Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Making a Scene

Women continue to show up in the story of Jesus in surprising, unexpected ways. We have been looking at this unfaithful woman for a couple of days and reimagining her story through the lens of covenantal unfaithfulness, but look at some of the other women who help to illustrate precisely the same point. 

There is the sinful woman who comes into Simon's house and anoints Jesus's head and/or feet with oil, rubbing expensive perfume into His flesh with her long hair. And everyone knows she's a whore. It's simply no secret. But what if she's not just a whore, but an image of the people of God - as women so often were throughout the Scriptures - and in this scene, she illustrates powerfully what Israel will do for this Jesus, this Messiah?

Jesus knew all along that He could never be known were it not for the witness of Israel, who, up to this point, has not been particularly stellar at such witnessing. Every time she seems to show something favorable of God to the surrounding nations, she just as quickly turns her back and becomes a disappointment yet again. A discouragement. A laughing stock.

Just look at how many times the leaders and prophets had to plead with God not to give Israel what she deserved because of how it would negatively reflect on Him, proving, perhaps, exactly what He was trying to demonstrate all along by recruiting a faithful people to be His witness to the world.

Now, we've got another unfaithful (sinful) woman in the picture and she's basically crashed this party. She's come into a house where she wasn't invited, walked straight into the center of everything, and made a spectacle of herself. Meanwhile, the homeowner and host of this shindig has failed to recognize even the most basic dignity of Jesus as a guest, let alone as a Messiah, and there doesn't appear to be much going on in the way of nudging Him to do anything Messiah-like.

Just the guys. Hanging out. Or whatever.

A few Pharisees here, a couple of commoners there, and this party is the epitome of all things chill, all things relaxed. It's pretty cool that Jesus decided to come to this house and hang out for awhile. It's pretty neat that He'd pick this group to spend His evening with. Nobody's that interested in rocking the boat by making it overtly religious or anything.

Except, of course, the woman.

She is the voice of Israel crying out in this moment. Sinful as she is, she cannot let this moment pass without doing something to demonstrate the true nature of the Son of God who graces them with His presence. And why?

It is an echo of what Jesus has said all along - that He has come not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. In other words, the testimony of even unfaithful Israel is absolutely vital to His mission. Without her witness, you would never know He was coming and you certainly could not recognize Him once He got here.

So this sinful woman barges in, busts open a flask of the most valuable oil she can find and anoints the Savior before His crucifixion. Because for all the things that Israel got wrong, for all the times she went astray, for every term of the covenant she failed to live up to and every witness she neglected to make, she's got one thing right: this is Him.

And it's important enough to make a spectacle of it. 

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