"Your hair! Your beautiful hair!"I love this scene in the screen adaptation of Little Women with Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, and Susan Sarandon. The first time I viewed it, I see this young woman sacrificing her one beauty out of a heart of love. The following passages in Scripture flooded my mind.
"Oh, Jo, how could you? Your one beauty."
Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, sheds light on a heart opened by the Lord. Martha is the one who invites Jesus into their home during His travels. Martha begins tedious preparations for her guest, as she is persuaded a good hostess should (she most likely has the gift of hospitality). Mary on the other hand, immediately plants herself at the feet of Jesus. Take note of that…the first time we get a glimpse of Mary, she is at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10:39). He is bringing her good news, as Isaiah prophesied,
“How lovely on the mountainsThen we have another biblical account of a sinner woman, who is most likely NOT Mary, though some have tried to make that connection. A possibility is that she is the woman who was caught in adultery and brought to Jesus to be stoned to death (while those who “caught’ her conveniently forgot to bring the man too as the Law demanded both their deaths, thus they were in violation of the Law.)
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'”
This woman caught in adultery had her shame made public and knew that physical death was her sentence. What did Jesus write in the dirt with His finger? Many have made guesses about listing the names and sins of the people standing there. My thought is perhaps he was writing the law that showed these “witnesses” against her were in violation of the very law they opportunely forgot to quote in its entirety. They took Scripture out of context to trap Jesus, but Jesus KNEW better.
“If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.” Deut 22:22.Whatever Jesus was writing seemed to convict their hearts of their own unrighteousness and not one was willing to remain a witness against her. Can you imagine how she felt? The Messiah is standing before her and the ugliest of her sin revealed. He is justified in condemning her. Yet He chooses mercy and love and forgives her. My guess is she became one of the women who followed Jesus, because when a woman is given that kind of mercy and love when all of her sin is exposed and forgiven, she would follow Him to the ends of the earth.
In Luke 7, we see a sinner woman enter into a Pharisee’s home. “Sinner” is most likely referring to this woman being a prostitute, because all sinned, but this was some type of publicly KNOWN sin.
In the era this event unfolded, they reclined at the table in a manner where they leaned head first into the table with an arm resting on the table and their body lies behind them. Thus, the sinner woman stood behind Jesus, at his feet and wept.
What is it about the feet of Jesus? The prophecy of Isaiah being fulfilled, “how lovely are the feet of Him who brings good news and salvation!” She wets His feet with her tears, which signifies a complete brokenness to weep that hard. The faucet of her soul is flowing. She then proceeds to wipe his feet with her hair.
One must comprehend what hair meant to a woman. It was her head covering before God and to this very day, her one beauty. Even the women of less beauty could have long, luxurious hair. She willingly muddies up her hair, losing possibly her “one beauty” to express devotion and gratitude to the Lord. This was the role of a servant and she humbly chose to be the servant of the Lord. She kisses his feet and anoints them with the vial of perfume she had brought forth.
A precious reminder of when Jacob (Israel) set eyes upon Rachel, the shepherdess, he kissed her and lifted his voice and wept. Jacob was running in fear from his deceit, still in the midst of his sin, when he saw the shepherdess, releasing the intense emotion of weeping and kissing her, as he saw a future and a hope. Now we have a sinner woman of Israel, who sets eyes upon the Shepherd and sees her future and hope.
Going back to Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, we later see her coming to the Lord in the midst of her grieving over Lazarus. She is so grieved in her soul, that she did not run to greet the Savior until He called for her. Where does she go? Once again, Mary goes straight to the feet of Jesus, as she is weeping.
Jesus moved in spirit, begins weeping too. It’s the first time in the Bible we see this “emotional” side of Jesus. Why is the Son of God weeping? Surely, He knew he was going raise Lazarus, so He was not grieving over the loss of Lazarus. In fact, He had intentionally delayed His coming for this opportunity to display the glory of God. Yet, His spirit stirred when He saw one of His devoted followers hurting. Does this not comfort you? To know that when we are in the depth of our pain, even though Jesus knows the victory to come, He still hurts with us, because He loves us. He empathizes with our pain. He does not have the attitude of the world to just “buck up and take it like a man.” He understands our pain and weeps with those who weep (Romans 12:15)
Our next example, we have Jesus at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus six days before Passover and his death. We find Martha serving and Lazarus reclining at the table with Jesus. Where is Mary in this picture? Once again, she is at the feet of Jesus. This time she is taking highly expensive perfume, it is worth three hundred denarii. We know from Matthew 20:2 that a denarius is a day’s wages. We have about 42 weeks of wages poured forth onto the precious feet of Jesus, and then wipes them clean and dry with her hair. The crowning glory (1 Cor 11:15) of a woman is wiping the feet of Jesus. Something even the male disciples had not volunteered to do until Jesus first washed their feet. She has just cast her crown to His feet! (Rev 4:10)
Last, but not least, we have Mary at the tomb. She is STOOPING, while weeping, and looking into the tomb. Did you catch the STOOPING part? Have you noticed this detail overlooked in paintings of this scene? Then Jesus approaches her. NOWHERE in the Bible does it state that she has yet stood up. So when she is weeping and begins clinging to him…where might she be clinging? May I suggest His feet? I cannot state this with certainty, but it seems highly plausible.
For many years, all I wanted to do was hug Jesus someday. I wanted to know what it feels like to be in the arms of love. Yet Scripture has a way of transforming a person. Now I want to join Mary and the sinner woman at the feet of Jesus. As gratitude consumes me, I too want to cast my crown at His feet for the overwhelming love He has bestowed upon a sinner like me.