Summary: Jesus is anointed by a sinful woman while eating at the house of Simon the Pharisee. Jesus' conversation with Simon serves as a warning about self-righteousness.
A. So, Simon invited me to his house for dinner, and I went because I knew some of the best of our society would be there.
a. But I also went because I heard he was going to be inviting the man called Jesus.
b. If the stories about him are true it’s about time he mingled with the right people.
c. He’s famous all over Israel as a man who can perform miracles, but he surrounds himself with the worst people.
i. Tax collectors, filthy fisherman.
ii. Some say he even allows women to travel with him, and not just as servants.
d. The dinner party was wonderfully arrayed, as I knew it would be.
e. We all arrived in anxious anticipation of our meeting with the man Jesus.
f. When he arrived I must say I was disappointed.
i. He was dressed simply (everyone knows you dress for a dinner party).
ii. He didn’t have servants with him.
iii. Who goes to a party without any personal servants?
iv. And he sure didn’t look all that special.
g. Well, the dinner party begins, and I’m sure would have gone off spectacularly in spite of the “honored” guest’s attire; except that the worst possible thing happens.
h. Just as we are reclining at the table the most despicable woman enters the room.
i. A woman with a reputation, if you know what I mean.
j. If I was Simon I would want to know who let her in the house and make sure he was never employed in society again.
k. The next part makes me shiver every time I think about it.
l. That woman, if you even want to call her that, falls at Jesus’ feet weeping uncontrollably, muttering unintelligible words.
m. She then dries his feet with her hair!
n. What does this Jesus do?
i. He acts as if he enjoys it!
ii. Then she takes out a bottle of expensive perfume, where a woman like that could get expensive perfume like that is a crime in itself.
iii. She takes out this perfume and pours it on the man’s feet.
o. Does he rebuke her?
p. Does he recoil at the touch of this sinful woman?
q. Simon reacts, of course, as we all would have; with disgust and indignation.
r. But Jesus rebukes him, and then has the gall to tell the woman her sins are forgiven, that her faith has saved her.
B. ***Let’s rewind, and look at the story from a different angle***
C. Simon the Pharisee invited me to his house for dinner; dinner parties among society tend to be opportunities for everyone to brag about how much they have, at a time when many of our people are starving and are oppressed at the hands of our own leaders and the hands of the Romans.
a. But I went because I heard that Jesus was going to be there.
b. He’s famous all over Israel as a man who can perform miracles.
i. There are rumors that he is more than a man.
ii. He certainly is no respecter of persons; he ministers to the meek and lowly, and he ministers to the high and mighty.
c. We all arrived in anxious anticipation of our meeting with Jesus.
d. He arrived in the simple garb of a rabbi, with no entourage
e. There wasn’t anything about his appearance that screamed “this is the Messiah,” except for one.
i. When he looked at you he seemed to know you.
f. Then the most unexpected thing happened.
g. Every time I think about it my heart leaps within me.
i. A woman entered the room, weeping uncontrollably.
ii. She was a woman with a reputation as a prostitute.
iii. The look on the faces of most of the guests, and especially Simon, was one of horror.
iv. But she seemed so broken, so remorseful.
h. She fell at Jesus’ feet weeping uncontrollably.
i. It was obvious that the shame and embarrassment she was currently subjecting herself to was nothing to the shame and embarrassment she felt because of her sin.
ii. Jesus looked at her only with compassion, and with love.
i. She then took out a bottle of expensive perfume (I wonder how long she saved her money to purchase it), and poured it on his feet.
j. Simon, the fool that he is, was indignant.
k. But Jesus rebuked him and did the most beautiful thing.
l. He told her her sins were forgiven; that her faith had saved her.
D. ***Now let’s read the story: Luke 7:36-50***
a. What’s the point of an encounter like this?
b. The power of love, and the power of forgiveness, in breaking the chains of sin.
c. Yes, but it is deeper than that.