“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.’ Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.’ ‘Tell me, teacher,’ he said.
‘Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?’ Simon replied, ‘I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven. ‘You have judged correctly,’ Jesus said.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.’
Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ The other guests began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.'”
Simon the Pharisee had invited Jesus into his home so he obviously recognised that there was something special about Jesus. He acknowledged him. What he totally missed though, was Jesus’ heart. He knew he was special and yet, at the same time, he hadn’t really got a clue.
Imagine the scene. Imagine being that woman, walking into a room where everyone knows your worst moments. Known as a sinner, your worst moments, public knowledge. Imagine the other guests, one by one stopping talking and looking, disgusted and surprised as she begins to anoint Jesus. Imagine the courage it took for her to even walk in there.
And then imagine Jesus’ face. He’s not judging her. He’s looking at her, full of grace, ready to forgive and change her life forever. He’s going to send her away from this moment, full of peace. He can’t wait. But then, as he looks at Simon and tells him that little story, it’s not hard to imagine the sadness in his eyes – Simon, as a Pharisee, as a religious person, should be right on the same page as him but he’s not.
He’s missed the heart of God’s word, the God who forgives sinners. Instead he chooses to judge and look down on others. How often do we do the same? How easy is it to sneer and judge and feel self righteous as we see other people getting it wrong? How can you create environments around you where it is easy, not hard, for people to come to Jesus? How can you be a bridge – not a barrier?