Dinner and a Sinner
When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” (v.39).
Several years ago, while vacationing in Washington, DC, my family noticed a large crowd forming in front of a popular downtown theater. The word on the street was that Colin Powell, the United States Secretary of State at the time, was coming to the theater that evening to watch a play. We quickly learned that watching high-ranking public officials come and go was a favorite pastime of tourists.
In Jesus’ day, the locals often lingered around the banquet halls and homes of public figures. Once, as Jesus attended a meal hosted by a Pharisee named Simon, a local woman approached Him, washed His feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed them with a costly perfume (Luke 7:36).
Her actions were a stunning gesture of humility and love. Simon (the Pharisee), however, didn’t get it. In his thoughts, he ripped on Jesus for appearing to be unaware of the woman’s immoral reputation (v.39). Little did he know that Jesus knew everything about her and that, before dinner was over, Jesus would graciously invite Simon to see that hewas no different.
Simon considered the woman kneeling at Jesus’ feet to be an especially depraved sinner. But Jesus went on to make it clear to Simon that he was just like this woman, for he too needed to be forgiven. He was just as spiritually bankrupt as she, except that she“got it” and humbly turned to Jesus— offering Him a deep gesture of love (vv.41-47).
Blinded by his selfishness, Simon not only missed seeing his own need for forgiveness, but he didn’t understand who Jesus was. The One he had invited to dinner was and is the God who offers forgiveness and peace to all, no matter what they’ve done (vv.48-50).
Jesus made it clear that this woman found forgiveness through faith in Him (Luke 7:50). Her tears and gift were the fruit of her faith.
How well do you understand who Jesus is? In what ways do you identify with the woman who washed His feet? With Simon?