative questions? “Yes” helps us understand why she would be compelled to do ‘awkward’ when opportunity arose. However, I don’t think she considered it ‘awkward’.
I believe this empty woman encountered fullness, encountered unconditional love, encountered acceptance in the midst of her lifestyle of sin (besides weakness, pain, hurt). This revelation of acceptance overwhelmed her to dare break protocol, to have no fear of man or man’s opinion. She had to express lavish gratitude, in person, to the One who accepted her unconditionally.
Her unconditional acceptance nullified the negative stares, thoughts, words that were sure to happen by entering Simon’s house. She could care less! WHO she really cared about was her focus, passion, and life.
But what about her sins!?
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus told her at the end of this story:
“Woman, your sins have been forgiven.”
Note, it wasn’t “Woman, your sins ARE forgiven.”
In the acceptance was the forgiveness!
It wasn’t first repent and weep all over the place, languish and grovel in your sins, give God something (in this case perfume) – then be forgiven, and then you’ll be accepted.
Acceptance comes first – that is the beginning of fullness. Something had happened previously for this immoral woman to know she had already been forgiven – that is why she could brazenly break into a Pharisaical atmosphere to get to Jesus to graphically tell Him – “I get it! I know! You accept me just as I am! This acceptance filled her whole being – it had to come out with such effusive emotion, tender love, and pure gratitude. No hidden motive or agenda here.
This fullness could not be contained. Religion couldn’t stop it. Fear of man had no power against it. Judgment and condemnation had no effect. That’s what happens when you are full.
Lastly Jesus said to her, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” In light of other scriptures He is in essence saying to her, “Jesus has saved you; go in Jesus.” Really!
What do you think “saved” meant in this passage? Go to heaven? (As an aside – if that’s what we think the ‘Gospel’ or ‘Good News’ basically means then we are missing the fullness of the gospel of His kingdom.) ‘Saved’ in Greek means safe, well, made well, preserved, recovered, restored, cured.
Was it her faith?! No. Scriptures show that even ‘faith’ comes from Him, it’s His faith. My how He provides all things for us! ‘Faith’ in Greek comes from a word that means to persuade, to have confidence, trust. This confidence and trust came out of her encounter with unconditional acceptance. Jesus had given her everything she needed. I’m guessing she didn’t even know what she needed! But He did. She encountered the One who brought truth that released this confidence and trust (faith) – she was never the same again.
- How easy it is to deny or doubt His unconditional acceptance of us right in the middle or our messes. Surely we have to do something? No. Fullness is full of grace – free, undeserved, and profuse.
- This prostitute wasn’t a virgin but she was a virgin. Huh? Only in Him is that possible. Fullness is meant to transform all of us into who He really made us to be.
- When we truly encounter His fullness of acceptance we shouldn’t be surprised at lavish and effusive displays of gratitude. In fact to observe these displays by others will be humbling, to do them ourselves will be holy.
To be continued: Part 3 What about Simon