A Sweet Fragrance

Luke 7:44-47
44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much.
As Jesus often did, he began to explain the significance of the parable but this time it was not to his disciples but to the Pharisee Simon. And he begins to compare Simon’s lack of affection to Jesus with the woman’s overwhelming expression of love towards Jesus.
Common courtesy of the day was to greet your guests with a kiss on the cheek. Simon gave Jesus no kiss. Did he kiss the other guests and not Jesus? We don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what happened.
Then water and a towel would have been provided for the guest to wash the filth of the streets off of their feet. This was a courtesy provided on behalf of the whole dinner party because as you relined at the table your feet were likely closer to your neighbor’s nose than our own. If a family was wealthy enough a slave was given this responsibility. If not, it was the duty of a servant or the children of the host… but it was not to be ignored. You owe this to your guests! Did the other guests receive this courtesy and not Jesus? We don’t know, but I would not be surprised if that is what happened.
The last social responsibility was to anoint the head of your prominent guests with oil. It was a show of respect and it was a sign that the host was acknowledging the blessings of God upon his guests. It was often mixed with a perfume for a fragrance, possibly intended to cover the sweat and body odor of the individual who had traveled considerable distance to be there. It was considered a refreshment and people expected it to part of the greeting. Jesus received no such greeting. Was Jesus the only one who still smelled like a sweaty traveler? We don’t know, but I would not be surprised if that is what happened.
In the mind of the Pharisee Simon, Jesus did not merit any of these gracious tokens of respect and graciousness. How does Jesus fare at your house?
Prayer: Cause me to acknowledge the presence of the savior who fills my life so that I offer him the best of everything I own. May I never ignore him and treat him in ways that do not show the proper respect for my Lord. May I express my love, not in standard social norms, but with reckless abandon as I pour myself out in service to him.