In Luke chapter 7, we’re told of a Pharisee named Simon who invited Jesus to dinner. After accepting, Jesus has two encounters at this dinner that remind me so much of Christians today!
It was a pretty big deal to host such a person of influence. Pharisees had studied the scriptures their entire lives, and had all of the customs and rituals memorized. They knew there were very strict rules to follow for such an event. Jesus was the guest of honor that day. According to their cultural customs, the host would always follow a very intentional code of conduct in welcoming such a rabbi into their home. If a guest entered your house who was of equal social rank, you would kiss them on the cheek as a token of mutual respect. If your guest was of a higher social rank than you, you would humbly kiss them on their hand. These were typical greetings that a Pharisee would have been well trained to give. Washing your hands and feet before eating was also a strict Jewish custom. It was mandatory. If you truly wished to honor a guest in your home, you would personally wash their feet for them as a sign of humility and respect. A typical, lesser honor would be to make your servant serve your guest by washing their feet. If you wanted to show them the least amount of courtesy, you would give your guest a bucket and a towel so they could wash their own feet. With very distinguished guests, you would also offer them an inexpensive oil for their head to act as a perfume. Simon had purposely not fulfilled ANY of these respects. He had literally ignored the Son of God! It was like Simon invited Jesus into his house, and wouldn’t even shake His hand! Simon knew the rules, and Jesus was insulted.
However, a prostitute had apparently witnessed Jesus preaching, healing the sick, and offering the forgiveness of sins. After hearing that Jesus would be dining with Simon, she recklessly crashed the party! She came to Jesus and poured her heart out in gratitude for the forgiveness and healing she received from this rabbi! Overwhelmed with love and adoration, she began crying over the Messiah. She carelessly watched as those tears landed on the dirty feet of her Savior, and humbly knelt to clean His feet with her hair! Knowing the burden of her sin, and feeling it’s weight lifted from her shoulders, she began kissing the very feet of her Forgiver. In her profession, her perfume would have been her livelihood. Knowing she couldn’t return to her past life and mistakes, she eagerly poured the entire contents upon the feet of her Redeemer.
Religiously, Simon had spent his life memorizing more than 300 prophecies about his guest. He knew all ABOUT Jesus, but Simon never truly KNEW Jesus. However, the desperate outcast, and despised sinner wouldn’t let any social implications of her actions keep her from reaching her Bridegroom.
One had rituals, another had faith. One had knowledge, another had transforming experience. One had religion, another had relationship. One had bondage, another received freedom.
Freedom may always be within grasp, but our hands are far too often so tightly clutching our pride that we have no grip to spare. Let it go! We treasure our temporary earthly reputation as far more important than our relationship with the eternal Creator of the Universe. If we remain ritualistically religious and never completely surrender to His will, we’ll never know the freedom the sinner received. Instead we’ll live our lives with the dissatisfaction of remaining in the bondage of our sins, and the frustration of a soul never satisfied.
We live in the Land of the Free, yet so very rarely exercise the extent of that freedom. As we celebrate our nation’s independence, consider your own options and bondages. What a perfect time to reclaim your spiritual independence!
Seek the Savior.