One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” (Luke 7:36-40, ESV).
“And behold, a woman of the city.” Luke wants the reader to pay attention to the narrative that is unfolding. The woman in question is identified only as an adult woman. She belongs to the city in which these circumstances are taking place. The best location we can determine from the immediate context is the City of Nain (Luke 7:11).
Luke provides further detail in describing her only as a sinner. Her sinful behavior and lifestyle identified her. She regularly participated in the fulfillment of sinning. She was a harlot, a prostitute, and a woman of the streets. What a striking contrast between her and the Pharisee who invited Jesus to dinner. The woman was neither invited nor welcome. However, she would make the most impact on the dinner party.
“When she learned that he (Jesus) was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house…” The woman learned Jesus was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s (Simon’s) house. We do not know how she knew this, other than the fact that Nain was a small town and news of Jesus’ appearance would have cause quite a commotion.
When she learned Jesus was reclining to eat a meal, she brought an alabaster flask of ointment. An alabaster flask (ἀλάβαστρος) was a jar made of alabaster stone. Such a jar normally had a rather long neck which was broken off for the contents to be used. It served primarily as a container for precious substances such as perfumes.
The jar she carried contained ointment (Μύρον). The word refers to a strongly aromatic and expensive ointment: either a perfume or a perfumed oil. She carried this flask of ointment and stood behind Jesus at his feet weeping. The word for weeping refers to a deep lament expressing a great grief. This is a sorrowful woman and she comes to the only one who can rid her of the source of her sorrow.
It is at this moment that “…she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. (Luke 7:38 ESV). She continually wet Jesus’ feet with her tears with no intention of stopping.
In a subsequent and related issue, she wiped his feet with her hair. A woman’s uncovered hair was then socially inappropriate. To wipe with his feet with her hair was even more so. In an extravagant and unreserved expression of worship and love, the woman continually kissed Jesus’ feet while anointing them with the ointment.
The unrestrained worship by the woman would be in contrast to the critical commentary expressed by the Pharisee.
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It is most proper to begin a study of the “solas” by first examining the importance of Sola Scriptura. This is because the remaining “solas” rest upon the premise of the Scriptures being God’s sole and final authority. Therefore, the subsequent “solas” rise or fall on the basis of Sola Scriptura.
There were two causes for the Protestant Reformation: a material cause and a formal cause. The material cause was a dispute over the doctrine of justification by faith alone (Sola Fide). The formal cause was the disagreement over biblical authority (Sola Scriptura). The Reformers coined this phrase, Sola Scriptura, but certainly not this doctrine, when they rejected the two-source view of authority; meaning that the authority of church tradition is equal to the authority of the Scriptures.
Sola Scriptura is fundamentally opposed to relativistic individualism. In a culture wherein the individual reigns supreme, and churches pander to “keep the customer satisfied,” the doctrine of Sola Scriptura states that all individual ideas and behaviors must be in submission to, and aligned with, Scripture. This opposes those in the church, and the culture, who justify their sinful behavior, and consequently their disobedience to Scripture, with a self-centered perspective wherein the individual’s desires are preeminent.
The Alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars, and churchmen who hold the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today's Church.