Summary: There's a Pharisee in me just waiting to come out.
As I continue to grow and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and learn more of God’s grace, I have become more conscious of a struggle that rages within me. It’s a struggle between the man I so desperately want to be and the man I have the tendency to be.
I struggle, because I know that on the inside, there lurks a darker spirit that, from time to time rears its ugly head and when it does, I am more akin to the Pharisees of Jesus’ day than I care to admit. This morning I want to use the story of Jesus’ interaction with Simon the Pharisee and the sinful woman, from Luke 7:36-50, as a way to give you some insight into three areas of phariseeism that I struggle with and how, through God’s word, I’m working to overcome them. It’s my hope that as you look through the window of my soul you will reflect upon your own and if there is a Pharisee lurking inside of you, I pray that you will take heed this lesson and implement the remedy of how to overcome your own pharisaical tendencies.
Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. (37) And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, (38) and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. (39) Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.” (40) And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” (41) “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. (42) And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” (43) Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” (44) Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. (45) You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. (46) You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. (47) Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” (48) Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (49) And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” (50) Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luk 7:36-50)
#1 The Pharisee in me is Apathetical (Luke 7:44-46)
When Jesus entered Simon’s house he did not receive the customary acts of greeting and hospitality. Simon did not go out of his way to make sure that Jesus was comfortable. In fact he didn’t even give Jesus the basics of what was expected in the relationship between a host and a guest. Simon did not provide Jesus with water to wash His feet with (a necessity in that day). Simon did not greet Jesus by giving Him a kiss (sign of affection and greeting). And, Simon did not even give Jesus any oil to anoint his head with (refreshment both in smell and looks). Simon failed to provide the basics elements of what was considered reasonable hospitality.
We’re left to wonder why Simon ignored Jesus. Perhaps he thought someone else would take care of Jesus needs, maybe a slave or another guest. Perhaps he thought Jesus would find the water and oil and take care of Himself. I don’t know the specifics but this I do know, Simon acted in a apathetical way. There is no hint in the text that he cared for Jesus. We don’t find him trying to greet Jesus and then instructing someone to provided and perform the necessary task of washing and anointing. We don’t hear him telling Jesus where to find the water and oil is so He could, “clean Himself up” so-to-speak. At least if Simon would have done those things we would not peg him as apathetic. In the action of doing nothing, Simon clearly demonstrated he didn’t really care about Jesus he was apathetic to Jesus’ needs.