For many of us living on the autism spectrum, it can be a lonely as well as bumpy ride. I didn’t know until my diagnosis a month ago as to why I felt out of step with my companions since as far back as I can remember.
For instance, I didn’t know any other kids my age who paced on the side of the house so often that they made a trail in the grass. I didn’t know any other teens who didn’t have a curfew. I don’t know why my companions enjoy hanging out with friends at noisy places. It’s okay to be different, but it isn’t all that easy to be the outsider in the corner.
The thought of the outsider reminds me of the story of a nameless woman in the Bible. She is identified by a description and it isn’t a flattering one — she’s called a “sinful woman”. Her story is a short one, but it got coverage by Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
This woman who had lived a sinful life heard that Jesus was in her town visiting a Pharisee by the name of Simon. She doesn’t waste time in heading to Simon’s house. When Jesus was on his earth, there were multitudes of people who sought to get a glimpse of the One who did amazing things that no other man could do. Some surely sought him for physical healing while others out of curiosity. But there’s no indication that this sinful woman needed physical healing. It couldn’t have been curiosity because she wouldn’t have needed to take with her an alabaster jar of perfume.
My thought is she was acting on a conviction on her heart. She was being directed where to go, who to meet, and what to do. Being human, she no doubt was tempted on her way there to make a u-turn such as “Have I lost my mind or what! Who am I with my sinful life to even be in the presence of Jesus? How do I know I will even get pass the door? How do I know Jesus won’t reject me and tell me to go away?” Whatever fears or doubts that might have risen in her mind, she overcame them and she did get pass the door.
She stood behind Jesus and started weeping. She was crying buckets because her tears fell upon Jesus’s feet. Why was she crying? Maybe over her sinful life. Perhaps “sinful” indicated she was a prostitute. Or, maybe, she wept because Jesus didn’t reject her and tell her to leave.
She then proceeded to wipe His feet with her hair and pour the perfume on His feet. It was a gesture showing love and respect. Simon, the Pharisee, was observing this and the woman’s tears didn’t melt his heart any. His thought was if Jesus were truly a prophert, He would know who is touching Him and what kind of a woman she was. I don’t know if Simon saw himself as a sinner, but if he did, he wasn’t as bad as a sinner as she was. It is so tempting to do what Simon did of looking down on someone else so that we can feel better about ourselves.
Jesus knew Simon’s thoughts but instead of calling him on the carpet about it, He instead tells an unsuspecting Simon a story. It was about a moneylender and two men who owed the lender money. One owed him five hundred denarii and the other fifty. Neither one had the money to pay the debt. The lender showed mercy by forgiving the debts of both. Jesus asked Simon which of the two loved the moneylender the most. Simon replied that he supposed the one who had the bigger debt cancelled. Jesus basically told him, “Right answer!” Then, Jesus proceeded to point out the woman to Simon who had done things for Him that Simon did not do.
Who do you suppose loved Jesus the most? Simon, the Pharisee, a member of the community, perhaps a respected member being that he was entertaining houseguests? Or, this sinful woman whom was looked down upon, at least, by Simon if not by the other guests in the room?
The woman’s actions prove she loved Jesus more. Simon had thought, “IF Jesus were truly a prophet,….” The word “IF” is a good indication that he wasn’t quite sure if Jesus was the One whom He claimed to be. When Jesus told this woman her sins were forgiven, the other guests began to wonder who this Jesus was who could forgive sins. It seems that the only one in the room who had no doubts about Jesus was the woman who lived a sinful life.
Perhaps one can find faith in people they’d never expect to find a morsel of it. People off the mainstream. Those not sitting in the inner circle but in a corner somewhere from a distance. People who seldom speak if at all, but their minds are churning away with amazing thoughts.
Jesus told the sinful woman that her faith had saved her and to go in peace. It doesn’t say what happened to this woman after she left Simon’s house. Maybe she turned over a new leaf or returned to life as she knew it.
We know very little about her and her story, but Jesus knew her entire story. Despite whatever her sinful life was all about, Jesus didn’t reject her. He didn’t just know about her past; He knew her heart. Jesus said she had loved much.
This woman could not have known that what she did that day was to be recorded in the scripture. Her story has been retold down through time to this present day and will continue to be told as long as God’s word is being read and taught. She may have been a nobody to Simon, but she was a somebody to Jesus. And, so we all are, whether you live on the spectrum or not.