By Dave Duris


Men often highly esteem what God abhors. Such were the Pharisees who took great efforts to appear justified before men, unaware that their hearts and detestable desires were known by God.

Luke 16:15
And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

In order to see what God highly esteems requires us to get the right perspective. To illustrate this we will look at two woman who expressed their love for Jesus Christ in extravagant ways.

Matthew 26:1-13
1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,
2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.
5 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.
6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
8 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.
12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.
13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

When the disciples saw the woman's lavish act they responded with indignation and called it wasteful. One could define waste as giving too much for something to little. The disciples primarily saw the value of the ointment, the woman primarily saw the value of Jesus and Jesus primarily saw the value to the woman's anointing of his body. This good work was so highly esteemed by Jesus that he proclaimed it would be recorded as a memorial to all future ages and in all places the gospel would be preached. The disciples' fixation on the value of the ointment and their self-righteous attitude led to their troubling the woman and wrongly judging her.

The woman's perspective was that Jesus was worthy of this extravagant act. Thus, she took this timely opportunity to honor him with her good work prior to his resurrection and glorification. Words can barely express the magnitude of the worth of our Lord and Savior. The future descriptions in the book of Revelation unfold the extent of his worthiness.

Revelation 5:11-13
11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Jesus not only saw the value of the woman's good work, but he also sees the value of our lives. This is despite the world's standards of what is deemed valuable.

Romans 5:8
But God commendeth [gave proof of] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

God gave his only begotten and valued Son for us when as sinners, we would be considered the lowest valued, and he did not consider it wasteful.

In the Gospel of Luke there is another record of a woman who expressed her love for Jesus Christ and who also received judgment and rejection from those around her. It is interesting to note how two extravagant expressions of love toward Jesus Christ evoked such negative judgments. These records help clarify the difference between what Jesus and men highly esteem.

Luke 7:36-50
36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Again we see how an individual's perspective determines how they respond to Jesus Christ. Due to the Pharisee's self-righteousness they primarily focused on the woman's status as a sinner and even questioned the status of Jesus Christ as a prophet. The woman, on the other hand, never said a word but humbly expressed her love for Jesus Christ by washing, kissing and anointing his feet. Jesus had to use a parable to illustrate to Simon the significance of her loving actions.

The woman was a worthless sinner in the eyes of the Pharisee, but Jesus gave him a very different perspective. Jesus asked Simon, “Seest thou this woman?” and gave him his viewpoint through the eyes of grace and revealed a highly esteemed lover. The woman was aware of her many forgiven sins, and she touched and honored Jesus with her humility and thankful expressions. When she left Simon's house that day, she had received salvation and peace. Simon's judgmental perceptions caused him to only see the woman's sins and respond to Jesus in a prideful and dishonoring manner. There was no recorded change in the life of this Pharisee from this encounter, which demonstrates how God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

The fact that the loving responses of these two woman to Jesus were so misunderstood and met with such resistance by self-righteous and judgmental people should reveal to us the importance of remaining humble and extending God's mercy and grace to others. Let our hearts be cleansed from worldly judgments and self-righteousness so we can glorify and honor him with extravagant love. Let us pray for spiritual perception to open our eyes to God's abounding mercy and grace in our lives so we can clearly pursue the good works which he highly esteems.   



Presented 11 February 2018 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana