I preached this sermon on a couple of occasions, but this particular version I preach at Merrywood Baptist Church in Statesboro, Georgia.
Marks of Pure Worship
36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
Pure Worship is…
I. PRECIOUS: [the alabaster box] (of such great value that a suitable price is hard to estimate ); costly – the idea of costly.
a. Luke gives us that information that the price of the alabaster ointment was three hundred denarius.
b. In other places in scripture we find that a denarius was equal to about one days wage.
i. If she did not eat for a 300 days she would have the money to buy it – unlikely.
ii. If she saved half of what she made in a day, half of a denarius it would have taken 600 days – this is becoming very valuable perfume.
iii. She is described as a sinner by the Pharisee implying that she was a woman that made her living by less than honorable means. As a sore in the sight of society will she be paid in a normal way? I don’t think so.
c. Pure worship is precious. The alabaster box is a representation that what we bring to God should be something “of such great value” that its price is hard to estimate, it is priceless to us, but it can serve as an appropriate symbol of our love for God.
II. POWERFUL: [the forgiveness of sins] – it changes our lives
a. The woman’s worship created an opportunity for Jesus to demonstrate that faith is what brings forgiveness.
b. That woman had to believe that there was a possibility that Jesus could do something for her.
c. You don’t do something if you don’t believe it.
III. PECULIAR: [the woman’s presence] – some won’t understand what it is; why we do it
a. What an odd scene. Here is this woman walking through the crowd…she probably got access to the house because the Pharisee that had invited Jesus was trying to show off.
b. But there was something that probably caught the attention more than just her presence there in that gathering. Paul tells us about the glory of a woman
…but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. (1 Corinthians 11:15, ESV)
c. Allow me just a moment to touch on this. It was common practice for women of that time to cover their hair in public if they were married. They were only to show their hair to their husbands.
i. The fact that this woman exposed her hair reveals to us that she was indeed a sinner, but more to the heart of the matter this woman was taking that which was her glory, the symbol of her womanhood and using it to wash the filth off Jesus’ feet.
ii. The only thing that the Pharisee could see was the woman. Jesus on the other hand looked beyond the sin, beyond the cultural rule, beyond the decorum of the day and saw the sincerity of her worship.
d. It is only when I recognize the depth of my sin that the miracle of God’s grace comes to cover the sin of my life.
e. Pure worship is peculiar because when the moment comes we have to be ready to let our hair done.
IV. PENETRATING: [the weeping] – it moves us to the core
a. The weeping was like that of rain storm. When we come into the presence of God are we moved to tears because of the wrong our sin had done to his holiness.
b. No one could deny that this woman knew who she was. She was honest enough with herself not to argue with the charge that she was a sinner.
i. There was not need to fight back. That was not why she had come. There was no longer a reason to hide.
ii. Any effort to hide would not conceal the truth of here condition from the world because the world already knew. We so often times hide from ourselves because we can face the truth.
V. PASSIONATE: [holding on for dear life] – we do it with all of our being
a. The touch…we do worship because is it something that we should do. Worship is done is such a way that when others look at us they would think that our lives depended on it if we didn’t.
b. The Pharisee lived by a strict set of rules that kept him separate from everyone and everything in his world. He would guard from touching something or being touched because he could afford to be contaminated.
c. This woman was passionate about what she was doing. The text does not do justice to what was happening. This woman was not just touching Jesus she was literally hanging on for dear life to his feet. She just couldn’t make herself let go. There was something different about this man.
VI. PERSONAL: [we are responsible] – we have to do it
a. This is the final point mark of pure worship. Only you can offer it to God.