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IBC Women’s Ministry Blog – October 5, 2023

IBC Women’s Ministry Blog – October 5, 2023

God Holds Your Tears

By Susan Smith

From “Jesus & Women” by Kristi McClelland.

The Middle East is a culture of honor/shame, hospitality, and communal living. It would actually be shameful to refuse someone hospitality. In Jesus’ time, norms of hospitality included:

  • A welcome kiss
  • Washing of feet
  • Olive oil for hands
  • Special oils for anointing the head of an honored guest
  • A place for outcasts, sinners, and poor to sit away from the table, behind the guests, possibly against the wall so to receive leftovers from a meal

Table fellowship was very important. At the table, the guests would lay on their left side, facing the host at the head of the table and eat with their right hand. So those, against the wall would be by the person’s (who was laying) feet. Also part of culture was a woman’s hair was her glory. It was said by some that a woman’s hair gave vibrations that could arouse, mislead and corrupt men. Women could be divorced with no financial support if they had their hair unbound while talking to a man that was not their husband or if their hair was unbound in public. This sets up the scene for Luke 7:36-50 where Jesus is at the table of a Pharisee’s house. A woman comes to Him and

  • Is weeping
  • Anoints His feet with perfume
  • Wets His feet with her tears
  • Wipes His feet with her hair
  • Kisses His feet

The Pharisee sees this as shameful, but Jesus rebukes the Pharisee and lifts the woman up. Jesus completely rearranges the room with his response to this woman in this honor/shame culture as He brings justice and righteousness to this woman. He teaches that she is the one showing sincere hospitality while the religious leader is ignorant of His way.

“You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” Psalms 56:8

Jesus valued this woman’s tears. Psalms tells us God holds our tears. The Jewish women would bottle their tears in tears jars. Did this woman bring a tear jar to pour on Jesus’ feet? I’m not sure, but I still know God holds her tears and our tears. It probably looked like that woman was having a breakdown, but Jesus could handle it. Jesus can handle our breakdowns. Jesus cares for our tears. He cares for us.

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