Simon was a religious man. He understood morality; he understood right from wrong. He knew what things a good person should do and what things a good person should avoid. Mostly, I would guess that Simon and I would probably cast similar votes on election day. I would guess that he and I would avoid the same places, habits, and people. One day, Simon had the privilege of having Jesus over to his house for dinner.
During the course of that meal, a very unusual thing happened. A woman who was a known "sinner" came over and began to kiss Jesus' feet. She kissed his feet. She was crying as she did this, and she was wiping off his feet with her hair. How awkward for Simon. How awkward this is for me to watch, you might say, as I read this story. I am a by-stander, these many years later, to a very intimate, and potentially humiliating moment.
I am not really concerned with Simon. I don't need to analyze his thinking. I understand him well enough because I'm like him. I relate to Simon. I think most people I know are probably like Simon.
I have also known a few women like the one in this story. That is, I have known some sinful women. I have known some, what others call, "loose" women. I only mention this to say that I know some folks like her; who do and have done the things she did. She is hardly an unusual character.
I do not understand Jesus. I do not know anyone like him. He is the odd thing in this story for me, and the one that I most want to be like. I can relate to Simon because I am Simon. And really, I think he is the most common, if not the most easily despised character in the story. I can understand the immoral woman. I cannot understand Jesus, and yet I must.
I know that the main point of this story is that the immoral woman loved Jesus more than Simon. I get that part of the story. I amen that part of the story. I love it that Jesus rebukes Simon's, and therefore my, pettiness. I need more than that.
I want to know how Jesus did it. How did he gain this woman's love, real love. She was a woman of "ill repute." She knew what it was for men to desire her. She knew what it was to enjoy a man. So, I have to wonder, how was her encounter so different with Jesus? He obviously did not pursue her as an object of lust. I want to know what he said to her. I want to know where he met her. I want to know how his kindness to her and his love for her as an individual was made so obvious to her that it broke her heart and healed it at the same time. I want to know what he did or said that was so powerful that it would overcome her probable dislike of Simon so much that she would break taboo to go into Simon's house and kiss Jesus' feet! How did he do that? I say with those gathered, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?" I say this and I know who he is. He amazes me.
There are plenty of Simons in my town, and there are plenty of people of ill-repute. I want the church to be like Jesus, who was able to sit with both, who was able to amaze both. Oh that God would help the church to be amazing again like his Son is! For myself, today I must be contented to watch Jesus as the woman kisses his feet while Simon scowls, and the guests shift nervously in their seats.
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