Alabaster – Luke 7 Sermon


There was once a man who was bitten by a dog, which was later discovered to be rabid. The man was rushed to the hospital where tests revealed that he had, in fact, contracted rabies. At the time, medical science had no cure for this disease and so his doctor faced the difficult task of informing him that his condition was incurable and terminal. “Sir, we will do all we can to make you comfortable. But I cannot give you false hope. There is nothing we can really do. My best advice is that you put your affairs in order as soon as possible.The dying man sank back on his bed in shock, but finally rallied enough strength to ask for a pen and some paper. He then set to work with great energy. An hour  later, when the doctor returned, the man was stilling writing vigorously. The doctor commented “I’m glad to see that you’re working on your will.” “This ain’t no will, Doc.” Replied the dying man, “this is a list of the people I’m going to bite before I die.”   How insightful of Jesus to use money and forgiveness in the same parable! Two of the most difficult areas for people to submit to God are their possessions and their hurts. (From a sermon by Tommy Burrus, Pay It Forward, 10/14/2009)

And we will see that this sinful woman, who is an illustration of the church, gave her most difficult areas to Jesus….her possessions, and her hurts.   So will you join me in this journey into the 7th chapter of Luke?

Luke 7:36-40 (NLT) 36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. 37 When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. 38 Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.  39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”40 Then Jesus answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.”“Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied.

     Simon the Pharisee (his name is revealed in 7:40) looked over from his meal  and recoiled.  This religious leader had no concern for this woman’s spiritual condition, no regard for her soul.  It’s no wonder Jesus’ compassion and forgiveness gave a breath of fresh air to people such as this woman. See, I’m sure Simon had already made a judgment of Jesus and probably felt morally superior to him as well.  Simon badly overestimated his own righteousness. Let’s not grow so callous towards those who are lost that we have no compassion for them.  We must remember, we aren’t better; we’re forgiven.

APPLICATION: What We Can Take Away 

[1] We aren’t better; we’re forgiven — See Simon failed to see his own desperate spiritual condition.  For us, we must see the desperateness of our spiritual condition before the Lord before we can help anyone else.  It’s so interesting that two people could have such different responses to the Savior.  The brokenness that this woman experienced in the presence of Jesus Christ was the appropriate response to his majesty, love and forgiveness.  Let see this place, this gathering of believers, as a place of refuge for the lost and broken.  Remember that we were just as broken, and are still being remade.


Jesus goes on to speak further to Simon about the concepts of mercy and forgiveness.

Luke 7:41-45 (NLT) 41 Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. 42 But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?”43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.”“That’s right,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet.


Jesus told Simon a parable about a man owing money to two people…one person owed 500 pieces of silver, and the other owed 50 pieces of silver.  Neither could repay him, so he forgave both people.  Then Jesus asked Simon which person would be more indebted and grateful? Simon answered correctly.  He then told Simon to pay attention this woman.  She offered Jesus so much more hospitality than Simon did, and he was supposed to be the sophisticated, educated religious leader inviting a well-known rabbi and prophet into his home.

In this story it is the grateful prostitute,, and not the self-righteous religious leader, whose sins were forgiven.  She realized, and Simon had yet to realize, that they both had a debt they couldn’t repay. We should all be weeping, kissing the feet of our savior because all of us have had all of our debts cancelled.

Jesus has cancelled everything we owe because of sin — Just like the man in the parable who had mercy on the people who owed him money, Jesus is trying to tell us that the merciful loaner was him.  Aren’t you glad the price has been paid for our sins???!!!

Psalm 103:12 (NLT) 12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.

Micah 7:19New Living Translation (NLT) 19 Once again you will have compassion on us.  You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!

Micah 7:19Christian Standard Bible (CSB) 19 He will again have compassion on us; he will vanquish our iniquities.  You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

So if you ask why the God of is allowing evil things to happen, look to the cross, look to Judgment Day, and also look inside yourself and ask if you are passionate enough to do something about the evil and injustice in this world. And ask yourself more about the evil within you and the evil within me.  Simon was as equally broken as this woman; his brokenness was just smothered with comfort, pride and sophistication.  Jesus says this to Simon in verse 46…

Luke 7:46-50 (NLT) 46 You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.47 “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”49 The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?” 50 And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Jesus’ words of forgiveness to the woman provoked a discussion among the rest of those who were at the table. They asked each other, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” They did not grasp the fact that Jesus was God and therefore did have the authority to forgive sins. See, when people trust Christ, he changes their lives, gives them freedom from sin, and allows them to go in peace—true peace, peace with God. Like so many whom Jesus had healed, this woman had a new life and a new reason for living. No wonder she wept with joy and love when he said to her your faith has saved you, go in peace.

You are saved by faith through grace so go in peace – For the believers here, you must realize that it wasn’t the physical actions of the woman, but her faith in who she was worshipping and ministering to that saved her and commended her to Jesus.  What she did was worship Christ.  In this woman, we see a picture of the church, the Bride of Christ.  We see the woman of the city, making her way to where Jesus is, which represents the church, the gathering of believers.  Inside the church, which could be represented by Simon’s house, there are people who claim to follow God, but have no real love in their hearts.  They don’t welcome Jesus in their services; don’t plan on giving him a kiss, or washing his feet, or giving him anointing oil, that sweet smelling fragrance of true worship.  This woman abandoned everything, she was willing to go to lengths to encounter Jesus and be closed to Jesus to a point where other so-called believers didn’t want to go.   She gave her all to Jesus, emotionally, physically, financially, everything.  She smothered the feet of the savior with kisses, that same Greek word kataphileo which was used in the parable of the prodigal son, where when the son headed back towards the father, the Father ran to him and smothered him with kisses over and over.

Jesus is calling us just like he drew her, to the table where he is reclining.  He is saying to us that it is our faith that saves us, and if we believe Christ is the Son of God, and that his death on the cross is the only acceptable payment to God for sin, then we can go in peace.  That word peace comes from eirene, meaning a state of peace that is a blessing or favor from God. Eirene can also mean freedom from worry.  Jesus gave this woman the peace of God that goes beyond all human understanding.

So for us as the church, as the bride, no matter what obstacles lay between us and the table where Jesus is reclining, let us have the courage to let our lives be poured out.

“The person who has no reputation to protect is the most free. What a luxury not to care what people think of us. “Praise and blame equally are nothing to him who is dead and buried with Christ,” Father Macarius said.”

Dick Brogden, Live Dead Joy: 365 Days of Living and Dying with Jesus.  Folks, we can live for ourselves, but that perfect peace that Jesus gave to this woman only comes by letting go of everything, and laying everything down at the feet of our Creator.  I guarantee that the dreams for us from the Son will eclipse any dreams we dream for ourselves.

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