Luke 7:36-50
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”
Have you ever been to a dinner that for one reason or another became awkward? Maybe it’s a dinner party where one of the kids spills something and the parent overreacts and yells at them? And the whole room gets quiet? Or maybe grandma uses a swearword or Uncle Bill passes gas (sorry, it happens) and then blames the dog. Awkward! And you start to wish you were never there?
The things that happen at the Pharisee’s dinner party were the most awkward collection of events could happen in that day. Maybe in any day.
Jesus is invited to a dinner party by a religious leader who wants to humiliate Jesus, or at least to show Jesus disrespect, or maybe by showing his disdain for Jesus the other Pharisees will think more highly of him. We don’t know the answer but what we do know is this was a dinner party that he and the guests would not soon forget.
As the guests were reclining at the table and this woman comes in, uninvited, and moves directly and with intention to the feet of Jesus.
Who is she? We don’t know, but we have some clues… She was a woman who lived in that city and she was known as a sinner. How did she get that title? There is an implication that everyone knew her and her sin. The Pharisee said, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”
Many Biblical scholars believe we are talking about a prostitute who everyone knew. Many consider her to be Mary Magdalene or Mary the sister of Lazarus. But we just don’t know. But what we do know is that having a woman like that show up uninvited at a dinner party is the ultimate awkward. But Jesus is about to use this occasion to teach us all something about devotion and real love.
Prayer: Open my eyes so I will be receptive to the lessons that you are showing me in my own awkward situations and let me see the truth revealed in this parable.