This will be our last week with Liz Curtis Higgs and her book Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from Them. Please read chapter 10 on “The Sinful Woman” and read Luke 7:36-50.
Last week in our discussion of Jezebel, we tried to see her as Christ would see her. As Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh (1914-2003) wrote: “Unless we look at a person and see the beauty there is in this person, we can contribute nothing to him. One does not help a person by discerning what is wrong, ugly, and distorted. Christ looked at everyone he met and saw the beauty hidden therein. And what he did was to call out that beauty.”
In our story this week, we see the marked difference between looking at the beauty in someone and only discerning what is wrong with that person. Simon the Pharisee only sees a sinful woman. As Luke tells us, he sees this unnamed woman as a “sinner.” He is appalled that Jesus allows such a woman to even touch him. A Pharisaic understanding of holiness requires that those who are holy be kept clean and separate from both physical and spiritual filthiness. Simon only saw an ugly and distorted being with whom he should not have any contact. He was incapable of seeing this woman as someone to be loved and given grace. She was something less than fully human.
Jesus, however, sees the beauty in the sinful woman. For Jesus, her beauty outshines that of the self-righteous, self-centered, and self-satisfied Pharisee. He praises her hospitality (although the house is not hers) and her humility. As Jesus points out, she loves much, whereas the Pharisee loved little. Simon’s very perfection under the law prevents him from seeing who Jesus is. But the woman has eyes that can see. And Jesus calls her out, forgives her sin, and gives her the peace that passes all understanding. In calling out her beauty, Jesus perfects her humanity.
Mrs. Higgs’ post on the Sinful Woman is HERE. Her discussion question this week is:
How can we know, as surely as this woman did, that our sins are forgiven?
Dinner is at 6. The menu is chicken bog. Film at 6:45. Hope to see you here and please bring a friend.
Those who sowed with tears *Psalm 126:6-7
will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed, *
will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.