Summary: What did Simon intend to do by snubbing Jesus as he did, and what exactly was the woman doing there at the party?
Alan Calhoun, Bristol, Connecticut told of a tag sale (garage sale) he and wife had a year or so ago. They had decided to put out a mirror they’d received as a wedding gift. The reason they were selling it was that it had a gaudy aqua-colored metal frame and they just couldn’t find a room in their house where it looked good.
Shortly after the tag sale began, a man (who was looking to decorate his apartment) bought the mirror for one dollar. He was all excited, and he said as he bought it: “This is a great deal - it still has the plastic on it.” Then he peeled off the aqua-colored protective covering… to reveal a beautiful gold finished frame underneath.
Lots of people go to garage sales looking for bargains just like that. Some people have a saying about garage sales: "One man’s trash is another man’s treasure," but once in a while, someone stumbles upon a treasure that the owner doesn’t know the value of.
I. Jesus had been preaching Galilee for nearly a year now. The common people have received him gladly. Already He has healed a leper, a paralytic and dozens of other people. He has even cast out demons and raised a widow’s son from the dead – and all this has taken place before the event we see recorded here in Luke 7:36ff.
But the Pharisees had already begun to grow cold to Jesus’ influence. He didn’t pander to their crowd, and occasionally He said things that ruffled their feathers and challenged their man made rules.
They don’t like Him, but they’re not sure how to handle Him. Do they quietly ignore Him. Do they publicly oppose Him. Or do they attempt to entrap Him? Or is there another way to destroy Him? Simon the Pharisee believes he’s found that other way, a way he believes will humiliate this new teacher and render His influence useless.
II. Simon invites Jesus to a meal – then snubs Him.
Good manners in that day required the host to have his servant wash the guest’s feet. He was expected to greet his visitor with a kiss on the cheek and anoint the guest’s head with oil. Simon did none of these things, and it is apparent from our story that his actions (or lack thereof) were deliberate.
Imagine going to a party and extending your hand to someone, only to have them subtly refuse to extend their hand in return…They may even smile as they refuse, but you know – and they know – it’s intended as an insult. It’s meant to offend.
That’s pretty much what Simon intended in his behavior. BUT WHY? Why go to all the trouble invited this new teacher to your home, putting on a lavish meal and perhaps even opening your home to the community so that they can come and observe him?
I believe Simon’s objective was to nettle Jesus, to get under His skin, to throw Him off balance. He intended to goad Jesus into making a statement, or behaving in such a way that he could then use to embarrass Him and use against Jesus.
Illustration: A few years back President Clinton was being challenged by the Republican congress which was then led by Newt Gingrich. Some believe that the President successfully humiliated Congressman Gingrich and then used the situation against the congressman.