Jesus was a dinner guest in the home of a very religious man. This man, Simon, appears to have extended the invitation to the Saviour as an act of condescension. Although Jesus realized that the welcome was not genuine, He nevertheless complied with the request of His self-righteous host.
Simon and his friends were in the presence of the Fountain of Light. Yet they were not aware of His glory. Although these men had read and studied the Old Testament prophecies, they did not realize that the promised Messiah was present. If they had only known Who He was, no doubt, they would have pleaded with Him for the riches of His all-sufficient grace. Not knowing their spiritual poverty, they had no desire for His love.
The outward nearness was close. Alas, the inward distance could not be measured!
Unexpectedly, a very remarkable incident took place. A woman entered the house of Simon. She was a great sinner, even in the opinion of her fellow creatures. The woman had been seduced by the subtle temptations of the deceiver and destroyer of mankind. In the ways of sin, she had often silenced her conscience. Her heart had become cold and frozen; her soul was lost, ruined, and dead!
Heavenly grace was given to this hardened sinner. It was the powerful means to awaken the woman. Reality came home to her and she perceived her ruined condition. To whom could she go for help? Who could give her hope and comfort? Her former companions would not understand. They would mock and increase the hurt of her wounded heart. The moral and religious, unless they knew something of the brokenness of heart, would be too critical and judgmental. No one pitied the poor sinful woman.
To whom then could she go? To God her Maker? How could the thought of God give her peace? Did her grave transgressions not call for His special displeasure?
Yet, day and night she cried to God, ÒLet my prayer now find acceptance, in Thy mercy answer me. Full of troubles and affliction, nigh to death my soul is brought. Helpless, like one cast forever from Thy care and from Thy thoughtÓ (Psalter 240:1).
The poor helpless woman was not entirely without hope. The good news of the precious Fountain of Mercy had reached her heart. She had heard the music of the matchless name of Jesus. He had made the lame man leap as an hart. Jesus had touched and healed the leper. In wondrous grace, He had pardoned sinners. His mercy changed enemies into friends.
When the woman heard of the Friend of Sinners, a spark of hope was kindled in her burdened heart. She longed for His presence. Her chief desire was His pardon. A life in His favour would give her joy and peace. Although it was with fear and trembling, she believed. She could not rest until she had found the Saviour from sin.
Where was Jesus? He was in the home of Simon the Pharisee. She knew that she was not welcome there. Yet her fervent desire was so strong that she overlooked all hindrances. This was her golden opportunity. Only one Person was important to her. She was the sinner and Jesus the Saviour. She went to the home. Doubtless, she desired to speak to Jesus. To Him she would confess her sin and make her plea for pardon. But when she saw the Saviour, she was too deeply moved to speak.
In His sacred presence, she was a sinner. His love was the need of her heart. As she stood at His feet, she wept bitter tears of sorrow. In His nearness, she saw the darkness of her sin and experienced the purifying effect of His holy love. A love, unknown to her before, filled her contrite heart. A description of this wondrous love never fully answers to reality. Yet this love has a name; it is a heavenly, divine love.
The tears of sorrow were an eloquent expression of the sentiments of her heart. She washed ChristÕs feet with her tears, wiped them with the hairs of her head, kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
Tenderly, Jesus forgave the one who surrendered at His feet. Neither Jesus nor the woman spoke a word. Words were not necessary, yet they both knew. When forgiveness is experienced, there are always two who know it: the Christ Who pardons and the sinner who is pardoned.
The angels in heaven rejoice when the Saviour and a poor sinner are united. GodÕs children here on earth, who have known the self-same grace are likewise filled with joy, when they hear about a penitent sinner who has experienced pardon by the love of Jesus. However, people like Simon frown in displeasure. Their pharisaic self-righteousness hinders them from appreciating the secret joy of true sorrow for sin and it blinds their minds for the special love of Christ that saves. In this regard, there are no neutrals. We either take our place on the side of the woman, at the feet of Jesus, or we join the murmuring Simon and his companions. On which side are you? Mercy received from the heart of Jesus is the richest treasure a human being can know. There is yet room at His feet!