Welcome, friend. Today we’re going to explore the biblical accounts of those who showed their love and devotion to Jesus by kneeling and kissing His feet. This intimate act of worship reveals deep truths about Christ’s nature and the transforming power of His grace. As we examine these stories, may your heart be filled with fresh awe and gratitude for our Savior.
Kissing someone’s feet is an act of utmost humility and reverence. In ancient Near Eastern culture, people would kneel and kiss the feet of kings, masters, and others in authority over them. By doing this, they showed complete submission, loyalty, and honor.
This same posture of humility before Christ is modeled for us by those who literally knelt and kissed Jesus’ feet when He walked this earth. Though we don’t have the privilege of bowing before Jesus in the flesh today, these passages invite us to adore Him from our hearts with the same humility and passion.
- Kissing Christ’s feet expresses reverence for His authority and lordship
- It demonstrates complete humility and dependence on God’s mercy
- The act reflects deep devotion and love for who Christ is
- We can adore Jesus now with the same humility as those who bowed before Him then
As we explore the biblical accounts, we’ll reflect on how Jesus responds to this worship and what it reveals about His compassionate heart. We’ll also consider how we can demonstrate the same wholehearted love in our relationship with Him today. May your wonder and passion for Christ increase as we navigate these stories together!
A Sinful Woman Anoints Jesus’ Feet
One of the most beautiful accounts of someone worshipping at Jesus’ feet is found in Luke 7:36-50. Jesus was invited to dinner at the home of Simon, a Pharisee. As they reclined at the table, a woman from the city who was known to be a sinner came in with an alabaster flask of perfume. The passage says:
As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. (Luke 7:38)
This woman, though rejected by society, displayed outrageous love for Jesus. Overcome with emotion, she wept over His feet, dried them with her own hair, kissed them repeatedly, then poured her expensive perfume over them. This intimate act expressed her humility, gratitude, and devotion to Christ.
Simon the Pharisee was appalled that Jesus would allow such a sinful woman to touch Him. But Jesus perceived his judgmental attitude and responded with a parable about forgiveness. He contrasted Simon’s lack of hospitality with the woman’s acts of love. Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven…Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:48, 50)
This woman showed that it’s never too late to humbly surrender your heart to Jesus. She was willing to courageously humble herself, repent of her past, and extravagantly worship the One who offered her new life. Her actions speak volumes about the transformational power of Christ’s forgiveness and grace.
Reflection: Do you identify more with the prideful Simon or the humble, repentant woman? How can you express your devotion to Jesus as sincerely as she did? Take a moment to speak words of love and adoration directly to Christ.
Mary of Bethany Anoints Jesus’ Feet
A similar account of foot-washing worship is found in John 12:1-8. Jesus was dining at the home of Lazarus, whom He had recently raised from the dead. Lazarus’ sister Mary brought an expensive jar of perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet, wiping them with her hair.
The fragrance filled the house, sparking indignation in Judas and some confusion among the other disciples. But Jesus rebuked them, saying:
Leave her alone…She has kept this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. (John 12:7-8)
Mary’s act proclaimed Jesus’ impending death but also her willingness to sacrificially honor Him. It reflected her discernment of Christ’s true identity as the anointed Messiah and her wholehearted devotion to Him.
Like the sinful woman, Mary courageously expressed extravagant love for Jesus. She recognized that worshipping Christ takes priority over any social pressure or personal reservation. Her adoration fills the room with perfume just as our praise fills God’s throne room with delight.
Reflection: How much are you willing to embarrass yourself in your worship of Jesus? What priorities or fears hold you back from extravagant devotion? Tell Jesus you choose to worship Him with Mary’s abandon.
A Sinful Woman Anoints Jesus’ Head
Luke chapter 7 describes a woman anointing Jesus’ feet, while the account in Matthew 26 and Mark 14 describe a woman pouring perfume on Jesus’ head. Are these conflicting reports of the same event? Or did two different women anoint Jesus on separate occasions? Scholars offer reasonable arguments for both views.
In Matthew and Mark’s account, Jesus was reclining at a meal in Simon the Leper’s home when an unnamed woman came with expensive perfume in an alabaster jar. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume on His head.
Some disciples became angry, complaining that the perfume could have been sold to help the poor. But Jesus rebuked them:
Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her. (Matthew 26:10-13)
Once again, the woman’s sacrificial worship points to Jesus’ impending death. He honors her expression of costly devotion, promising it will be remembered forever.
Whether this is Mary of Bethany or another woman, it’s a beautiful picture of lavish adoration for Christ. This woman seized the opportunity to extravagantly bless Jesus while she still could. Her courage silences criticism and receives the Savior’s commendation.
