Posted by: Akash Vansal | June 15, 2011

The Lord Teaches Simon-The Pharisee

The Gospel :Jesus Teaches Simon, The Pharisee

In this series, Today we are going to see what He taught a typical Pharisee who invited Lord Jesus for a meal. This event in found in The gospel of Luke, chapter 7, verse 36 to 50. Lets go through it.

The Passage : 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, 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.”Luke 7:36-50

The Explanation : A certain man named Simon, belonging to the sect called Pharisee extends the invitation to Lord Jesus for a meal ( and perhaps to His disciples too) which The Lord accepts gladly. Pharisee were those people who studied the Holy Text carefully and also followed the oral traditions handed down by their forefathers. They stressed upon strict observance of the laws and commands of the Old Testament ( New Testament was not in existence at that time). They taught the people from the religious text.
This man Simon invited Jesus for the meal considering Jesus to be a “teacher” as can be understood to address in verse 40. And maybe even to be a ‘prophet’ (verse 39) but not fully convinced. This man must have invited Jesus just for pride that Jesus ate in his house. Even though he invited willingly without any compulsion, we see no heartfelt devotion on his part in serving the Lord.
1) He did not gave water to wash His feet. It was customary for the Jewish host to give water to the guest to wash hands and feet. Because they believed that the people become ‘impure’ as they walk through the streets and as they come in touch with other people. And before eating anything, they compulsorily washed themselves. This was very basic treatment handed down to every guests which Simon fails to do.

2) After washing feet, the host would kiss the guest on the cheek or forehead as a mark of welcome, but Simon did not cared to do so. This shows he had no much respect for Jesus.

3) And for honoured guest, the Jewish people used to anoint the head of guest with at least ordinary oil, b ut we see that Simon didn’t do this either. This shows his lack of respect and that he did not considered Jesus as special guest. So, we can conclude that Simons invitation was very casual, a formality, just to take the mileage associated with that that Jesus dined in his house. For this, he had specially invited some other guest who might be people of status or learned teachers of the law. For they showed displeasure to Jesus act of forgiving. (v49)

We also see a woman who had come without invitation. To some extent we wish to contradict ourself. Because we wish to say that she came with the invitation. Jesus presence invited her to come. And we see that even though she was not the host, she executed the responsibility of the host in a very touching and sincere manner.

This unnamed woman was a harlot. She had lived a sinful life. People like the Pharisees considered them as outcast. And no doubt I have very often behaved as the Pharisee do and very often fell short of the sincerity in worship of The Lord when compared to the worship offered by the ‘harlot’! I need to grow up and be mature citizen of the Kingdom of God.
Now, this woman being the harlot saved money from her ‘business’ and bought some strong perfume to impress her ‘customers’. The perfume is spoken as of very costly. Upon hearing that Jesus was in one of the house in her own town, she hurries to meet Jesus and comes along with the perfume jar. And we read that she washes Jesus’ feet with the waters of her heart, anoints His feet with her most possessed saving and wipes His leg with her glory, on which she took pride. She offered the best she had at the feet of Jesus.

Not every one appreciates true worshipping of the The Lord, particularly if the worshipper is illiterate, poor, ‘foolish’, and ‘sinner’–a big sinner. But Simon has no problem with the way of worshipping, but the ‘subject’ of worship. He seems to be telling, “do Jesus deserve worship? Maybe if He comes to know who the woman is, at the most He can be accepted as a prophet” Not only that, Simon expected that upon learing the character of the woman, Jesus would reject her worship or should reject her worship. To Simon’s dismay, Jesus instead narrates him a short story and seeks his judgement on the moral of the story. Based on his judgement, Jesus shows how miserably he failed in his responsibility and ultimately fell short for God’s grace and how the lady fulfilled her responsibility and found God’s favour.

The Gospel : Simon not only tried judging the woman, he also tried testing Jesus. Lack of faith leads to testing. When we invite or approach The Lord, it should be done in total belief and sincerity. Without faith, we cannot please God. Then, we should not judge others, but examine ourself. Upon sincere self-examination, we shall conclude, “I am the worst sinner.”
Except Lord Jesus in human form, no one is sinless. All have fallen short of the glory of God. No man can on his own do anything to reconcile himself with The Lord. Each one ‘big sinner’ or ‘small sinner’ need God’s gracious forgiveness. No penance, no pilgrimage, no fasting, no oath, no offering can take away our sins. Jesus alone can and ONLY HE HAS THE AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE SINS. But, for this we must turn around our way. We must turn from our old path to Jesus Way. The woman turned around. She committed her life to Jesus. She sacrificed the ‘Perfume’ she had reserved for her ‘customers’ to Jesus symbolizing that she now no more needed those. She found satisfaction, peace at the feet of The Lord. Are we ready to sacrifice or do away with ‘those’ things that keep us away from Jesus?

The Bible Study : The similar incidence of anointing of Jesus by a woman is found in all the four gospel. The incidence mentioned in Matthew 26 and Mark 14 are one and the same, but those mentioned in Luke 7 and John 12 are different ones. That means in all total three different incidence in four gospels.

Just take up for yourself the challenge to study in detail of these four incidences. You can make a chart comparing all these four incidence with respect to points like: Scripture reference, place of incidence, host name, woman name, time of incidence, medium of anointing, anointing on head or feet, who rebukes the woman, audience present, what Jesus says, etc…I am sure you will like it and it will be beneficial too.


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