CH Spurgeon’s sermon “A Woman Which Was a Sinner” is based on Luke 7.37-38.
And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.
Recently, at GFC, Paul preached on the incident of Mary’s anointing of Jesus with the expensive perfume. Spurgeon argues vehemently that these are two separate incidents. I completely agree. He comments:
But it ought not to astonish you that there were two persons whose intense affection thus displayed itself; the astonishment should rather be that there were not two hundred who did so.
What both these incidents have in common is that they are oth lavish and extravagant displays of love for Christ, devotion to Christ, and affection for Christ. They are both displays of worship, in public, which are extremely personal and emotion-filled. Those are all things that are challenging for me!
Could it be that this ‘sinful woman’ from Luke 7 has much to teach me about worship? Absolutely! Here’s more from Spurgeon:
The woman’s service showed her love in that it was fervent. There was so much affection in it–nothing conventional; no following chilly propriety, no hesitating enquiry for precedents. Why did she kiss his feet? Was it not a superfluity? What was the good of it? Did it not look sentimental, affected, sensuous, indelicate? Little did she care how it looked; she knew what she meant. She could not do otherwise. Her whole soul went out in love, she acted naturally as her heart dictated, and, brethren, she acted well. O for more of this guileless piety, which hurls decorum and regulation to the winds.
Her act of worship was passionate, affectionate, non-conventional, not hindered by propriety (slang for man-fearing). It was superfluous–which was exactly the point.
She didn’t look noble or dignified… and she knew it. But she didn’t care. She opened herself to the charge of being sentimental, senduous, indelicate, and all sorts of other things. People would question her motives and the genuineness of her worship. But she didn’t care.
Her worship was genuine. Her love for Jesus demanded response, and she gave it. O for love and worship like this! How I wish I was more like that ‘sinner’ of a woman!