Summary: This is a love story, pure and simple. It is not a cheap love story like we see portrayed in the soap operas everyday. This account is a deep heart-felt love that is not infused with any physical desire that seems to be necessary in our day and age to q
SCRIPTURE: ST. LUKE 7:36-50
36And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.
37And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 40And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
44And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
TITLE: KNEELING AT THE FEET OF JESUS
This is one of the most powerful love stories recorded in the Bible. I know that many feel that Solomon’s writing found in the Old Testament is considered to be about true love that makes the hair stand-up on the Nap of your Neck. But, this narrative read in our text for examination calls into question our love for the Savior. This is a love story, pure and simple. It is not a cheap love story like we see portrayed in the soap operas everyday. This account is a deep heart-felt love that is not infused with any physical desire that seems to be necessary in our day and age to qualify as a love story. However, this account is not a Romance but it is very much a love story. This passage in the Gospel of Luke is oftentimes confused with a similar account of another woman who had anointed Jesus. If we are to fully appreciate this event we must insure it is not confused and conflated with the other account. Let’s spend a brief moment in an effort to disentangle it from the event when Jesus was anointed at Bethany near the end of his ministry – St. Matthew 26:6-13 / St. Mark 14:1-11 / St. John 12:1-10. The two events are confused easily enough because of several similarities:
• Jesus is anointed with expensive perfume
• He is anointed by a woman
• The anointing takes place in the house of a man named Simon
The differences between the two events show that our passage for examination this morning is really a different incident from that found in St. Matthew - St. mark - St. John. The anointing at Bethany during the end of Jesus earthly ministry differs in that:
• It takes place at the home of Simon the Leper, not Simon the Pharisee
• The woman doing the anointing at Bethany is not spoken of as sinful, but actually appears to be Mary, the sister of Lazarus
• The meaning of the anointing at Bethany is to prefigure Jesus’ burial
• The anointing is on the head (Matthew and Mark) -- and the feet (John)
• The criticism is by disciples, especially Judas, over the value of the perfume that is "wasted," rather than as the a criticism of the morals of the woman doing the anointing
There are three principle characters in this Narrative, all of which are relevant to us. The Lord Jesus is, of course, the main figure of the narrative. He, unlike the others, deals with a woman with love and forgiveness. The woman, who is never named, is the recipient of our Lord’s forgiveness. She represents the “sinners” who are strangely attracted to Jesus. The host, Simon, which was a common name back then, just like Smith – Jones - Johnson – are common names today – he was a Pharisee, and as such he represents at least the perception which many “sinners” have of the church and or Christians. It is from these characters and their relationship with each other that the message of our narrative is to be found.