Summary: In order to truely see others as they are we must first see Jesus for who he is and ourselves for who we are. Blindness is prevelant among the religious.
Do You See This Woman?
Jesus’ ministry is impacting many people. His reputation as a healer continues to spread just as his clash with the religious leadership grows. He has crossed the line by forgiving sins, healing on the Sabbath and spending time with the wrong kind of people. He appears to be a radical, but he backs up what he says with powerful healings. The Pharisees just can’t quite figure Jesus out.
Chapter 7 begins by showing us that Jesus’ healing reputation has spread beyond the boarders of Israel. A gentile centurion calls on him to heal his sick servant but this gentile demonstrates faith beyond anything Jesus has seen so far and Jesus expresses surprise.
Next he raises a widow’s son from the dead which shocks all the witnesses and has everyone talking about God’s presence in him.
Thirdly, Luke gives us an inside look at John the Baptist’s message from Jail to Jesus. It looks like John is struggling with understanding just who Jesus is. Are you the One? Do we need to wait for someone else? These words tell us that even John needed confirmation. Jesus supplied confirmation to John with works and words that demonstrated that he is the One! Then Jesus affirms John’s work and witness and Luke tells us an important point in verses 29-30 that serve as a setting for our lesson from verses 36-50.
Notice the distinction between all the people including the tax collectors, and the Pharisees and lawyers. Do you see it there in verses 29-30? How did the people and tax collectors show that they acknowledged God’s justice? What did the Pharisees and lawyers do? How did they reject God’s purpose for themselves?
Ok… all that in place, we see a great case in point of this in verses 36-50. Let’s study this together: Here we encounter three main characters: a Pharisee named Simon, a sinful woman, and Jesus. Watch how Luke unfolds the event for us and think about what each character experiences and reacts.
The set up is this…
Simon, a Pharisee has Jesus over for dinner. He is obviously interested in Jesus. He not only invites Jesus to come, but there are others there too, maybe as witnesses or maybe to evaluate Jesus. I can almost imagine them thinking: on a one to ten scale, how does Jesus rate. Do we like him or not. Does he pass all of our tests or not. If so, maybe we can make use of him. If not, we will have to figure out how to eliminate him, and disrupt his influence.
The meal is under way. Jesus has reclined at the table of Simon with the other dinner guests when it happens. An unexpected guest enters the room. This isn’t just any guest, it’s a woman. And not just any woman, it’s her! The woman everyone in town knows about. The sinful one. Now every woman in that town was a sinner, but this woman was not just a regular old sinner. She’s a sinner with a capitol “S”. Even Simon knows about her. But look closely at verse 37. And behold, there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume,
She somehow found out where Jesus was, and what did she do? She came to see him and she brought a gift with her.
Was she invited? No.
Was she wanted? No.
I’m not even sure just how she got in there, but she did. And she has brought something with her to give to Jesus. She enters, she is standing behind Jesus weeping. Her tears hit his feet. She sees it. She stoops down to the floor and takes her hair and begins to wipe Jesus’ feet and to kiss his feet and pour perfume on them.
Freeze frame! Have you got this picture in your mind?
What an amazing sight! Wow! This is both very amazing and also very uncomfortable. Just think of it! Wouldn’t you be uncomfortable? How does one react to something like this? This is not your every day event in the life of a Pharisee. Simon is getting his eyes full of something that demands a decision. This is something he must evaluate and react to! His reaction will reveal his heart. This is also something Jesus will react to. And we see his heart as well.
Simon’s reaction is swift and decisive. It is captured in verse 39. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner."