A Contemplative Lenten Experience: Forgiven

Feb 24th 2021

Scripture: John 12: 1-11 (The Message)

12 1-3 Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house.
4-6 Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, “Why wasn’t this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces.” He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.
7-8 Jesus said, “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don’t always have me.”
9-11 Word got out among the Jews that he was back in town. The people came to take a look, not only at Jesus but also at Lazarus, who had been raised from the dead. So the high priests plotted to kill Lazarus because so many of the Jews were going over and believing in Jesus on account of him.

Here is the woman at Jesus’ feet . Her tears wash Jesus’ feet. The aroma of her repentance rises before God even as she wipes Jesus’ feet with her hair.

This is a visual of the woman at Jesus’ feet. What is one thing you noticed when you saw this visual? Was it the tears falling on Jesus’ feet? Did you notice the tresses of her hair, uncovered? or did you notice the symbols of aroma rising from her tears?

Continue your gaze on that one element of the visual that caught your eye as you read the passage once more.

Carry on a conversation with God about the element that caught your attention. Feel free to ask Him your questions. Wonder in His presence about this scene, the episode you just read.

Now take a look at the entire image. Picture yourself within this context.

In ancient Israel it was customary for the guests of the house to provide water to wash the feet of those who enter. Walking on dusty roads with open sandals people carried a lot of dirt and dust on their feet. The hosts were permitted to add a drop of perfume to this water of cleansing to enhance the cleaning.

However, this incident recorded in the Bible indicates that there was a whole jar being used to wash/anoint Jesus’ feet. This was considered wasteful.

Were the disciples confused by Jesus’ teachings on carrying for the widows and the poor? Were they confused between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law? Whatever their focus was Jesus stands up for the woman. He sees her heart and forgives her.

But what caused the woman to shed tears at Jesus’ feet. What caused her to use her hair to wipe away those tears and anoint Jesus with the perfume.  Was she emotionally grateful for something Jesus had done for her? Was she saddened by some decision she had made? Or was she making sure her chosen Rabi was protected and cleaned? Did she wipe Jesus’ feet with her hair so others would not notice her tears. Her actions flowed from her need for forgiveness and her desire to express her love for Jesus and Jesus met her need and received her devotion.

Jesus’ love is sooo soo deep and so very personal.
The deepest, darkest mistakes and bad decisions are forgiven when they are set at Jesus’ feet. The aroma of repentance rises before god’s presence because of His deep love for us.

God offers forgiveness to all who come to Him in sincerity. Your prayers before His feet will rise up as a fragrant offering (Rev. 5:8). Simply come to Jesus.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank you for your mercy towards us. Thank you for forgiving us of our sin and allowing us into your presence. Help us Holy Spirit be sincere in our worship. We love you and we pray this in your matchless name, Jesus. Amen

music by Debbie Wong, Debbie is an artists and theologian you can read more of her work at

Published by Sujatha

Wife to a highly creative man, Uday Balasundaram who is passionately in love with Jesus and a mother to 2 precious little ones, Nadira and Aradhya.

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