One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. — Luke 7:37-38
In 1990, a romantic comedy, called Pretty Woman, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, hit the cinema screens in America. The movie was a disarming modern-day fairy tale—for adults only. Julia Roberts was Cinderella and Gere was her Prince Charming and it was the picture that made her a superstar for which she won an Academy Award. It also revived the hit song, “Oh, Pretty Woman,” by Roy Orbison performed a few years earlier. The movie was typical Hollywood but with possibly one redeeming quality—it offered its audience a secular look at redemption. A prostitute was given a chance to become a respectable woman because someone who loved her, cared and helped her begin a new life.
There is an interesting parallel in the gospel of Luke which took place when Jesus was invited to dine at the home of a prominent Pharisee named Simon. A prostitute showed up uninvited and she proceeded to kneel down at Jesus’ feet weeping and began, “to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” This sent shock waves through the other invited guests and Jesus was rebuked by his host because she was a “sinner.” Jesus responded by openly forgiving her sins, “because she loved much, she was forgiven much” (Luke 7:37-48).
What is a pretty woman? What makes a woman beautiful? In the eyes of every culture a woman is considered pretty or beautiful if she is physically attractive. Now Julia Roberts certainly is a pretty woman by all worldly standards but is she a pretty woman by God’s standards? I don’t know the answer to that in her case but I can tell you for sure what God’s standards are for a beautiful woman.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “beauty is only skin deep,” meaning that real beauty comes from what’s within a person. If a woman’s beauty exists solely from outward looks and not inward character, that’s all it is—it’s skin deep. In fact, in God’s eyes it’s no beauty at all. However, when a woman loves God, her purity, reverence, gentle and quiet spirit become the evident marks of her true beauty.
Husbands, our wives are our partners in this life. Yes, they are called “weaker partners” (1 Peter 3:7) but that’s primarily referring to physical strength—not intelligence, emotions or any other enhancing abilities that are unique to a woman. They are equal heirs with men of “the gracious gifts of life.” In other words, God created Eve with the same care that he created Adam—because she was just as special (Genesis 1:26-27). God makes no distinction. In fact, He warns us that to believe and treat them as inferior will hinder our prayers. Now that ought to get a man’s attention!
I’m so glad I married a truly beautiful woman sixty-four years ago! Her inner beauty has always made me look so much better than I really am—and has made her a stand out for God. I’m sure you guys out there feel the same way about your mates. Why not tell them so today—and tomorrow, too? Maranatha!
To help us to grow closer with God and to know Him better