Summary: Like the woman who had lived a sinful life may we find salvation at Jesus’ feet.
"At Jesus’ feet..." That is a phrase we hear a number of times in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) Can you think of some of the times that people fell down at Jesus’ feet? Can you recall why various people placed themselves at the feet of Jesus and what they did there?
There were those who threw themselves at Jesus’ feet in prayer. A man named Jairus fell down at Jesus’ feet to plead with him to heal his daughter who was dying. There was an unnamed woman who did the same thing as she begged Jesus to heal her daughter who was demon-possessed. Luke’s gospel tells us about a demon-possessed man on the east side of the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Gerasenes who fell at Jesus’ feet in submission to his power and authority. After Jesus drove the demon out of that man he sat down at Jesus’ feet out of love and respect and to show his readiness to serve his Savior.
Perhaps you recall the time that Jesus healed ten men of leprosy. One of them, a Samaritan, returned and threw himself down at Jesus’ feet to give him thanks. Mary, from Bethany, sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to him teach (remember that was the time that her sister Martha complained about her not helping with the housework) and she also fell at Jesus’ feet in sadness when he arrived after her brother Lazarus had died. One woman who had been healed of her internal bleeding when she touched Jesus’ cloak fell at his feet in fear and love and thanksgiving as Jesus scanned the crowd for her. If we are considering those who fell at Jesus’ feet we must also include those two Mary’s (Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James) who hugged Jesus’ feet when they saw him alive on Easter Sunday morning and worshiped him.
So many people placed themselves at Jesus’ feet for so many reasons. There were those who fell at his feet to ask him for something. Others threw themselves at his feet in love, or in thanksgiving, or in excitement, or in worship, or to honor him. There were people who placed themselves at Jesus’ feet to submit to him and to turn over their lives in service to him.
In our gospel lesson for this morning we hear about a woman who had lived a sinful life who placed herself at Jesus’ feet. She put herself there in repentance, and submission, and faith. At Jesus’ feet she offered her love to him in service. This woman also found salvation at Jesus’ feet. Like her let’s place ourselves at Jesus’ feet this morning. Like so many others let’s humble ourselves and fall before our Lord. Then like this woman we will:
FIND SALVATION AT JESUS’ FEET
I. At Jesus’ feet lay your sins in repentance
II. At Jesus’ feet receive words of forgiveness
III. At Jesus’ feet place yourself in his service
This is the third Sunday in a row that our gospel lesson is taken from Luke 7. In the first half of this chapter Luke reported two miracles. We heard how Jesus healed a centurion’s servant and how he raised a widow’s son from the dead. There doesn’t appear to be any connection between those two miracles and the events in our gospel lesson for this morning. We are simply told, "Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table."
Although we are focusing on this woman who placed herself at Jesus’ feet we can also learn from the man who refused to do such a thing. Simon the Pharisee had invited Jesus to a banquet. Like most of the others in his group he was filled with himself. He didn’t see his need for a Savior because he thought he lived a good life. He hadn’t committed the kinds of sins that the woman who crashed his party had committed. As a churchgoing, taxpaying, upstanding member of the community, he thought everything was fine between him and God.
Simon the Pharisee thought he had no reason to place himself at Jesus’ feet in repentance. He had a warped view of his own goodness and an incorrect view of God’s holiness. Simon might have said to himself, "I have never engaged in the kinds of sexual sins done by this woman who is sitting at Jesus’ feet." But as Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount, "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:28) He didn’t understand that God demands perfection in thoughts, words, and actions. Or maybe Simon the Pharisee refused to fall at Jesus’ feet because he thought he had made up for his sins by doing many of the things God commanded in his Word. I am sure Simon also played the comparison game. "I am not as bad as this woman at Jesus’ feet and I am not as bad as 90% of the people in my town. So God will love me."