Summary: You fear you aren’t good enough to approach Him—let me put your mind at ease—you aren’t good enough! None of us are. But when Jesus looks at you, He sees you not for what you have become, but for what you can become through His grace and forgiveness.
“WOULD YOU KISS THE FEET OF JESUS?”
A man visited his barber every Saturday. One Saturday he announced he was going to travel to Rome and hoped to see the Pope. The barber, who most times seemed rather grouchy and critical about everything, said, “Rome? That’s the dirtiest city in the world! And don’t fly TWA because the food is awful and the seats are crowded. You’ll never get within a 100 miles of the Pope—you’re just wasting your time and money.” A few weeks later, the customer returned and told the barber he had been to Rome. He said, “I flew TWA, and the food was good and the seats were comfortable. You were wrong about that. I found Rome to be a beautiful, captivating city—you were wrong again. And I not only visited the Vatican but I was able to walk right up to the Pope. I knelt down and he placed his hand on my head and spoke a personal word to me.” By this time, the grouchy barber was shocked. He said, “Well, what did the Pope say to you?” The man said, “The Pope said, ‘My son, that is the worst haircut I’ve ever seen!”
There are a lot of people in the world today like that barber. They only find things to criticize. They are always looking for the negative in something. Well, this morning we are going to take a look in Luke 7:36-50 and look at a dinner party that was hosted by a man that had the same kind of attitude. Now Luke is the only book that records this story about an unnamed lady who wept at the feet of Jesus and anointed His feet with expensive perfume. Now don’t confuse this incident with the time that Mary of Bethany, who was Martha’s and Lazarus’ sister, anointed Jesus. That anointing took place a few days before Jesus was crucified and Mary not only anointed Jesus’ feet she anointed his head with perfume—as a prelude to his death and burial. This incident in Luke 7 took place at a much earlier time and at a different place.
I’m going to ask this morning that as we read this story, try to place your self at the dinner party that day and allow your eyes to see what happened: Read Luke 7:36-50.
I. WHO CAME TO DINNER? (36-40)
To get the picture of what’s going on here we need to understand the rules of Jewish hospitality. In that day and time, the rules stated that a wealthy man was under social obligation to open his home to any important or popular stranger who visited the area. So the fact that Jesus was invited to dinner didn’t mean that Simon was very fond of Jesus. He was just fulfilling his obligation. And once Jesus was invited he couldn’t refuse. It would have been considered and insult to refuse the invitation. In addition, the rules of Jewish hospitality required that the host would invite everyone in the village to attend as spectators. This was kind of their form of entertainment. It was kind of like a talk show but the host of the dinner was not Jerry Springer or Oprah Winfrey his name was Simon.
Once the guest arrived they would go through little ceremony. It was customary for the host to greet the guest at the door and to place a kiss on each cheek. Then a servant would come out with water and they would remove the guest’s sandals, wash his feet and dry them with a towel. Another servant would take a drop of perfumed oil and place it on the guest’s head. Then the guest would be led to the table that was very low to the ground and be given the seat of honor. While eating, the guests would recline on low couches, leaning on their left elbows and eating with their right hands (the clean hand). Usually these dinners were a great time of fellowship and talking, however, this meal didn’t really go as planned. Let’s look at the 3 main characters. First, there was a:
A. A SINFUL, BROKEN HEARTED LADY.
Out of nowhere and to the shock of the host and everybody there that day. This notorious, considered disgraceful woman suddenly appears at Jesus’ feet. She’s crying, not just crying but sobbing and her tears were falling on Jesus’ feet. The original language says that she was “a sinner in the city.” What that means was that she was a woman of the night or a street walker. The statement indicates that she was a prostitute.
Now as I read this I began to imagine her crying at the feet of Jesus I began to see that this was a woman that was without peace. A battle was constantly waging in her mind between what was right and what was wrong. I see that she woman that hates herself. She hates what she has become. She hates the fact that she sleeps with men to earn money to eat and live and she wonders if this Jesus guy can really change her life. And it’s not until her heart is truly and completely broken that she decides to go in the house. That’s when she realizes that any life would be better than the one she has now. She realizes that there is only one thing that can fill that emptiness in her life and it wasn’t beauty, possessions, popularity, or even eating, but rather it was Jesus.