Woman weepingOne of the things about Don Francisco’s songs is that they tell the story in a Bible passage from the point of view of a character in the story, which helps to make it more real. In this next story in this series, taken from Luke 7:36-50, we are shown how the pharisee who invited Jesus to his home may have viewed the whole experience. This pharisee decides to invite this local celebrity to lunch, to learn a little more about the man. Like most of the pharisees, he is suspicious of what Jesus is really trying to do, but is willing to suspend his concerns long enough to welcome him into his home.

So into this picture comes a woman who is stigmatized in that town because she is, apparently, a prostitute. They don’t stigmatize the men who visited her, but that is another story. Nevertheless, this woman arrives, and has had her heart pierced by something that Jesus has said (she most likely heard him teaching somewhere), and she intensely feels the weight of her sinful lifestyle. When she actually encounters Jesus in person, she is so overwhelmed that she falls to the floor, crying out because she is so convicted of her sin. 

The pharisee, concerned about her relationship with God, reaches out to the woman and tries to comfort her, right? No. He is offended that such a person should dare to even enter his house, and further offended that Jesus seems to not even care that she is touching Him, crying on his feet, and then wiping the tears with her hair. So much for this “prophet”, he concludes. 

And then the final blow comes to the pharisee. Not only are his views of Jesus shattered by His acceptance of this sinful woman, but Jesus personally admonishes him for his lack of hospitality. And then Jesus’ attention is drawn back to the woman, whose sin he forgives.

See the difference between the two. The pharisee, like many of us, looked at the woman and what she had done in the past, judged her, and outright condemned her. No chance at repentance, no forgiveness, only an absolute exclusion. We tend to do that, not only because of our disdain for the sin, but also possibly from fear that a connection with a person like that might lead others to believe that we also participate in that sin. And so, from fear or from a personal desire to separate ourselves from “those kind of people”, we miss on an opportunity to offer them the grace and love of God. 

Presenting the story in song, from Don Francisco’s 1981 album The Traveler, here is Beautiful To Me. Again, the audio Bible version used here is the 2002 dramatized NIV Audio Bible by Zondervan Publishing, read by Steven Johnston.

The crowds were in the streets that day when Jesus came to town
All the synagogue was there, and more from miles around
So I asked Him home to dinner, just to see what I could see
Of this famous local prophet from here in Galilee

And I don’t know just how that woman got into the room
But you couldn’t miss her gaudy clothes and her strong and sweet perfume.
She went straight to Jesus’ feet and stopped and stood right there
Then cried and wet His feet with tears, and dried them with her hair.

Now of all the women in my town none was more well known
For the flagrant sin she’d lived in, and the wickedness she’d sown.
But He didn’t move to stop her — it seemed this “prophet” couldn’t tell
That the woman who was touching Him was the kind they buy and sell.

And I had no idea just what this Jesus planned to do
When he said “Simon, there’s something I need to say to you.”
So I said “Teacher, if it’s on your mind then tell me what you will.”
But as He began to speak to me the room grew quickly still

He said “Take a good look at this woman now, in spite of all her fears
She’s kissed me and anointed me and washed my feet with tears.
She’s honored me and you’ve been only rude to me instead.
You gave no kiss of greeting, no anointing for my head.”

“And her sins were red as scarlet and now they’re washed away.
The love and faith she’s shown is all the price she has to pay
For the depth of God’s forgiveness, it’s more than you can see
And in spite of what you think of her, she’s beautiful to me.”

Now my anger flamed to hatred, I wanted nothing more
Than to take this “prophet” by the throat, and throw Him out the door
To act like God, forgiving sins, and then speak so to me.
This itinerant from Nazareth in back-woods Galilee.

But instead I sat and trembled, shaken to the core
The woman still was weeping as she knelt there on the floor
Jesus turned to her and said, “Your chains have been released
Your faith has saved you from your sins, rise — walk in peace.”

“Your sins were red as scarlet but now they’re washed away.
The love and faith you’ve shown is all the price you have to pay
For the depth of God’s forgiveness, it’s deeper than the sea
And no matter what the world may think, you’re beautiful to me.”

“Your sins were red as scarlet but now they’re washed away.
The love and faith you’ve shown is all the price you have to pay
For the depth of God’s forgiveness, it’s deeper than the sea
And no matter what the world may think, you’re beautiful to me.”

The Traveler, Don Francisco, 1981 You can purchase this music from      

the artist’s web site here.

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