Interesting things happen, at least to me, when I pull on the threads of what seems to be coincidence. We had a Bible study on the woman who anointed Jesus feet with a costly perfume. All through the Bible study I kept making references to another woman who also anointed Jesus with perfume which is found in Luke chapter 7. I am not going to sort through all of the stuff about the anointing in Bethany, you can look that up, but basically there are two perfume anointing’s of Jesus in the Scriptures. The coincidence comes in when I received some messages from my friends in Africa showing me pictures of the locust swarms that were coming into the country. While studying the different anointing’s, I came across a sermon by Charles Spurgeon that talked about “replacing the years the locusts devoured” and using the anointing of Jesus as an example. He said here was a woman who had wasted all things,
squandered all things, ruined her reputation and her life. Her sins like a locust plague had left her with nothing except some expensive perfume. When she sees Jesus and believes that he is the Savior the restoration takes place and all the locust years are over and restored. She pours out all she has left in a gesture of pure love for one she believes can restore her. So here was a preacher using the prophecy from Joel that leads into the great promise of Pentecost, in a sermon about a fallen woman who anointed Jesus feet. Studying along a little further I came across an interesting discussion about the consequences of the different metaphors for sin, and how we either emphasize or deemphasize them. By the time Jesus comes into his ministry scholars say, the second temple Judaism emphasized sin as being a debt, and that for years before that sin was emphasized as a burden. Of course sin is both those things. Sin as also many more things. The host at Jesus banquet was indebted to his guests to give them something to wash their feet. The host neglected that. He was indebted to greet his guests with a kiss and he ignored that. Here this disgraced and fallen women does for Jesus what the host should have done and much more. The locust years were wiped away by his love to which she is simply a respondent.
One of the old poets, and a preacher to boot, named George Herbert wrote this poem. –
When blessed Marie wip’d her Saviours feet, (Whose precepts she had trampled on
before) And wore them for a jewell on her head, Shewing his steps should be the
street Wherein she thenceforth evermore With pensive humblenesse would live and
She being stain’d her self, why did she strive To make him clean, who could
not be defil’d? Why kept she not her tears for her own faults, And not his feet?
Though we could dive In tears like seas, our sinnes are pil’d Deeper than they, in
words, and works, and thoughts.
Deare soul, she knew who did vouchsafe and deigne To
bear her filth; and that her sinnes did dash Ev’n God himself: wherefore she was not
loth, As she had brought wherewith to stain, So to bring in wherewith to wash: And
yet in washing one, she washed both.