In The House Of Simon


One of Jesus’ favourite ways of teaching was telling stories, we call them parables. They were real-life stories, real flesh and blood stories about people who were confronted with real problems.

These were the same identical problems we are confronted with today. Thus, there is real power in all the stories of Jesus. If we will look closely enough, we can usually see ourselves somewhere in these stories of Jesus.

One of the great weaknesses of our teaching today is we don’t relate or apply our teaching to today’s problems. Often, we are only learning facts. We need to learn how to live.

I want to share with you one of these stories of Jesus.

Jesus The Invited Guest

Have you often wondered about some of those dinner invitations? Why me? They don’t owe us one. At this point, Jesus was a celebrity. His fame had spread far and wide.

Maybe it was like we used to have years ago when it was a big honour to have the preacher over for dinner. At this dinner was Jesus to be the celebrity guest or the main course!

‘When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 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. 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.’ Luke 7:36-38

Jesus would as the custom was in that day recline with his head toward the table and his feet in the opposite direction. Suddenly an uninvited guest appears and begins to wash his feet, not with water but with tears flowing from her eyes. Then instead of using a towel, she uses her own hair to dry his feet. Then she breaks a jar of perfume and anoints the feet of Jesus.

We are told that she led a sinful life. This was probably a polite way of saying she had been a prostitute, although this can’t be proven. Please don’t picture her as the fictitious lovable prostitute you see on television.

Rather witness a wretched soul, burdened with guilt, who had sold her body to countless, nameless, faceless men. She was past feeling for anyone, much less a man. One who was so degraded she was beyond reclaiming human dignity.

The silence much have been deafening. How did she get in here? Why would he let such a person do this? Houses were much more accessible then than they are today with our deadbolt locks and chains. Why did she come here?

There have been many speculations as to why. She may have been in that crowd on one occasion when the Lord said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 and she said, “That’s me.” Or she may have been present when she heard him say, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32 and she said, “That’s me.”

‘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.” Luke 7:39

What was the reaction of the Pharisees? What if we had been there? What would our reaction have been? What would it be now?

‘Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 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?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.’ Luke 7:40-43

Notice that neither person had enough to pay their debt. What was Jesus’ point of the parable to Simon?

‘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. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:44-47

Simon was supposed to be the host but according to the text, who was the real host? Remember the woman was in Simon’s home and she was right there in front of everyone, but why did Jesus ask Simon, ‘Do you see this woman?’ Could it be that Simon looked upon her as a tramp, as someone who didn’t deserve God’s grace? Read Jonah 4:4 and Matthew 20:15, why are these texts relevant to Simon’s attitude?

‘Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:48-50

Can you imagine hearing Jesus telling this woman, her sins were forgiven? What do you think the woman is feeling after being told her sins were forgiven?

Look at the reaction of the other guests, why did they say what they said? In what way did her faith save her? In what way would she experience peace when she left the house?


Customs are different today as far as eating and bathing are concerned but what if a prostitute were to come into our midst and sit down with us, while we are eating a fellowship meal together? How much whispering would go on? How would she be received?