Summary: Siomon the Pharisee wanted to prove Jesus a charlatan and a fake. He invited Him for a meal at his house to prove his point, only to find that Jesus was real and he, simon, was the fake.
INNOCUOUS INTRUDER INSPIRES INSTRUCTIONS
I: THE INTELLECTUAL: LUKE 7:36
II. THE INTRUDER: LUKE 7:37-38
III. THE INCARNATE: LUKE 7:39-50
Unlike the previous “Supper Scene” with Matthew, this one with Simon is different. In the first of this series, we see where Matthew was so proud to introduce his newfound Friend to his friends by throwing a party. By giving this party, it is evident that Matthew had made the decision to believe in Jesus, and to embrace Him as his Saviour. He had left all to follow this Rabbi, and he was proud to proclaim Him as his newfound Friend. Indeed, he was proud to announce to all that he was going to follow this Man of Galilee.
However, the scene we have in Luke’s gospel concerning this Simon is different. Edersheim, in his voluminous work on, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, details an interesting picture of this entire episode and we find, according to this Jewish author, a different setting of this meal than the one where Matthew honored Jesus. This will be discussed shortly.
It is at this feast given by Simon where we see a lady enter and bathe the feet of the Master with her tears. This episode happened sometime in the earlier part of the ministry of Jesus. We see a similar scene at the close of the ministry of Jesus, where a woman enters the house where Jesus sat at mealtime, and bathes His head with perfume. Again, Edersheim likens these two events to the two times of the cleansing of the Temple by Jesus-one at the start and the other of His ministry. Edersheim also debates whether this lady was Mary or someone else. What he does say about the event as they unfold in Luke is that an anonymous woman entered the house and did something so unique that stands as a symbol of deep devotion.
This event happened sometime around the raising of the Widow of Nain’s son. Jesus was now popular and many heard Him preach in the streets and the countryside. He was attracting many people who were curious about Him and there were many of these curious people who embraced Him as their Saviour. Such was the woman of our text, but not the host of this meal as provided by Simon the Pharisee.
I. INTELLECTUAL: I named the first part of my sermon concerning the host-Simon-as the smart one. The reason for this title is that he was a Pharisee. We can say all we want to say about this group and many things have been spoken about them. Regardless of what we say concerning them, the one thing we cannot deny them is the fact that they were very smart. It has been estimated that during the ministry of Jesus, there were only approximately 30,000 Pharisees in Israel. These were the ones who knew the Law; these were the ones who could argue even the minutest points about the Law; and, they usually won. They were the Purists of old Israel. They were the intellectuals, the brainy ones, the ones who could argue well and they were the ones who wanted to keep the law and the land pure from the influence of the pagans who surrounded the nation of Israel.
A case in point to prove the intellectual superiority of this group is the fact that God chose one of them to write nearly half of the New Testament to prove to his fellow Jews that the old had passed and that a new day had dawned upon Israel with the coming of Christ. That man’s name was Saul of Tarsus. Simon was one of this group.
As I read the Scripture before me, I see where this Simon was not a believer in Jesus, but he had a great deal of Interest in Him. I do not find where he openly believed in this Jesus before or after the meal, he gave in honor of Christ. What I do find is that Simon had a great deal of interest in Him, probably from hearing Him preach and from the rumors of His healing powers. Wanting to find out more about Jesus, he decided that he would give a feast for Him, and at the meal, he could talk more candidly to Jesus about who He was and from where did He come. I do not think that Simon was interested in becoming a believer in Jesus, but rather he wanted to “convert” Jesus to his way of thinking. Simon’s mind was trained to discern facts, facts and more facts, and the only way to get those facts straight in his mind would be to invite Jesus to come to his house for an informal meal. Somehow, he was able to approach Jesus, make the invitation, and then proceed with the meal. However, I feel that Jesus, the ever-vigilant One, knew what He was doing and Simon’s intent, yet He went for a decent meal and to talk to Simon.