Summary: Following the Leader isn’t always quick or easy
Simon was busier than he should have been. He had an important dinner coming up and was running short of time as he made the preparations. Sitting arrangements, making sure there was enough food, servants and the like all taxed him to the nth degree. He was going to have this preacher/miracle worker/prophet, Jesus coming to dinner. Not only that but some of his synagogue leaders and others from the town would be there too. Simon wanted everything to be perfect.
He had invited Jesus because he’d heard him preaching outside of town and was intrigued with what he’d heard. He’d also heard the stories running around the crowd as well, but it was the clear, human and refreshingly authoritative way that Jesus preached that had made Simon curious. In that one hearing Simon found his view of the world being challenged and even his view of God whom he’d worshipped since he was born. Simon needed to know more about this Jesus and so dinner seemed the way to do this. He just had no idea it would be so much work.
As expected Jesus showed up with a crush of others following along. His disciples were there of course and others who were regular groupies of Jesus. And of course there were those who had come into town in hopes of hearing Jesus again. With this crowd it was all Simon could do to keep his house from turning into a riot. In the crush of people and expectations the slaves missed washing Jesus’ feet and anointing him. Simon hadn’t noticed though he was too busy.
Then she came in. Have you ever noticed how with most big parties, weddings and the like something has to go wrong at just the wrong time? Well as dinner moves along Simon looks up and there she was. She was crying as she moved around the crowd and knelt behind Jesus who was eating and visiting with those next to him. Simon tried to catch the eye of one of his servants so she could be tossed out but it was too late. The smell of expensive perfume exploded throughout the house as she poured it on Jesus’ feet. Her tears now became a deluge as they fell. The strange mixture of tears and perfume made tracks in Christ’s feet. She continued to wipe the dirt and dust away and dried the perfumed feet with her hair.
Discussions died as all watched her. Everyone from town knew who she was, what she was like and what she’d done. Now they wondered what Jesus would do.
She wasn’t the type to go out of her way to seek out traveling preachers. If she happened near one she usually became the object of their sermon as someone pointed out who she was and her “crimes”. She’d heard Jesus was different and so she had sat on the edge of the crowd and listened not drawing attention to herself. As she listened she heard. And his words went to her heart and touched her in ways that she’d never felt before.
He wasn’t teaching about the evil Roman armies. There didn’t seem to be a personal axe to grind. She was so amazed because he didn’t even ask for any money. Instead he spoke about a loving God. Hearing Jesus she found she’d become reacquainted with the God of her youth. The God who called people into a relationship of trust and protection. His simple words and his manner reminded her that she too was a daughter of Abraham. But as she wandered away from the crowd she wondered if it was too late for her to reclaim that title. After all her life was over…could there ever be a way out for someone who had done the things she’d done and lived the life she had lived?
Her questions grew in her soul. She needed to find an answer and so she asked around and discovered the dinner invitation at Simon’s house. She spent some money and purchased an alabaster jar with ointment and made her way towards Simon’s. She hadn’t thought of it till she got near and saw the crowd but how was she going to get in and then how would she get close to Jesus?
As she got closer she realized that most people were trying to get a peek inside so she carefully edged through the crowd till she was in the house. With a quick breath she entered the room and saw him lying at the table with the others. Tears suddenly came to her eyes. She’d have like to blame the odor of the spice in the room but she new better. Others now took notice of her but she didn’t care any longer. She had discovered in Jesus a source of hope, which she’d long ago given up on. She had discovered in this one with the dirty feet the freedom from her past. A freedom from her grime and filth. She moved behind him, poured the ointment and the tears flooded out. As she kissed his now clean feet she heard his voice speak to Simon. Then he turned to her and spoke.