I want to share a passage I read from Matthew Henry Commentary to set the stage:
One of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him, either because he thought it would be a reputation to him to have such a guest at his table or because his company would be an entertainment to him and his family and friends. It appears that this Pharisee did not believe in Christ, for he will not own him to be a prophet (v. 39), and yet our Lord Jesus accepted his invitation, went into his house, and sat down to meat, that they might see he took the same liberty with Pharisees that he did with publicans, in hopes of doing them good. ¹
Reading “between the lines” of the passage of scripture (using the verse 30 to blend what I believe, “But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves…”), I am jumping off here and saying that I think the dinner may have been a trap. Or, at least partly so. I agree with the commentary—it sure wouldn’t harm their reputation to have such a reputable guest for dinner—and they were interested in what He had to say…but something in me also believes they were looking for ways to ensnare Him with His own words.
All that aside, let’s go into the room. It’s filled with people—all men of course. Some possibly sitting, some reclining, some maybe even standing. Maidservants waiting on them, refilling their cups, replacing empty platters with overflowing ones, for surely to have such a Guest, they really wanted to “show off” a bit. Perhaps the culinary skills of their cook. Maybe the best selection of china—maybe they had even had the best decorator in town come by the house prior to the dinner to give the house a bit of sprucing up!
What they weren’t prepared for was the woman. Amid the details of life, the clatter of dishes in the kitchen and the heavy banter of conversation of the men, she comes in, drawn to the Source of life with an urgency even she can’t quite understand. Some commentaries share the possibility that she was Mary Magdalene–the one He had cast out 7 demons.
Verse 37 states that she was a sinful woman. Most likely a known harlot. Possibly every man at that very table knew her well…some may have “known” her more than others. When she learned of the special Guest in the home of Simon the Pharisee, she made hast in bringing the very best she had. Most likely all she had.
The very presence of Him in the room stirred the air with a tangible excitement. Possibly even the maidservants felt the power as they came and went from kitchen to table. As the sinful woman entered, I wonder if she felt like an intruder. I believe she had one thought, one goal and only one Person in sight. Perhaps all others blurred into the background of the room as she entered and her eyes were captured by His. He saw completely through her heart and soul. He saw the sin, the wasted years, he saw the past, present and straight into her future. And for once in her life, maybe she even believed she had one. It was her undoing. She became a bundle of quivering emotion and tears.
As she knelt at his feet, in His reclining position, He had to turn His head from the others at the table, she had captured His attention as she began to wash His feet with the tears streaming from her eyes. Down her cheeks the tears splashed, falling on His dusty feet. And as she began to dry them with tears of a truly repentant heart, the love she felt for this Man that had pierced her heart with His love and compassion, was something so powerful that it could not be ignored.
I’m going to repeat one of Beth’s questions…”Do you have difficulty picturing Christ in this scene? Fitting into a Pharisee’s home”…complete with harlot on the side? Beth’s words, “He could fit in anywhere….and nowhere.” He has no prejudices. He reached out to all mankind.
I am praying to be more like that. I have had the tendency to avoid those that get on my last nerve. I mean, for crying out loud…it’s the last one I’ve got! And YOU have to KNOW, the guys probably bugged the daylights out of Jesus—always acting like a know-it-all. Better than thou’s. But Jesus looked into the recesses of their lives and saw need. A need that is just like yours and mine.
Father in heaven, we come to You with all we have. We lay it at the very feet of Jesus. Loving You more than life itself. Help us to share that love with other….so that all may know Him. I bring you the needs of the girls in this study with us. They each one come together to meet and learn more of YOU and all long to love You more. Enter in to the daily of their existence so that it no longer feels like dailiness. So that each breath feels as a fresh breeze of the Holy Spirit. Help us to see YOU in everything around us. Walk with us and go with us. Enable us to be Your vessels. Fill us with your power! In Jesus most holy and precious name~Amen.
Keeping the Faith,
Henry, Matthew. “Commentary on Luke 7.” Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible. Blue Letter Bible. 01 Mar 1996. 30 Sep 2008.