39: A Welcome For Jesus
Simon the Pharisee was giving a banquet at his house. The tables in the banquet room were set, and the couches were ready for the guests to recline on. The doors were open wide, and the servants stood prepared to serve the prominent guests.
Simon knew what was expected of him as a host. He showed honor to his guests as they came in. He had their feet washed and their heads anointed with a sweet-smelling oil. He even had their clothes sprinkled with scented water. He embraced his friends one by one and led them inside. He showed each one personally to his place at the table.
Then Jesus arrived. He, too, had been invited by Simon. Actually, that simple rabbi from Nazareth did not belong in such refined company. He should consider Himself fortunate that Simon had bestowed such an honor upon Him.
Simon wanted to have a quiet talk with Jesus sometime; he really did not know what to think of Him. The people said that He was a prophet. Great numbers followed Him. But the scribes declared that He was a deceiver and a false teacher. Simon wanted to form his own opinion of Jesus. Therefore he invited Him to this banquet.
Jesus accepted the invitation, although He knew exactly what Simon was up to. Simon did not make much of a fuss over his simple guest. He received Jesus in a cool, distant manner. He did not summon a servant to see to Jesus' needs. Instead Simon led Jesus into the banquet room just as He was, hot and dusty from His journey. He pointed to a place at the far end of the table and left Jesus alone. He didn't want that carpenter's son to think He was just as important as the other guests.
The banquet began. The guests lay around the table on long couches. They leaned on one arm and stretched their legs behind them.
There was Jesus among all these rich, proud people. He was just as calm and friendly as He had been when invited to eat with the sinners and tax-collectors in Matthew's house. He knew what the other guests thought of Him, but He said nothing. Their proud contempt and the insulting reception of His host did not hurt His feelings.
The platters were passed. Wine was poured into the cups. Conversations were struck up.
Poor people from the street crowded together at the open door to see the wealth and luxury inside the home of this wealthy man. That was the custom in those days: the poor people were allowed to gather at the open door.
Then something happened that shocked the guests and onlookers. A woman pressed through the crowd at the door and walked into the banquet room. She fell down at Jesus' feet and wept.
No one knew what this meant, but Jesus understood. He knew that this woman was deeply unhappy because of the sin in her life. She was a sinner whom everyone looked down on and hated. She had heard Jesus preach in the city, and she yearned for Him. She believed that only He could save her. Therefore she had bought myrrh for Him and some expensive oil in an alabaster jar. When she heard that Jesus was a guest in this beautiful house, she came inside.
She felt she simply had to get to Him quickly. Now she had found Him, and now she could speak to Him about what was in her heart.
Her tears dripped on His feet. She wanted to dry them, but she had no towel. Therefore she dried Jesus' feet with her long hair. She kissed His feet repeatedly and anointed them with the oil she had brought.
That way she showed her repentance and love. At the same time, she demonstrated her faith in the Savior.
Such was the welcome Jesus received at Simon's house.