I was reading one of my favourite incidents in the life of Jesus this morning.
In Luke 7:36-50 Jesus is invited to the house of a religious leader for dinner. All the good and the worthy of the town are there, when a woman rushes in. Luke simply says that she had lived "a sinful life". It's most likely that she was the local prostitute. In an act of extreme adoration she anoints Jesus feet with the most expensive perfume and, as she weeps, she kisses his feet and wipes them dry with her hair.
The whole incident is well beyond the bounds of respectability. There is an intimacy about it that left everyone there feeling very uncomfortable. But for this woman this is the best way that she can show how deeply she loves Jesus.
The disapproval of the other guests is tangible and Simon the host mutters 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 7:39)
Jesus' reply makes clear that she has behaved like this because she knows what she's really like and how God has loved her in Christ.
"...I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:47)
In other words, "Simon you don't think very much of me because you don't think that you need forgiving by God. You're a upstanding religious person in your own opinion. You're lovable, so you're not amazed that God would love you. You're worth it!"
"Whereas this woman knows how far she has fallen. She knows how little she deserves the love and forgiveness that I bring," says Jesus, "So she is utterly overwhelmed with my love and loves me in return."
The L'Oreal slogan is famously, "Because you're worth it!" The irony is that if you adopt our culture's overwhelming ideology of self-love, then you will never feel truly loved. Because if you're worth it, then being loved by anyone, even by God, is not an amazing privilege. It's your right!
But if you see how unlovely you are. How serious your sin is. Then you will feel the wonder of the love that God demonstrated when he sent Jesus to die to enable us to be forgiven.