Unless individuals were attending a local synagogue in the first century, church goers met inside a home or outside at a local park. While thousands of people regularly gathered to hear Jesus speak and teach, worshiping God with strangers can be awkward. If the person standing next to you is extremely jubilant or you’ve never heard the song that everyone else is singing, you may feel a little out of place.
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to dine with him, and He went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the town who was an especially wicked sinner, when she learned that He was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment (perfume), Luke 7:36-37.
This is how one woman felt while Jesus dined with a group of Pharisees. As these men were reclining at a dining room table following their meal, an adulterous woman approached Jesus. It’s unclear if this woman came to confess the sins of her past, but she was suddenly overwhelmed by emotions. Perhaps, the Spirit of God prompted her to wash Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume that she was able to purchase due to her unwholesome occupation.
And standing behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with [her] tears; and she wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed His feet [affectionately] and anointed them with the ointment (perfume). 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw it, he said to himself, If this Man were a prophet, He would surely know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him—for she is a notorious sinner (a social outcast, devoted to sin), Luke 7:38-39.
Despite being a stranger in a house of God, all this woman wanted was to be with Jesus. It didn’t matter what all these men thought or that she was throwing away this valuable ointment. Whether you’re on vacation or simply visiting a new church, when you come to worship God it’s all about Jesus. The next time you feel like a stranger in the house of God, remember the act of this woman so that you will develop the right mindset to worship God.
by Jay Mankus