She wasn’t even invited to the party. She slipped in, like a servant. She moved behind the guests, like a servant. She knelt by Jesus’ feet, like a servant.
The first indication that she wasn’t one of the regular servants must have been the smell. The aroma, actually, since expensive perfume doesn’t smell. But before the perfume permeated the room, before anyone noticed her, she stood invisible, weeping.Jesus was reclining next to the low table, feet behind him.
The woman was so intent on honoring Jesus that she became a servant. She was so devoted to Jesus that she risked his reputation. She didn’t risk her own, she had given it up long before. But her involvement with him would make him unclean.
The host, Simon the Pharisee, was aghast. But his judgment of Jesus was all in his head. Until Jesus brought Simon’s thoughts into the open and confronted him with a story about comparative offense, comparative forgiveness, and comparative devotion.
And with that, I’m going to stop trying to illuminate the story. You can fill in the pieces as well as I can. There is a person who thinks he is very good. There is a person who knows she isn’t. And there is a person who can see into both hearts, who challenges the one and forgives the other.
The details of the story end there. But I’m pretty sure that the first two roles are always available at any table where Jesus reclines.