In Inspiration

The Fragrance of Grace

In Luke 7:36-50, The Bible tells the story of “The Sinful Woman” who anointed Jesus’ feet with very costly oil. This is a beautiful story, but over the years I’ve rarely heard the true depths of her sacrifice explained.

I’ve heard many times about the financial sacrifice of this woman. After all, the oil that she poured out on Jesus’ feet was worth a year’s salary! Even the disciples focused on the earthly value of this gift. They were appalled that someone like her would be so inappropriate and wasteful.

But even in focusing on the seeming extravagance of her actions, we can miss the deeper statement that they made.
This woman was well-aware of her position…in society, in the religious culture, and in God’s eyes. She knew both the depth of her sin and the deeper depth of her redemption.

It wasn’t just because she knew how sinful she had been that she worshipped Christ with such abandon, but more importantly, it was because she knew how completely she had been forgiven and changed…and she trusted that forgiveness with everything – not just with her eternal life, but with her very life and breath each day.

How do I know this? I know this because she burned every bridge she had. She poured out, not only what she possessed, but who she was…or had been, and the opportunity to ever be that again.

This woman was, first of all…a woman, and women had no rights – an unmarried, prostitute who had no hope of even her next meal if her ability to sell herself was taken away. Not only was the fragrance her future…her life-savings, but it was literally everything.

Back then, that oil…that fragrance was what advertised her “availability”. It was the only way that someone in the market place would know that she was a prostitute.

Without that fragrance, she had no livelihood.

So, not only did she pour out her possessions – a year’s salary – on Jesus’ feet, but she was literally pouring out her past and, more importantly, her future. She stated in that one act of worship her complete trust in God’s redemptive forgiveness and burned every bridge back to who she used to be in order to focus everything she had and was in following Jesus.

She made herself destitute rather than continuing to identify with her old life, even though she knew what it would mean for her. She recognized God’s sacrifice in redeeming her, even before the reality of the cross – even before seeing the lengths that God would go to in order to buy us back. She recognized the power of God’s forgiveness – that it was even powerful enough for her to forgive herself!

When we truly grasp the depths of God’s love and redemption, we will have no difficulty in burning every bridge that keeps us bound to our old selves.

We will refuse to continue to be slaves…prostitutes to the lie of the Enemy that tells us that we are too far gone for God’s grace – that we couldn’t possibly survive without selling ourselves – that God hasn’t paid every cent of our debt and set us free.

Remember His grace…and your freedom, and may you walk in that grace and freedom today and every day!

Peace to you,


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