This question is posed by Jesus to Simon the Pharisee who had invited Jesus to his place for dinner. Simon, the righteous, pious host of Jesus – Simon the one that his community would have looked upon as the holy one.
Who was he asked to look at? A woman who had intruded into this dinner. Uninvited, unnamed, unwelcome. Acting scandalously as she unfurls her hair and dries and kisses Jesus’ feet and anointing them with rich perfume. A sinner is her description, known as such by Simon. Her sin must have been great, giving her actions. And it’s speculated that she was a prostitute.
It’s difficult to communicate how scandalous her actions were. One commentator opines it would be like seeing the Queen doing a pole dance.
This is outrageous behaviour. By someone who ignores the boundaries of propriety (right and honourable behaviour).
And yet it is she, and not Simon, who is approved by Jesus. Simon had not shown to Jesus the honour due to him as a guest, but the woman had. By her actions, she demonstrated her devotion to Jesus. And yes Simon saw this woman – he watched with eyes of criticism and disdain.
But Jesus saw her as a woman who was conscious of her sin, and who responded out of love to the one who forgave her, healed her, restored her and set her free.
As church are we aware of what Jesus has done for us? Are we honouring him with all that we have because of the gift of his forgiveness?
Are we looking at those who don’t understand the boundaries in church with criticism and disdain? Are we acting like the Pharisee, or like the woman? Are we reaching out to Jesus with intimacy, with courage, with humility with generosity?
Are we living lives that reflect a knowledge of what Jesus has done for us, and acting desperately to get close to him?
Are we living life in the knowledge that forgiveness is there waiting for us? Do you know the power of Jesus forgiveness? How are we going to respond to Jesus and his love this week?