One time, Jesus went to visit Simon the Pharisee. You will remember that the Pharisees were part of the ruling class in those days, and formed a part of the Sanhedrin Council. Although fairly liked by the masses (in comparison to the Sadducees – other superior members of the Sanhedrin Council), Jesus took issue with their particular variety of faith and called them out on practicing empty faith.
A sinful woman heard that Jesus was dining there and made her way to Simon’s home, tears in her eyes and an alabaster jar of perfume in her hands. She fell to his feet, washed them with her tears, wiped them with her hair and poured perfume on them. You can imagine the spectacle, Simon and his friends scoffing, silently looking at Jesus and thinking, “If he truly was a prophet then he should know the kind of woman he’s letting touch him, a sinner!” They condemned her in their hearts and she must have known it because she was known all over that town, but she was undeterred.
In her heart of hearts, she longed for God, she longed to return to Him. The guilt of her misdeeds weighed on her and she longed for forgiveness, she longed to turn her life around. It must have taken great courage for her to show such humility, and very publicly, witnessed by these self-righteous people who thought her beneath them, and didn’t think she was fit to be in the presence of Jesus. Had it been up to them, they might have turned her away. But because of her faith, courage and humility, Jesus saw her heart and spoke out for her in a rather interesting parable (Luke 7: 40-43). Then he said to her, “Your faith has saved you, go in peace.”
Along with her sins being forgiven and being washed over with the Peace of the Lamb, the woman with the Alabaster jar served a very important purpose. She was a real life lesson that Jesus used to teach the Simon and his Pharisee friends that it was faith and a personal relationship with God that mattered and not the strict adherence of the Old Testament Laws without truly cultivating a deep and meaningful relationship with God or actually taking the ministry to heart.
In a similar manner, we are supposed to understand that following a set of rules and performing a set of rituals while being empty inside is not what God calls us to do. We can pray and go to church every Sunday but, while those are good things, if we do not truly embrace faith, spirituality and seek to grow in God’s ways, all of that will be pointless. Like the woman with the Alabaster jar, we must also seek God, seek forgiveness, humble ourselves before Him and we shall receive His Peace.
There is in every true woman’s heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.