Ps Wendy: Dinner with Jesus

Ever hear the one about Jesus, a Pharisee, and a woman with a jar of perfume? It’s not the start of a joke, but an actual story from Luke 7:36-50. As Jesus steps into the home of a Pharisee named Simon, we witness a moment that challenges societal norms, religious prejudices, and our own perceptions of worthiness and redemption. Discover how a basic meal at a Pharisee’s house became a timeless lesson on love.


The Encounter  

Luke 7:36 tells us, “Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down to eat.” This invitation to a Pharisee’s home is significant. Pharisees were known for their strict adherence to Jewish law and often disagreed with Jesus’ teachings and actions. Yet Jesus accepts the invitation, placing Himself in a home filled with religious tension.  


The Uninvited Guest  

A woman, labeled “a sinner” in the city, discovers Jesus’ presence as he reclines at the table. She comes into Simon, the Pharisee’s home, bringing an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and kneels at Jesus’ feet, weeping. She then washes His feet with her tears, wipes them with her hair, kisses them, and anoints them with the oil (Luke 7:37-38). What would you do in this situation? This great sinner is now weeping at your guest’s feet! How easy would it be to judge her and Jesus for allowing this? But this is the surprise: Jesus allows and encourages the woman’s worship.   


His lack of honouring Jesus as a guest in his house revealed Simon’s thoughts towards who Jesus is. He not only dishonours the woman but also judges Jesus too! He questions Jesus’ prophetic knowledge and purity. He doubted Jesus’ identity because of Jesus’ acceptance of the woman’s actions. 


Jesus’ Response  

Jesus responds to Simon with a parable of two debtors, illustrating the profound nature of forgiveness and love. He highlights the woman’s actions as a response to the forgiveness she has received, contrasting it with Simon’s lack of basic hospitality (Luke 7:40-47). Jesus’ words, “Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47). Jesus is showing that there is a relationship between forgiveness received and love demonstrated.  


A Lesson in Forgiveness and Love  

This story is a powerful reminder of forgiveness and love. This truth is still true today: Jesus welcomes all. Jesus invites all to worship at His feet regardless of their past. The woman’s act of washing Jesus’ feet with her tears and anointing them with oil was a profound demonstration of her love and repentance—a love sparked by the recognition of forgiveness offered by Jesus.  


This story should caution our response to the hurt and broken sinners around us. Like the Pharisee, it can be too easy to judge others harshly, forgetting our own need for grace. Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisee and the woman invites us to examine our attitudes towards ourselves and others. We need to embrace a posture of humility and compassion.  


Living Out Forgiveness and Love  

As we live our life, the story of Jesus at the Pharisee’s house calls us to live and show forgiveness and love in tangible ways. Be willing to ask, how can I extend grace to those around me? Remember, you have experienced much forgiveness! When you do this, you are a great witness to the powerful love and forgiveness. His forgiveness breaks down barriers and changes hearts. Let your life reflect this forgiveness!   


In a world that prioritises judgment, let us remember the power of vulnerability and worship, like the woman with the alabaster flask. Her story is our story—a story of forgiveness, love and the endless grace that Jesus offers to each one of us, inviting us into a relationship marked by deep love and gratitude.  


It is time for us to live out our faith with a heart of compassion and love, extending grace to others just as we have received it. By doing so, we become Jesus’ hands and feet in a world desperately needing His healing touch.