Some people come to dinner when they are invited. Others come uninvited.
For some reason, a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to his home for dinner. There is no record that the invitation extended to the Twelve. Perhaps Simon wanted some private time with Jesus. Maybe he had witnessed the miracles and heard the teaching. There is no way of knowing how many of Simon’s family or friends were in attendance. It is safe to assume Simon employed people to serve his guests but there is no way to know how many people were there. It could have a small gathering or something more like a feast.
A Tearful Intruder
Just as the dinner was getting underway, a woman, known in the city as a sinful woman, intruded. Perhaps it was her tears, or the alabaster jar she carried, or the shock of it all, but somehow she penetrated the security of Simon’s home and stood behind Jesus weeping. If Simon made an effort to remove her, Jesus must have stopped him. Still weeping, she knelt before Jesus and began washing His feet with her tears and drying them with her long, carefully prepared hair. A stunned silence enveloped the house as she took the alabaster jar and broke it open. The fragrance of the perfume filled the air as she anointed Jesus’ feet, still weeping with gratitude and adoration.
How to Treat a Savior
Whatever Simon’s motives were for arranging this dinner, the woman, known for her sins, was now in charge. Simon began to worry that people would connect him with her and assume his guilt. Quietly, he wondered aloud about Jesus. If He really were a prophet, surely He would know who and what this woman was and would put a stop to this outrage.
Jesus looked deep into the man’s eyes. If Simon really wanted to know more about Jesus, he was about to learn.
“Simon, I have something to say to you.”
When Simon agreed, Jesus told the story of a creditor who forgave those who owed him money but could not pay. One owed a small amount and the other a much larger sum.
“Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
Simon had to give the obvious answer. Jesus replied.
“You have rightly judged.”
Jesus then made the application with devastating effect.
“…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. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.
Simon was speechless. Since he knew he was righteous, gratitude for sins forgiven had never entered his mind. Jesus went on.
“…her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.
Jesus, smiling, gently brushed a tear away from the woman’s blushing cheek.
“Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace.”
She returned His smile and quietly gathered her broken alabaster jar, stood tall and straight and, taking a deep breath, left the Pharisee’s house without a trace of shame.
Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 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, 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. 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.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 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. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 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.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Lord Jesus, may I never lose my grateful heart. You have forgiven me much so I will love You much. Help me to never forget that my thanksgiving is like anointing oil to You. My tears of gratitude are precious in Your sight. My love for You is like refreshing water to Your being. May I always remember how to minister to You with a grateful heart and words of love. Thank You, Jesus.
Oh How I Love Jesus
Words and Music: Verses, Frederick Whitfield; Refrain, Traditional
1. There is a name I love to hear,
I love to sing its worth;
it sounds like music in my ear,
the sweetest name on earth.
O how I love Jesus,
O how I love Jesus,
O how I love Jesus,
because he first loved me!
2. It tells me of a Savior’s love,
who died to set me free;
it tells me of his precious blood,
the sinner’s perfect plea.
3. It tells of one whose loving heart
can feel my deepest woe;
who in each sorrow bears a part
that none can bear below.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.