Jesus was once having dinner with a religious leader when suddenly, in walks a woman who had a reputation for living a sinful life. She is at Jesus feet, sobbing. She washes Jesus feet with her tears and dries them with her hair, kisses his feet and anoints them with perfume.
It was an incredible humbling and extravagant act of gratitude. She had found redemption. She had found grace. She had found forgiveness. (Read the full story below)
I have been sharing this story for a month or more at my nursing home concerts. This story inspired a new verse to a song that I have been singing to my girls for the past several months. It is extremely popular around our house and currently my two year old’s favorite song. I am sure you know it as well. “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.
There is hardly a day that goes by that my Emma doesn’t ask me to sing this song to her. Sometimes she drags my guitar or Ukulele across the room to have me play it for her.
Here is the new verse:
“Those who’ve been forgiven more,
respond with love to the Lord,
So remember all the grace He’s given to ya.
He pursues you when you go astray,
When you choose wrong and lose your way
Forgiveness gives you back your Hallelujah!”
I love those last few lines and have felt the Holy Spirits smile and presence at times when I sing it. Forgiveness gives you back your Hallelujah!
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From the Gospel of Luke:
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
“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, 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.”” (Luke 7 NIV)
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