I was reading the book of Luke the other day in my Bible, and I came across one of my favorite passages, Luke 7:36-50. Instead of just reading right through it, I went a little deeper. I thought about how each individual felt, how they sounded, and what they looked like. I know that this isn’t your typical article, but I felt compelled to share this with you.
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. (I envision all of these people lying around this huge banquet table at the Pharisee’s home. It’s loud and everyone is talking and starting in on the appetizers.) 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. (I’m going to guess that earlier that day she had heard Jesus teaching. She probably had never heard or seen a man be that tender, loving, and compassionate towards anyone. Something also had to have caught her attention about how she, a sinful woman, was loved and cherished. After the teaching, she wanted to approach Jesus, but the crowd was just too large. She overheard Simon, the Pharisee, invite Jesus to his home. Then and there, she started to create a plan on how to get to Jesus. She gets there that evening and all she can think about is “I have to be near him… I have to know if it’s true…” She runs into the room and all she can see is Jesus, everyone else doesn’t matter and just fade into the background.) 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. (She gets to Jesus, and is so overwhelmed. She begins to cry. Her head lowers with the shame and guilt of her sins weighing heavily on her shoulders. She then notices that his feet are filthy. She drops to her knees and uses all that she has, tears, hair and perfume, to make them clean. By this time Jesus is looking at her with loving eyes and has a hint of a smile on his face. The other people in the room have dropped their loud merry chatter to whispers and murmurs.)
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.” (Thinking that Jesus and the woman couldn’t hear him, he said this to those nearest him, joining in on the gossip. I feel like he said this in his as-a-matter-of-fact teacher voice with a hint of sarcasim. But Jesus does hear…)
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” (The smile on Jesus’s face fades as he hears what the people are saying. He has a hint of disappointment in his voice)
“Tell me, teacher,” he said. (Noticing the seriousness of Jesus’s tone, he listens in intently.)
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?” (First off, a denarius was the usual daily wage of a day laborer. One person had an impossible debt to repay, and the other one could be paid with some effort.)
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” (After listening carefully to what Jesus had said, He replied with a nonchalant tone.)
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. (I can see Jesus nodding his head and that smile returning to his face.)
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. (He’s looking on her with love and compassion, as she sits there feeling condemned and silly for rushing in like she did. Her head is down cast. But she hears his words and begins to feel even more ridiculous. Jesus continues…) 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. (At this point Simon is a little stricken as Jesus lays it on him thick.) 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.” (At this point, I imagine Jesus squatting, and pulls her chin up to look into her eyes because he wants her to know that what she did was beautiful and to not be ashamed. Their eyes lock and tears begin to roll down her eyes again as she looks at him with big doe eyes.)
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (At these words the woman gives him the look of are-you-serious? And Jesus smiles and nods his head. His eyes full of compassion and sincerity.)
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” (Jesus and the woman are oblivious to those around them. It’s just her and her savior right there in that moment. The comments of the party guests could not destroy such a moment as this.)
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (He grabs her by the hand and pulls her to her feet. She smiles and leaves with a new confidence in her step. She turns and still sees him smiling after her. She knows that she is forgiven and that she is washed white as snow.)
Jesus wants us to be reckless and crazy in love with Him. He wants us to live out our faith in front of the whole world. I love this passage, and can connect with it on so many levels. The dare this month can be a multitude of things… I just ask that you seriously go through this story, and find your connection. Will you take the dare? Will you believe?