New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised
36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus[a] to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 37 And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. 38 She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.’ 40 Jesus spoke up and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ ‘Teacher,’ he replied, ‘speak.’ 41 ‘A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii,[b] and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?’ 43 Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one for whom he cancelled the greater debt.’ And Jesus[c] said to him, ‘You have judged rightly.’ 44 Then turning towards the woman, he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.’ 48 Then he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ 49 But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ 50 And he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’
Questions for Reflection:
1. What is an example of modern-day anointing that you have witnessed? Does it hold similarities or differences to the Scripture presented?
2. In the Lukan narrative, the woman’s name and sin are not named, yet the details of her act of anointing Jesus are fairly specific. What do you think is the significance of this detailing in the narrative? 3. How do we relate this narrative of anointing to Genesis 1:26 and the introduction of all humans created in God’s image and likeness (as well as dominion over other parts of Creation)? What are the similarities in this perceived and innate identity, and have you discovered any differences in being created in God’s image and the act of anointing (i.e., are we worthy to anoint or receive anointing)?
Devotion By: Laurel Cluthe, BWIM Heartland (Kansas/Missouri) state leader and pastor of families, at Holmeswood Baptist Church, Kansas City, MO.