WHATS IN THIS BLOG:
• A prostitute crashes a dinner party.
• With a crazy act of love, she becomes the center of attention.
• The host secretly blasts her act of love.
• A guest uses the gift of mental telepathy to criticize the host.
• He then calls out the woman and rewards her.
• The cozy dinner-party atmosphere is blown to bits.
At a dinner party Jesus met up with a prostitute, and some crazy things happened. Here is my “engineering” interpretation (the story is given in full at the bottom):
• Jesus was invited to a dinner party by Simon, a church elder. Jesus was reclining, probably on cushions.
• A prostitute crashed the dinner party. With great courage I imagine she sneaked up in the semi-darkness and stood behind Jesus weeping. She leaned over and let her tears fall on Jesus’ feet. She wiped his feet with her long hair. She kissed his feet affectionately, and poured perfume on them…..expensive perfume! The other guests must have been amazed at this brazen interruption of the dinner party.
• Was there any compassion? Not by Simon, who was thinking to himself that if Jesus knew who the woman was, he wouldn’t allow this. With his legalistic perspective, Simon thought the woman wasn’t good enough to approach Jesus, let alone touch him.
• With mental telepathy, Jesus read Simon’s mind. And this tells us that Jesus would also have known who the woman was and what she traded for money.
• Jesus told Simon a story which connected love and forgiveness. Basically a lender canceled two men’s debts, and the one whose debt was larger therefore loved the lender more. Simon understood this clearly.
• Jesus said to Simon that the woman showed that she loved much, therefore her many sins would be forgiven. But wait! This is the reverse of what was the conclusion to his story about the two men who owed money. Simon had to be confused at this point. But not for long.
• Because Jesus rushes on to say these accusing words “He who is forgiven little, loves little.” He could have said “He who is forgiven little, judges much.” Simon and his cohorts knew a great deal about judging, but very little about grace and mercy. And they must have known that Jesus was pointing at them. The cozy atmosphere of the party was busted!
• Jesus confirmed his argument by telling the woman her sins were forgiven.
• The guests murmured among themselves, stumbling over Jesus authority to forgive the woman’s sins. They seemed to have completely missed the connection between love and forgiveness.
• As he said good bye, Jesus told the woman that her faith had saved her. Her great courage in coming to Jesus, and penitently demonstrating an act of love, led to her forgiveness.
• An approach like this still works today. If we approach Jesus and tell him we are sorry for the yucky mess we have made of certain events in our life, he will forgive us. And it feels terrific! We are forgiven more and we can love more! And we will judge less.
• I have known women who told me they had been judged by the church, and rejected by people within the church (how un-Jesus like!) And they never went back. How sad.
• The prostitute dared to hope that she could be forgiven….she knew and acknowledged her life was a mess. Simon and the guests didn’t think they needed to be forgiven, because they thought their attitudes and behaviors were always right (it’s called pride).
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The Gray Nomad
Probing the practice of Christian believers……
The Anointing in Galilee
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and He went into the Pharisee’s house [in the region of Galilee] and reclined at the table. Now there was a woman in the city who was [known as] a sinner; and when she found out that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume; and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began wetting His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and [respectfully] kissed His feet [as an act signifying both affection and submission] and anointed them with the perfume. Now when [Simon] the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him, that she is a [notorious] sinner [an outcast, devoted to sin].”
Parable of Two Debtors
Jesus, answering, said to the Pharisee, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Teacher, say it.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they had no means of repaying [the debts], he freely forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I take it, for whom he forgave more.” Jesus said to him, “You have decided correctly.” Then turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house [but you failed to extend to Me the usual courtesies shown to a guest]; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair [demonstrating her love]. You gave Me no [welcoming] kiss, but from the moment I came in, she has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not [even] anoint My head with [ordinary] oil, but she has anointed My feet with [costly and rare] perfume. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Those who were reclining at the table with Him began saying among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith [in Me] has saved you; go in peace [free from the distress experienced because of sin].”
[Book of Luke, chapter 7, Amplified Bible].