Reflection: Is there a “now or never” opportunity to honor Jesus you’ve been hesitating to take? Ask God for courage to express your worship without reservation.
The Sinful Woman Who Wept at Jesus’ Feet
Yet another account of a woman worshipping at Christ’s feet is found in Luke 7:36-50. Could this be a third separate event? Or does Scripture contain progressive retellings of the same story? Let’s explore key differences that suggest these are distinct occasions.
In Luke 7, a notorious sinner weeps over Jesus’ feet at a Pharisee’s house, dries them with her hair, and kisses them repeatedly before anointing them. The focus is on the sensual intimacy of her worship, as she overcomes social barriers to humble herself before Him. Here Jesus emphasizes the meaning of her lavish devotion contrasted with Simon’s judgmental coldness.
In Matthew/Mark, the woman pours perfume on Jesus’ head at Simon the Leper’s house, prompting protest from the disciples. Here the focus is on the costliness of her sacrificial worship in light of Christ’s burial. Jesus highlights the eternal honor her gesture earns.
In John 12, Mary specifically anoints Jesus’ feet, and Judas (not the other disciples) objects. The emphasis is Mary’s discernment of Jesus’ true identity and the lingering aroma of her adoration.
Each account offers a unique portrait of extravagant, countercultural worship of Christ. Together they paint a vivid picture of the beauty of unhindered devotion. What they all have in common is the humility, abandon, and sacrifice displayed by women who courageously adored their Lord.
Reflection: Have you been timid in your expressions of worship toward Christ? Be inspired by these women to honor Jesus in fresh, abandon ways. Brainstorm creative ideas, then try one this week!
The Woman Who Touched Jesus’ Feet
There’s one more account where a woman kneels and touches Jesus’ feet. In Luke 8, as Jesus was teaching a crowd, a chronically ill woman reached out and touched the hem of His robe in faith, and was healed.
Luke records that when Jesus asked who touched Him, the woman came trembling and fell at His feet. She told Him the whole truth about her condition and healing. How did Jesus respond to this vulnerable posture of humility?
Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” (Luke 8:48)
Even in the midst of a crowd, Jesus honored her courage and worshipped with gentle compassion. The Messiah who deserves universal honor stopped and comforted one trembling soul. Even our briefest touches of faith are felt in the depths of Jesus’ heart.
This woman didn’t anoint Jesus with perfume, but offered a precious gift – her raw, honest testimony. The healing in her body was nothing compared to the healing in her soul. At Christ’s feet, she found acceptance, affirmation, and a new identity as a beloved daughter.
Reflection: Bring your own trembling, imperfect faith to Jesus. Tell Him your heart as honestly as this woman did. Receive His compassion and affirmation.
Mary Magdalene Clung to Jesus’ Feet
One final woman who demonstrated dramatic worship at Christ’s feet was Mary Magdalene. After Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to her in the garden where His tomb lay. Let’s examine her moving encounter with the risen Lord:
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:16-17)
When Mary realized it was Jesus, she immediately clung to his feet in relief and devotion. But Jesus redirected her from holding Him to sharing the good news. Still, take note of her instinctive response in a moment of crisis: she grasped the feet of her Lord.
Even after facing the horror of Jesus’ death, Mary’s adoration compelled her to fall before Christ’s feet at the first opportunity. The resurrection sealed her unwavering worship, creating a bond that not even death could break.
Reflection: Ask God to deepen your devotion to Jesus until He’s the one you turn to instinctively in moments of crisis or celebration.
Bowing Low Before Our Risen King
As we’ve traced the steps of these devoted women, I hope your heart has been stirred to worship Christ with fresh humility and abandon. Though we don’t literally have the privilege of bowing at Jesus’ feet today, we can demonstrate the same loyal reverence expressed by these courageous worshippers long ago.
In fact, Scripture says a day is coming when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11) All creation will finally bow before the worthy Lamb upon His throne.
Until that glorious day, will you commit to humbly kneel in your heart before your King today? Will you pour out your most precious perfume – your time, resources, talents, and deepest devotion – at His feet? Will you surrender your pride, fear of others’ opinions, and personal comforts to adore Jesus with complete authenticity?
Our Savior is worthy of so much more than we could ever give. But I pray these women have inspired you to begin wherever you are. Let everything in you cry, “Rabboni!” as you offer an extravagant sacrifice of praise to the One whose grace has rescued your soul.
Bow low, dear friend. The feet you adore today are the same feet that were pierced to carry you home.