What We Have in Common with Mary Magdalene

Have you ever known someone who knew everything about 
you . . . but loved you anyway? 

That was Jesus. 

I’d heard him preach. Lots of times, from a distance. He talked about the kingdom of heaven, and oh, he made it sound so wonderful – like he’d been there, just the other day . . . “In my father’s house are many mansions. . .” 

But I knew I’d never see it. Too many sins. And too many demons, always at war within me. I followed him, but on the outskirts. He drew me in, in spite of myself. 

I watched him laugh with the children. I could tell he loved them. You can’t fake that. He’d gather them up in his arms and hold them close, then he’d whisper something in their ear. And they’d smile. Every time. 

I watched how he walked among the people – sick people, blind people, lepers even, and healed them. Why would he, a rabbi, touch them? They were unclean. Outcasts. The slum dogs of society. 

And then he cast the demon out of that little boy. That's when I began to hope. Maybe, just maybe, he could help me. 

So I waited. Until he went to Simon’s house. 

 And I brought my most precious treasure – ointment for his head. But when I cracked it open, my heart cracked open too. Standing there, him so pure and holy, and me so unclean. How could I dare to stand in his presence? 

My knees gave way, and I crumpled to the ground, oil sloshing onto his feet. He was looking at me – everyone was looking at me – but I couldn’t raise my eyes. My sin stood hopelessly between us. 

But then I remembered the blind man, and the lame man, and the leper. And my heart cracked open more. I began to weep, my tears mingling with the dust on his feet. 

That dirt – I knew it was a picture of my sin. This God/Man had walked the world and allowed the sin of us all to cling to him, yet it never became part of him. It washed right off. 

The more I sobbed, the more my repentant tears flowed. I knew I was making a scene, but I couldn’t help it. The fragrance of the oil permeated the room as I rubbed it onto his feet. My tears made silver trails on his dark skin. “ 

“Leave her alone. . . . she’s anointing me for my burial.” 

I heard his words, but they sounded far away and otherworldly

These feet . . . feet that had walked a hundred miles to search for the lost sheep of Israel. I loved those feet – the the part of him that was most like me – dirty. And calloused. And . . . human. I kissed them over and over again as gratitude filled my heart to bursting. 

 “Simon.” His voice again – tender and tired. “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 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?” 

Then Simon’s voice, squirmy and self-righteous. “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” 

My tears, and the oil, and the dirt had puddled around those sacred feet. I reached for a towel, only to find I had none. Desperate to clean the mess I’d made, I fumbled with the tie that held my hair back. Grabbing a handful of my hair, I wiped frantically at the fragrant mess, trying to remove the evidence of my bold indiscretion. 

“I came into your house,” I heard him say to Simon. “You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.” 

I felt his fingers, rough from work, touch my face. Tenderly he raised my chin. I wanted to run, but a force stronger than fear held me in place. I waited for the condemnation I knew would come. 

 “I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 

I heard his words, but they made no sense. 

“Your sins are forgiven,” he repeated to my disbelieving ears. 

“Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” 

As we move ever closer to Easter, it’s good to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. 

As we follow him to the cross, it’s appropriate to ask: Have you ever seen your sin for what it is? Not a mistake or an indiscretion, but the thing that stands between you and a holy God? 

Have you, like Mary Magdalene, come to Christ in humility and repentance, wanting only to be cleansed? 

Have you believed, by faith, that Jesus has the power to forgive your sin and transform your life? 

Have you accepted his gift of forgiveness? 

If you have, then the words Christ spoke to Mary belong to you as well: 

“Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

If you’d like to share what God has done in your life, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below and join the conversation. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment.

(You can find this story in Luke 7:36-48.)

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  1. Hi Lori, wow, such a powerful post. I loved reading it.
    God bless

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Tracy, and for reading. I’m so glad the Lord used it to bless you :)