Ordinary women that did extraordinary things. Part 2

Ordinary Woman who did Extraordinary Things

 My Best is a Product of my Worst

Luke 7:36-50

36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Last week we began a series entitled Ordinary women that did extraordinary things, with the subtitle, my best is a product of my worst.  We talked about the woman at the well, and how Jesus spoke to her in spite of the fact that Jews did not associate with Samaritans, men did not speak to women in public places, and she had some baggage. She had man problems.  But despite all of that, Jesus knew she had potential.  Jesus knew the same thing about her that he knows about each and everyone of us, that our best is a product of our worst, and that is why he used ordinary woman in the Bible to do extraordinary things.  Jesus is able to see our potential because he looks beneath the surface, he looks between the signs, and he looks beyond our sin.  And today I would like to talk about another ordinary woman in the Bible that did an extraordinary thing.  Now please bear in mind that I am only referring to these women as ordinary because the Bible does not mention their names.  Ordinary does not mean unimportant or insignificant, it just means regular.  Just like Theo Huxtable told his father, Cliff Huxtable in the first episode of the first season of the Cosby show.  I just want to be regular people.  But as we all have seen, these ordinary women have done some extraordinary things.  So today, we are going to look at one of the women that washed and anointed Jesus’ feet.  Yes, if you did not know there were two different women that washed and anointed Jesus’ feet.  The one that is most common is Mary the sister of Lazarus.  Who washed Jesus’ feet at Lazarus’ house near the end of his ministry to prepare him for burial.  And the disciples jumped on the woman (Judas especially) because the perfume was expensive and could have been sold to make money.  This story is found in the Gospel of John.  But the woman in our story today her name was not given, and she washed and anointed Jesus’ feet in the home of Simon, the Pharisee in the book of Luke.  Shall we look at the text and see what this story teaches us.

36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 

37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 

38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 

42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 

45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 

46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

This woman had been through so much, seen so much, and did so much.  They referred to her as a sinner, which probably meant that she was a prostitute.  Which is something that she probably did not plan or want to become.  That is why the human trafficking issue in our world is such a huge problem.  These woman and men boys and girls are forced, manipulated, and made to do things that they would have never imagined or willingly do, and this may have been this woman’s situation.  That is why the old saying is true, don’t judge a book by its cover.  But in spite of it all Jesus saw her, saw what she could be, and He forgave her, He saved her, and He gave her peace!   And because he forgave her of so much, she loved and appreciated him all the more.  So before I move on, I want that to sink in for a moment.  Think of all the things that God has forgiven us for and will forgive us for.  Should that not make us want to love and please him more?  That is why Jesus told the story of the two people that owed the moneylender money.  One owed fifty denari and the other owed 500 denari, but neither one had the money to pay and the money lender forgave both of their debts.  And Jesus asked the question, which will love him more.  And Simon responds the one that owed him more. The same is true for the the woman in our story and for each and every one of us.  Because of our sin we all owe a debt that we cannot repay, but God has forgiven our debt.  God has wiped the slate clean.  

The more that God forgives us for the more we should love him.  

The more jacked up our lives are, we’ll love him all the more for delivering us.  Why else would this woman be kissing his feet, washing them with her tears, and using expensive perfume to anoint him, because she knew all that she was forgiven for, we need to take note of this act and apply it to our lives!  If you are saved, delivered, and redeemed you should be going all out for Jesus.

You see church in the story of the woman at the well we talked about what Jesus did for the woman and does for us.   Today I want to focus on what the woman who washed and anointed the feet of Jesus did because it serves as a great example of what we should do today in order for our best to be a product of our worst.  So let me share three things that the woman did that we must do so that our best can be a product of our worst.  Three things that can turn our ordinary into something extraordinary.

First, we must humble ourselves.  This is a very difficult thing for many of us to do because we think that we are more important than we actually are.  

Some of us actually think the world revolves around us

Some of us actually think that the show will not go on with out us

Some of us actually think that no one can do what we do

Some of us actually think that we are not replaceable (Bishop Clarke always says if you believe that you are not replaceable, just die and see how quickly they replace you!)

Some of us actually think that only we can do it

Some of us actually think that it won’t get done or it wont get done right unless we do it

Some of us actually think that we are the cat’s meow

Well I have news for you baby, you are not.  I am not!  We are not!

And just like this woman in the text we have to humble ourselves.  Do you have any idea what God can do with a humble person?  Let me give you a few examples

Noah was humble

Abraham was humble

Gideon was humble

Esther was humble

Ruth was humble

Daniel was humble

David was humble

Jeremiah was humble

Paul was humbled

And Jesus was the epitome of humbleness as he hung on the cross, bore our sins and said father forgive them for they know not what they do.

If our best is ever going to be a product of our worst we must be willing to humble ourselves.

First we must humble ourselves.  Secondly, we must have a heart to serve.  This woman came into a Pharisee’s house knowing she was unwelcome, but she had a heart to serve.

Knowing that she would be talked about, but she had a heart to serve.  

Knowing she would be ridiculed, but she had a heart to serve.  

Knowing she would be stared at, but she had a heart to serve.  

Knowing that she could be thrown out, but she had a heart to serve.  

She wanted Jesus to know that she appreciated everything that he had done for her and would do for her, and she did this by having a heart to serve.  

She didn’t go to ask him for anything.  

She didn’t go to get on his good side.  

She didn’t go to be seen.

She didn’t go for the attention.

She didn’t go for recognition.

She didn’t go so she could say she saw Jesus.

She went because she had a heart to serve.

Let me ask you a few questions.  

Do you have a heart to serve?  

