The Gospel of Luke | Alabaster Jars | Luke 7.36-39 |

by | Mar 23, 2021

“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Luke 7.36-39

[Alabaster, fine-grained, massive gypsum that has been used for centuries for statuary, carvings, and other ornaments. It normally is snow-white and translucent but can be artificially dyed; it may be made opaque and similar in appearance to marble by heat treatment.] (

Jesus was at the house of one of the Pharisees. A man of certain prominence and importance. He was invited so Jesus went and as the Scripture says, “He was reclining at the table.” Now our tables were different than the tables of early Jews. The Jews would sit crossed legged, on the ground, below a very low table. When it says “she stood behind him at his feet weeping,” he must have been sitting on his knees with his torso facing forward and his feet away from the table.

This woman does the unthinkable. Even in todays’ standards. She who is unholy, of a lower station than Jesus, approaches him and washes his feet with an alabaster jar filled with perfume. Then she wipes his feet with her hair, kissed them and poured the perfume on them. The Pharisee is shocked at this act of extravagance and insulted because he knew the woman to be a sinner and she was touching the feet of this respect teacher.

Jesus brings humanity into balance. He does not value a person based on their position in life. The Pharisees were well regarded, yet this woman, was in a lower cast, mostly likely using all of her wealth on the perfume in the jar made of alabaster.

Now I’ve offered the definition of alabaster above because I believe it signifies how God sees this woman. Though she was a sinner, she was a beautifully created child of God. Her show of homage to Jesus reflected her need for repentance. Jesus received her confession in her act of obedience and worship.

The truth is, we too are sinners, saved by grace, standing at the throne of God, offering him our confession and our worship. The level of our outpouring to God reflects the level of our need.

What is your need today? How will you show your love for Christ? Will you demonstrate your love in faithfulness, worship, obedience or servant hood? How can we exhibit how much we love Jesus right now?

“O Lord God, you are good. Even when my love fails, your love remains steadfast. Even when I become an emotional and spiritual mess, you still save me, love me, guide me and lead me into the paths of righteousness. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill us with your power and love. Help us know the truth of your word and the mercy in your words. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen