The Uninvited Guest

 

Theme: Showing our love for Jesus. Proper 6(11) Year C
Object: A party invitation
Scripture: Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and 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. Luke 7:36-38 (NIV)

If you have ever been invited to a party, raise your hand. That's just what I thought! Every one of you has been invited to a party! Perhaps you got an invitation like this one in the mail -- or maybe you received an invitation by telephone. Sometimes a friend may come up to you and say, "I am having a party at my house this Saturday, would you like to come?" It is nice to be invited to a party, isn't it?

Have you ever heard of anyone who heard about a party and went to the party, even though they were not invited? Usually, we don't go to a party unless we are invited, but our Bible lesson today tells about a woman who did exactly that. I think we may be surprised to learn what Jesus said about her.

A man named Simon invited Jesus to have dinner at his house. Simon was a member of a very strict religious group called Pharisees. He invited Jesus into his home because he had heard about all of the miraculous things that he had been doing and that many people thought that he was a prophet. No doubt, he wanted everyone to know that Jesus had visited in his home so it would make him look important in the eyes of his friends.

As they began to eat dinner, a woman with a very bad reputation in the town came into the house. She had heard that Jesus had been invited to eat there and she wanted to see him and be near him. She stood behind Jesus, and because she loved him so much, she began to cry. Her tears fell on the feet of Jesus and, since she had nothing with which to dry his feet, the woman knelt down and began to dry the feet of Jesus with her hair. Then she took some expensive perfume and began to rub it on his feet.

Simon was upset by what he saw and said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him and would have nothing to do with her. She’s a sinner!"

Jesus could see that Simon was upset, but his response to Simon was quite surprising. He said to him, "Look at this woman kneeling here. When I came into your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You didn't give me the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love."

Then Jesus said to the woman, "Your sins are forgiven."

Which person in this story are we most like? Are we like the Pharisee who thought he was too good to associate with sinners, or are we like the uninvited guest who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears of love and anointed him with her best perfume?

Jesus, our Saviour, may the love which we show for you be a reflection of the love which you show for us. Amen.