Summary: Step into the shoes of those around the table at Simon’s house.
It was an invitation that I couldn’t refuse. Oh, I had received lots of invitations in my lifetime; invitations to weddings, invitations to parties, invitations to fund raising gatherings for religious organizations and political parties. But never an invitation quite like this one. It was an invitation I couldn’t refuse.
You see being a religious leader in my day, I simply just could not refuse the opportunity to meet with a group of my peers; to sit down at a dinner that was designed just for us to get to know this religious leader that the whole community was talking about.
Oh, we had all heard of his demonstrations of power. There was no doubt in our minds of what he was supposedly doing. We had heard, some of us, by word of mouth, and some of us, by the writings of others, that he had demonstrated his power over disease. Yes, he had healed the Centurion’s slave at Capernaum. We had heard of his power over death, because news reached us that he raised the widow’s son at Nain.
Now we had an opportunity. Who wouldn’t welcome the opportunity to get to know Jesus? Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to sit down at a dinner with him, around a table with him, to talk with him, to watch him? Well, I had waited with anticipation, and a great deal of anxious excitement for such an opportunity to come, and then I realized it was mine.
You see Luke has let us in. Luke left the door of Simon’s house open for us to come in and have dinner with Jesus; to get to know him and to watch him, as perhaps in this experience, he deals most powerfully with one of the most profound needs that all of us feel.
We all come to the feast with our established agendas. We all have our set of expectations. Some of us are going to leave the dinner delighted. Some of us will leave disillusioned. Perhaps, when we get to know Jesus, he is not who we wanted him to be.
As we recline at the table, with all these religious leaders gathered around us, the first thing that our eyes fall upon is the feast that is spread before us; all of those delicacies, those foods that are there for us.
Our eyes glance back and forth at the eyes of the other people around the table. We see the same longing in their eyes that we have in ours; that is that all of those things that they are saying about Jesus are really true; that maybe he is the Messiah, maybe he is the one who has come to be the Saviour of the world.
Then as with a single glare, all of the eyes focused upon that woman, that sinful woman who came in.
Oh, one minute we heard the chatter of curious, inquisitive voices, asking their questions and bantering around their comments and observations. And then, in a moment, there was that chill of silence, when nobody spoke a word.
We had the smell of the aroma of the meats and the fruits and the breads filling the air. Then, all at once, that pungent odor of a sweet, strong perfume came to our nostrils, and it filled the room. And it didn’t go away.
But with all of that very vivid in my mind, what happened there is what I will never forget.
You see, we all felt very comfortable at Simon’s house. Even though there were some who felt Jesus was being put on the spot, we enjoyed each others company. We were all spiritually minded people. We all had a great deal of respectability.
And even though there were other invited guests who came in that day, and sat in their cushions around the wall, she had no place there. She had no right to be there. She was an unwelcome, uninvited, intruder, an outsider who didn’t belong.
Why, I can understand Simon’s displeasure. As a respected Pharisee, he wanted to impress his friends. And he was. But here she came and embarrassed him.
There is no place, among us spiritually minded people, for sinful women like that. You see, none of us, with our strong stance on moral, and religious, and ethical matters was at all prepared to welcome a woman who’s lifestyle was nothing like our own; and who’s lifestyle we just simply could not accept.
What she did was even more disgusting. She took a position behind Jesus, and she began to weep. And as the tears fell at his feet, she did what was the most dispicable, immodest thing that a woman would do. She took her hair down, and she began to wipe away the tear stains with her hair.