Summary: Jesus contrasts the attitudes of the Sinful Woman and the proud Pharisee.
A family who moved into a new neighborhood had a late start one morning. As a result their six-year-old missed her school bus. Though it would make him late for work her father agreed to take her to school if she gave him directions. After 20 minutes of going in circles they finally arrived at the school, which turned out to be only a few blocks away from where they lived. Angrily, her dad asked why she drove him all over the place when the school was so close to home? "We went the way the school bus does," she said. "That’s the only way I know."
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every one us followed the way of Jesus Christ simply because it was the only way we knew? Wouldn’t it be marvelous if when we should take a long look at life for what life is, all we could see is Jesus Christ? Here in the text, a luxurious banquet given by Simon, a leader among the Pharisees in Galilee. He had invited Jesus to dinner because important people invite important people to dinner. When an important man like Jesus shows up at the synagogue, it was expected that an important person in the synagogue would invite Him to dinner. Jesus was the guest of honor; during these times dining was done very differently than what we today are used to.
The attendees would recline on one of the couches placed around a U-shaped table. And being that it was a public dinner, people from off the street would simply wander in and sat on one of the benches that circled the room so that they could hear the conversation and debate concerning the important issues of the day that would occur during the meal. Most of the people there came in order to see Jesus, most of the people were curious about Him because they heard stories about things He said and done. Perhaps the most curious was the host of the banquet, Simon the Pharisee, in fact Simon was extremely curious about Jesus and so this was the primary reason for the banquet—it was given to appease Simon’s deep curiosity. Simon wanted to see what he could see. Allow me to ask a question, it’s kind of personal but I’ll ask it anyhow—when you come into the house of God what do you come to see?
Some people come strictly to hear the choir sing and to see who will lead this song or that song. Some come to see what others are wearing, some come to see if they can walk away with some juicy gossip. Sometimes you can clearly identify who they are because just when the pastor takes to the pulpit in order to preach the Word that is when they put up what we just to call that old Baptist finger as a sign they are quietly tipping out because they saw all they wanted to see. What do you come to see in Church on Sunday? Well it ought to be no one but Jesus Christ. However, this was not the case with Simon the Pharisee. Yes he did want to Jesus but not for the right reasons. He was hoping to expose violations of Hebrew law regarding the washing of hands before meals? He believed Jesus might be a prophet, but he was hoping to learn more during the meal? His early condemnation of the Savior revealed a need of understanding and concern. He was a typical Pharisee whose life was dominated by tradition. And so, let us first look into what Simon the Pharisee saw that day.
1. WHAT SIMON THE PHARISEE SAW
He couldn’t stand for anyone to come around and try to break the tradition of the elders—and he wanted to see for himself if Jesus would do so. And so he invited Jesus, without welcoming Jesus if he actually welcomed Jesus it would be from the heart and not out of curiosity or deceit. Simon the Pharisee was not a good person at all; he was filled to the brim with righteous indignation. He was a narcissist and a bigot. Simon was very judgmental and extremely rude to of all people the actual Son of God!
As we continue to read this portion of Scripture it is quite clear that Simon was very skeptical of Jesus Christ. He was not even sure if Jesus was a prophet, much less the Messiah (v.39). Regardless of his skepticism and his desire to disprove Jesus. Simon appears to be a man who loves being in the company of celebrities, and his mind Jesus was a celebrity. He heard so much about Him, and wanted to see what all the excitement over Him was all about. He wanted to meet Jesus on an informal and somewhat friendly basis. If Simon were alive today it is quite possible that he would be featured on the TV series, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” because the house of Simon was a house of the rich. The house of rich during this time always included an open courtyard, which was usually situated in the center of the house. Better yet, the house itself was built around an open courtyard. Such as the case in this text, it was completely normal sometimes for the host to allow the public to stand around and listen to the discussions and debates. It was sort of like the Oprah show or the View, especially when a rabbi or celebrity is the guest of honor.