I’m sure it had been a long day. Jesus was ending His at Simon’s house. Not Simon Peter, Simon the Pharisee. Simon invited Jesus over for dinner. It seemed like the right thing to do. Jesus was the talk of the town and having Him for dinner would get Simon in on the action. As they reclined at the table she burst onto the scene. A scorned woman, well known for her sinful activities.
You can read her story yourself in Luke 7:36-50
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 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. 38 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.
39 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.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[c] and the other fifty. 42 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?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 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. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Earlier in the day, probably standing on a street corner, she heard Jesus’s message. His words did something inside of her she hadn’t felt before. She is used to the sting of harsh words. They used to cut her so deeply, but over time, her skin developed a thickness and she was now able to let them fall right off. But Jesus’s words were different. She resonated deeply with the hope He offered. They were so welcoming, so loving, so inviting. Even to her. For a brief moment, she believed her life might look different.
Overwhelmed by His grace, she shoved her way into Simon’s house, completely uninvited. It would have been such work to get through the intense crowd, no doubt gathered outside of his house. She risked further humiliation, hatred and major trouble with all the wrong people. Still, the intensity of His invitation compelled her to push. Standing behind Him, emotion overcame her and before she knew it, tears were streaming down her face.
Most men only talked to her because of what they wanted from her. Not so with Jesus. Jesus was different. His presence was welcoming. Love eluded from every breath. Instead of taking something from her, He offered something to her. He didn’t condemn her. He welcomed her. She couldn’t resist even if she wanted to.
The onlooking audience knew why Simon invited Jesus into his house as a guest. He didn’t do it out of honor. And it showed in his response. From the moment Jesus arrived, Simon barely acknowledged His presence. He was in the room with royalty and yet remained unaffected. He did not greet Jesus with a kiss, offer to clean His feet, nor did he anoint His head with sweet-smelling oil. All of which was customary when inviting a guest into your home during ancient times. His eyes were more on the people watching, than on Jesus waiting.
Simon asked Jesus to show up and when Jesus showed up, he didn’t even acknowledge His presence. Simon may have said “yes” to Jesus on the outside, but in all of his actions he said “no.”
This woman didn’t care who was there. She only cared for Jesus. She was saying, “yes” to Him and the crowd wouldn’t stop her. It didn’t matter how they looked at her or even what they said about her anymore. Not man had ever impacted her in this way. Standing behind Him weeping, she let down her hair and began to wipe His feet. We can imagine the filth of Jesus’s feet. He walked all day in the dirt. As her tears rolled off the sides of His feet, the dust turned to mud and she wiped it with her long, beautiful hair. Once His feet were clean she poured perfume over them and began to kiss them.
The sinful woman invited Jesus all the way into her life. She didn’t hesitate in her response to His presence.
We cannot respond appropriately to Jesus and care what other people think. If I won a million dollars, I would tell everyone. I would talk about it all the time and not worry how it annoyed others. A million dollars is a big deal. It would completely change my life and the lives of everyone around me. I would pay off my house, buy a new car, take my family on a dream vacation, and find a lot of other really great things to do.
And yet, I have a Savior who has completely changed my life and provided more satisfaction than a million dollars could ever give, but my response some days is less than. Even though I did not deserve it, He died for me. He took my broken, messed-up life and made it whole again. He gave me hope and a future. He restored me and made me new. He makes time to meet with me, gives me hope when I’m hopeless, encouragement when I am down, and strength when I am weak. He is everything to me and still, I sometimes forget to respond to Him appropriately when I walk into the room. I sometimes allow my eyes to be drawn to who else is there or what else needs to be done.
Jesus is in the room. He is always there. And He’s working, somewhere, offering grace, forgiveness, redemption, restoration. It’s always there. It’s just waiting for your response.
Where do you need faith to respond? Where is God showing up in your life waiting for you to acknowledge Him? If no one were looking, how would you already be responding to Jesus? It starts with just one step. With one step you will gain the confidence necessary to trust. We don’t have to be confident in our ability to move the mountain. We don’t even have to recognize the mountain. He sees it. He is fully aware of what it will take to get to the other side. He will move it. Our confidence comes in His ability. Notice Him. Respond to Him. Trust Him. Let Him do this. He’s got you. He’s got this. He won’t fail. He can’t fail. He’s inviting you. He’s waiting for you. How are you going to respond?