Summary: When we understand the grace of Jesus we will not point to others and be offended by their sin - instead we will see that we have a sin debt.
Have you noticed how easy it is to get offended by the actions of others?
You are watching TV ... it is a really good show (if there is such a thing). Then someone in your family comes along and takes the remote and switches channels.
Hey I was watching that.
How dare you.
And you get all upset because you would never do such a thing to them ... would you!! NOT.
That is just a little example isn’t it?
Everyone else is a bad driver.
Everyone else cheats and lies.
Everyone else behaves badly.
How easy it is to see the short-comings of others – how hard it is to see it in ourselves.
Jesus found Himself in exactly that situation.
Let’s Read Luke 7:36-50
When you first read a passage like this you think, “Isn’t it nice that Simon the Pharisee has invited Jesus over for dinner. Finally the Pharisees are behaving.” But looks can be deceiving – because this is still an example of Pharisees behaving badly.
Normally the host would provide guests with a bowl of water to wash their feet – it was a very necessary custom in a culture where everyone walked on rocky and dusty roads. And Jesus walked all the time so His feet would definitely be dirty.
Normally when a guest entered a home they would be greeted with a welcome kiss. It was a sign of respect and an expression of appreciation that the guest had accepted the invitation.
Often, but not always, oil was put onto the head of a guest. Palestine has a hot climate – and these are the days before deodorant and soap were invented. The oil was not only a sign of welcome, it was used to tone-down the body odour; especially when people were eating together.
That is what usually happens – but not when Jesus comes to Simon’s house.
It was rude and disrespectful.
It was meant put Jesus in His place.
It showed Simon’s true heart.
Jesus was there, but He was being kept at arm’s length.
So here they are having dinner – I’m guessing it isn’t the most relaxed atmosphere. All of the sudden this woman appears.
Which seems strange. Imagine you are having people for dinner and suddenly someone comes in off the street to kiss and oil your guest.
You would have guests coming to your house all the time wouldn’t you.
Hey, go to the Quak’s house – you get dinner and a show.
Very strange ... to us. But not in Jesus’ day. When anyone in town was entertaining an out-of-town VIP – then it would be common for others in the town to come along and stand around the wall of the room listening to the goings-on. It is what they did for entertainment.
So who is this woman? Verse 37 describes her as a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town – this is a round-about way of saying “she was a prostitute”.
Now don’t have in your mind the prostitutes in Hollywood movies … Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman” or Nicole Kidman in “Moulin Rouge”. Pretty. Warm-hearted. Able to blend into a crowd. Instead replace that picture with a woman who has caked-on make-up, showy jewellery, syphilitic sores, an unstable personality and a haunting fear of AIDS.
When people see her that is what they have in mind. Which is a problem because the Scripture clearly says:- she had lived a sinful life. It is also clear that she has come in contact with Jesus before. Somewhere along the way she has been confronted by her life-style and has sought repentance. She is acting this way because she knows she is forgiven.
Jesus sees her as she is. Everyone sees her as she was … and they are offended.
The woman all knew her as the prostitute who tempted their husbands and sons.
The men all pretended they didn’t know her ... but they knew.
That’s all anyone can see – even though she is no longer that person – and they can’t forget. Which helps us to understand the true embarrassment and scandal of this scene.
She is kissing Jesus’ feet and pouring perfume all over them. Don’t picture her all squashed up under a table with feet all around her. They didn’t sit at tables like we do. They reclined on lounges around a table. So everything that is very visible.
She is weeping over the feet of Jesus and using her unbound hair to dry them. Unbound hair – how scandalous. Having loose hair is the cultural equivalent of walking into church topless.
They are all embarrassed for Jesus because they all think He doesn’t know what she was like. She is dressed nicely now and looks like a decent member of society. But, Oh Dear, look at her. Look at what she is doing to Jesus. It is so indecent and Jesus has no idea. Simon thoughts say it all If this man were a prophet He would know who was touching Him ... a sinner. A sinner. That is all anyone sees, and they are all offended