If so, what are you doing?

What are you doing in and for the kingdom?

How are your serving?

In what capacity are you making a difference?

How are you showing the love of Jesus Christ?

Are you open to all or are you judgmental and convicting?

Are you giving to the needy or are you hoarding it all for yourself?

Are you lending a helping hand or are you lining your own pockets?

Are you helping people up or kicking them while they are down?  That’s what the Pharisee was doing in the text, he was kicking her while she was down.  Do you know what type of woman is touching you?  As if he was God’s gift to the kingdom.  I know Jesus probably thought you think I don’t know who this woman is?

If our best is going to be a product of our worst, we have to have a heart to serve, and then we must actually serve.  And not just within the four walls of the church!  

We must have a heart to serve in our community 

In our neighborhoods 

In our city

In our schools

On our street

On our block

On our job

In our family 

In our friendships

In our circles of influence

In every area and arena of our lives we must have a heart to serve.

First we must humble ourselves.  Secondly, we must have a heart to serve.  Lastly, we must hear the savior.  Listen to the last few things that Jesus told this woman.  

Your sins are forgiven.  

Your faith has saved you.  

Go in peace.

Many people struggle with hearing the savior.  As a teacher I see it every single day!  People just don’t listen.  I believe that anything this woman did from that moment on was blessed because she heard the savior.  

He told her, you sins are forgiven.  Does anybody remember the moment you realized that your sins were forgiven.  The moment you truly understood the words to that old song Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe.  Sin had left a crimson stain, but he washed it white as snow.  He told her your sins are forgiven.

The he told her,  your faith has saved you.  This is one of the great mysteries of our Christian walk.  We can do nothing to earn our salvation it is freely given by faith.  Yet and still this act of faith that this woman displays by humbling herself and having a heart to serve let’s Jesus know just how real her faith is.  I guess that is why James said faith without works is dead.  In other words, your faith saves you and that same faith that saves you should cause you to do good words, but we do not do good works to get saved.  We do good works because we are saved!

He told her to go in peace.  

That means that she could move forward without being haunted by her past.  

She could move forward without looking over her shoulder.  

She could move forward knowing that her past does not determine her destiny and at the same time realize that her best is a product of her worst.  

She now has that peace that passes all understanding!

No wonder she had no problem humbling herself or having a heart to serve.  There is so much freedom in our sins being forgiven, our faith saving us, and having peace.  That is why Paul tells the church in Corinth, where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.  Is there anybody in the room excited about the fact that you are free.  I’m free…  And you are free because you hear the savior.

You hear the savior tell you he loves you

You hear the savior tell you, its ok, come back home

You hear the savior tell you I will never leave you or forsake you

You hear the savior tell you it doesn’t matter what you did

You hear the savior tell you greater is he that is in you than her that is in the world

You hear the savior tell you, you can do all things

You hear the savior tell you, you are more than a conqueror 

You hear the savior tell you that nothing is impossible for him

You hear the savior tell you you’re forgiven

You hear the savior tell you your faith has saved you

You hear the savior tell you go in peace

Your best us a product of your worst when you hear the savior!

So that is why the song by CeCe Winans, Alabaster Box is so powerful even to this day.  Because even though she was referring to Mary the sister of Lazarus, the message is still the same.

The room grew still

As she made her way to Jesus

She stumbled through the tears

That make her blind

She felt such pain

Some spoke in anger

Heard folks whisper

There’s no place here for her kind

Still on she came

Through the shame that flushed her face

Until at last she knelt before his feet

And though she spoke no words

Everything she said was heard

As she poured her love for the master

From her box of Alabaster

And I’ve come to pour

My praise on Him like oil

From Mary’s Alabaster Box

Don’t be angry if I wash His feet with my tears

And I dry them with my hair

You weren’t there the night He found me

You did not feel what I felt

When He wrapped His loving arms around me

And you don’t know the cost

Of the oil in my Alabaster box

I can’t forget the way life used to be

I was a prisoner to the sin that had me bound

And I spent my days

Poured my life without measure

Into a little treasure box

I thought I found

Until the day when Jesus came to me

And healed my soul with the wonder of His touch

So now I’m giving back to Him

All the praise He’s worthy of

I’ve been forgiven and that’s why

I love Him so much

And I’ve come to pour

My praise on Him like oil

From Mary’s Alabaster Box

Don’t be angry if I wash His feet with my tears

And I dry them with my hair

You weren’t there the night He found me

You did not feel what I felt

When He wrapped His loving arms around me

And you don’t know the cost

Of the oil in my Alabaster box

I just want to know if there is a anybody in the room and online that wants to poor out your praise like oil from an alabaster box for all that God has done for you….

Look at your neighbor and say you don’t know what God has done for me

You don’t know what he saved me from

You don’t know what he pulled me out of

You don’t know how he made ways for me

You don’t know how many times he picked me up

You don’t know how many times he turned me around

You don’t know how he place my feet on higher solid ground

You don’t know how far I went

You don’t know how lost I was

You don’t know how depressed I was

You don’t know how lonely I was or am

You don’t know how suicidal I was

You don’t know how many games I played

You don’t know how high I was

You don’t know how many tricks I turned

You don’t know how drunk I was

You don’t know how many people I scammed

You don’t know how low I fell

You don’t know the cost of my alabaster box

So I don’t know what you came to do

But I came to praise the Lord

I came to clap my hands

I came to stomp my feet

I came to do my dance

I came to lift my voice

I came to give him glory

Is there anybody here that knows that God is worthy to be praised

From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the name of Jesus is worthy to be praise!  

Because my best is a product of my worse. 


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