“One of the Pharisees asked [Jesus] 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” (Luke 7:36-38).
Simon, this Pharisee, also invited a select group of religious leaders to join the supper table. It was clearly a religious gathering, made up of men who fancied themselves the holy men of their generation. Then a “woman of the city” crashed the scene and knelt at the feet of Jesus. She bathed his dusty feet with her tears and wiped them clean with her hair — something no decent woman of that day would have done in public. Finally, she opened an alabaster box and poured perfume on Jesus’ feet.
The Pharisees were indignant, thinking, “How shameful! If Jesus were really a prophet sent from God, he would have known this woman is evil and stopped her.” Indeed, Scripture says those were Simon’s exact thoughts (see Luke 7:39). Jesus read his thoughts and announced, “Simon, I have something to say to you” (7:40). Jesus told the story of the two debtors, one with a huge debt and one who owed less, who were freely forgiven by their creditor. Then the Lord pointed out Simon’s arrogance, judgmental spirit and lack of compassion. “Simon, you don’t see the depravity of your own heart. You judge this broken woman but fail to recognize that you need as much, or even more, mercy.”
Jesus showed the spirit of forgiveness and restoration in the Pharisee’s house that night when he turned to the woman and said, “Your sins are forgiven” (7:48). He came to befriend and restore the fallen, the friendless, those overtaken by sin, and he is saying to us today, “This is what my ministry is all about. Let me enlarge your heart to see hurting, broken people so that you may extend my mercy to them.”
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon