One of the many things I love about Jesus is the way He behaved towards people–the way He treated them. When He was invited to have dinner at a Pharisee’s house, He accepted. The Pharisees were a group who made it clear that they didn’t accept Jesus as the Messiah and were always trying to trip Him up. Yet, here was one inviting Him to dinner and He graciously accepted. Jesus supped with anyone who opened his door to Him.
While they were eating, an immoral woman came in. She had heard that Jesus was there and brought a beautiful jar filled with expensive perfume. She knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
When the host saw what was happening and who the woman was, he said to himself, “This proves that Jesus is no prophet. If God had really sent him, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”
Jesus knew exactly what kind of woman this was but He did not shun her. He treated her as He would have treated anyone else. The fact that she had a bad reputation did not prevent Him from showing her love and mercy. He was accepting the person not the lifestyle. He was not condemning her as those around Him were. His love extends to everyone, including this woman. Jesus knew what was in the woman’s heart. She went to Jesus because she knew that He would not shun her like the rest of society. She knew that she would find unconditional love and grace.
Jesus tried to reach Simon, the host by telling him a story about a man who loaned money to two people—one five hundred pieces of silver and the other fifty. Neither could repay the man so he kindly forgave them both, cancelling their debts. Jesus asked Simon which of these two men loved the man more after that. Simon rightly answered that the one with the greater debt. Jesus turned to the woman and said, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered 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 give me a kiss of greeting, but she has kissed my feet again and again from the time I first came in. You neglected 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” (Luke 7:36-47).
Simon’s conduct toward his Guest was very lacking. He did not show Him any courtesy. He did not show Him any respect. He treated Him like any ordinary guest. The woman on the other hand, attended to Jesus. She showed Jesus genuine love. She treated Him the way Simon should have. Many of us are like Simon. We feel that once we invite Jesus into our homes and into our lives, that’s enough. We don’t bother to offer Him our attention, our time, our offerings. We think an invitation is enough. Jesus wants more than an invitation. He wants our hearts.
Jesus loves the sinner not the sin. This woman’s sin was great and she went to the only One who could offer her forgiveness. Jesus treated her kindly, showing that He appreciated what she did for Him and He offered a gift more precious than the one she had given Him–freedom. He once said, Jesus replied, “I assure you that everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free” (John 8:34-36).
The way Jesus treated this woman and many others who were outcasts in their communities led them to turn from their sinful lives and follow Him. If we treat people the way Jesus treated them, many would be encouraged to, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). Jesus doesn’t only want us to share the Gospel with others, He wants us to care for them–to love them as He loves us. He wants us to treat them as we want to be treated. Let our conduct reveal that we are indeed followers of Christ.