People who see themselves for who they are.
Is it possible that prostitutes may have a better chance at salvation than many other people? One thing is for certain, no prostitute mentioned in the Bible argued their state of sinfulness. As you will see in this message, the prostitute at Simon-the-Pharisee’s house, did not protest the insinuations made on her character in that place. When Jesus revealed Simon’s negative thoughts about her, she did not rebut. In fact, there is no record that she uttered a single word about it. Also, when Jesus met another prostitute at the well, he told her that she was sleeping around with several men. She too, never denied her immoral behavior. And there are others – Rehab – The woman caught in adultery – none of whom rejected the idea they were sinful people. Even today, we see the same trend. The prostitute who allegedly slept with Donald Trump never disputed press releases claiming that she was a prostitute. Personally, I have never heard one of those people claim chastity.
Acknowledging sinfulness, a first step.
I can argue that this state-of-acceptance predisposes a person to acceptance of forgiveness. That frame of mind puts such people in the first stages of the process-of-salvation: acknowledgement of sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive” (1 John 1:9). Confession in that context is the same as acknowledging one’s sinfulness.
The bigger the sin acknowledged, the bigger the change.
It must also be noted that when Jesus encountered these people, their change was so much more drastic than others who thought themselves more religious. Jesus, upon meeting the-woman-at-the-well, she immediately left her wayward lifestyle and became an evangelist – baring the good news of Jesus Christ. Prostitutes were not the sole rejects of society. There were the tax collectors and those who did not agree with the religious elite. Zacchaeus was hated among his countrymen. He was a Jew who collected taxes for the Romans – colonizers of Israel. However, after meeting Jesus, he repented of all mistreatments he had dealt to anyone. Yet, that was not the case with the disciples who followed Jesus; nor was it the situation among the pharisees who were the more pious people around Jesus.
Jesus acknowledges the biggest sinner.
The feature in this narrative is drawn from Luke 7: 36 – 47. That passage highlights the behavior of a prostitute who invades a dinner hosted by a pharisee named Simon in honour of Jesus. In that event, the woman comes in and ministers to Jesus. She appears to know that something serious was about to happen to him. In the process, she weeps over his feet, using her tears to wash them and does the wiping with her hair. Then she anoints him with the most expensive perfume she could buy. Meanwhile, the other guests looked with disdain at the harlot for even touching him. In response, Jesus chastises the host for his demeaning thoughts about the woman. He draws a striking contrast between the woman on one hand, and the host and his disciples on the other – people who sought to criticize and dissuade her actions. Jesus highlights the fact that she had treated him with courtesy and honour; treatment that outdid the other guests and even the host. However, the most noteworthy remark by Jesus was the notion this woman’s action would be inseparable from the preaching of the gospel (Matthew 26:13).
It is amazing that Jesus made that proclamation about her and not others, even though his disciples were in the room. These were men who went on to perform great miracles after Jesus left. Simon the pharisee was also an esteemed religious man but was given no such recognition. The Irony of this matter is that the person considered the furthest from God was the most opened to receiving him. On the contrary, those who followed and ate with him, did not even understand his purpose.
The woman who acknowledged Jesus.
The woman recognized two things about Jesus that no other person in the room understood: (1) Jesus was indeed God with power to forgive (V. 47) – while everybody else was doubting his Lordship. In that frame of mind, she was more likely to ask for forgiveness. (2) Jesus was about to die for the sins of the world. That was the reason the contents of her alabaster box were used. It was to prepare his body for burial. This woman understood the purpose and mission of the Christ, while; the pharisee, a master teacher of the law and the prophet was oblivious. Also, the disciples, to whom he had announce his death on numerous occasions – did not get it. The most interesting thing in this whole story: the most sinful person in that room was the closest to salvation. So, the next time you see a prostitute or some seemingly unworthy person, remember that Christ died for us all, that we are no better than the worst among us.
The first step to accepting Jesus Christ as personal savior is to acknowledge our sinfulness – that goes for us all. Please confess your sins today.