Summary: It’s interesting, the greater understanding we have of our own sin, the better we are able to forgive the sins of others, and thus, the greater we understand God’s love for us and all people in Jesus Christ…and the more we love Him for it!!!
“No Person in this Church Deserves to Go to Heaven”
This is some situation!
Jesus is invited by a Pharisee to the Pharisee’s home to have dinner with him!
“so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.”
But Jesus wasn’t the only invited guest.
Apparently there were others, and most likely they were fellow Pharisees.
What were they doing inviting Jesus to eat with them?
Some have speculated that they were trying to lay, yet, another trap for Jesus, but this doesn’t appear to be the case.
It could be that they were simply curious about Jesus; this guy who was attracting all these big crowds.
Verse 39 hints that they were trying to determine whether or not Jesus was a prophet.
In any case, the host Pharisee, Simon, appears to be a person who is not completely opposed to Jesus—at least not to begin with.
There were a number of different points of view within the Pharisaic movement.
It appears that the majority of Pharisees were pretty hard-line.
But several, may have been prepared to give Jesus a fair hearing.
And as I mentioned, Simon the Pharisee may have heard rumors that Jesus was a prophet, and so he wanted to see for himself whether or not this was true.
Sadly, in Simon’s mind, he is proved doubly wrong.
Unlike Jesus, the woman in this story is an uninvited guest.
There wasn’t much of a private life in those days.
Doors often stayed open.
And why not; they had no air-conditioning…
…not even fans.
But these open doors allowed beggars, extra friends, or simply curious passers-by to wander in.
So as they reclined at the table we are told that “a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town…brought an alabaster jar of perfume,” to anoint Jesus’ feet as an expression of grateful love because she has experienced God’s overflowing grace and forgiveness.
But when she finds herself in the presence of Jesus, she is overcome with emotion, and His feet become wet with her tears before she can even open the jar of expensive perfume.
Then, trying to make things better, she makes them worse, as far as the onlookers are concerned: when she lets down her hair…
…something no decent woman would do in public, and wipes Jesus’ feet, kissing them all the while, and finally doing what she came for, anointing them.
And this is what happens when God’s Love impacts human situations!
Things stand on their head…
…social norms are thrown out the window…
…forgiveness and love set new standards…
…and human beings do things, not as society has “constructed” them, but as the Holy Spirit guides!
But the Pharisees were not so open-minded.
They were well-known as being an inflexible crowd.
There wasn’t much room for grace in their world.
Instead, there was a place for everything and everything had its place!
They tended to classify persons, and Simon the Pharisee knew where this woman belonged on the food chain.
Therefore, he knew how she was to be treated.
And he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
In other words, “If this Jesus guy were truly a prophet, He’d be outraged at this woman—embarrassed by her, disgusted with her, condemn her—and surely he would grab her by the seat of her pants and throw her right out the door!!!”
But Jesus doesn’t classify persons; and neither does He reject persons.
And although Simon the Pharisee may have thought himself to be an expert on “sinners” and “sin”…
… Jesus is the greatest expert of all!!!
It is Jesus Who was tempted 40 days and nights in the desert—never giving in to the devil’s attempts to destroy Him…
…it is Jesus Who, though He was God, “shared in our humanity” and “suffered when he was tempted”…
…it is Jesus Who was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.”
And it was Jesus Who marveled at the great love this woman was showing as she “wet” His “feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.”
So, knowing what Simon was mumbling to himself about this situation, “Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to tell you…
Two men owed money to a certain moneylender.
One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both.
Now which of them will love him more?’
Simon replied, ‘I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.’
‘You have judged correctly,’ Jesus said.”
And then He went on to tell him, “her many sins have been forgiven…But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”