Welcome to Wednesday of Holy Week. On that fateful Wednesday of Holy Week, Jesus had a really full day, yet one part of it was pretty wonderful.
Luke tells us about a dinner party that Jesus attended in the home of a man named Simon. It is clear that Simon knew Jesus but did not particularly care to have him over for dinner.
As we read this block of Scripture in Luke 7, we see that Simon committed as many social errors as was possible in his culture with regard to this event. Miss Manners would have given Simon a failing grade as host for this dinner party!
He did not greet Jesus with a kiss, which was a huge insult. Simon never offered Jesus any water to wash is feet.
Another custom was to offer olive oil to a guest for the anointing of their head. Well, Simon failed to do that as well.
In modern vernacular, Simon blew Jesus off. It would have been an incalculable bout of rude behavior in the Eastern world.
In this same block of Scripture, we read of a woman who has, shall we say fallen from grace. With remorse and trepidation, she approaches Christ with an amulet very expensive perfume.
What she does next is almost too embarrassing to talk about, even in Jesus’ day. She wet his feet with her tears of repentance and poured the expensive perfume on his feet while wiping it off with her hair (Luke 7:37-38).
This gesture apparently got Simon’s goat. He started crabbing that if Jesus was a real prophet and a man of God, he’d never let this fallen woman touch him.
Yes, I know…hello pot…this is the kettle and you are black.
Simon had just committed the rudest behavior possible for his culture and then had the gall to croak about a fallen woman washing Jesus’ feet.
Yet, when we open our minds, we can see that there is much beauty in this event. It’s actually quite wonderful.
Can you imagine the courage it must have taken for a woman of ill repute to walk into a Pharisee’s house to meet Jesus?
Can you imagine the longing that she must have had for a restoration of her life? It is clear she poured out all she had in her soul to be saved; and, Jesus welcomed her fully, completely and unconditionally.
Also, on this fateful Wednesday of the first Holy Week, Jesus announced his passion. He said, “As you know, the Passover is two days away–and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified (Matthew 26:1-2 NIV).”
In this statement his is saying that he will willingly give up his life for humanity.
Behind the scenes, Caiaphas, the Chief Priest who is said to have organized the plot to kill Jesus, is conspiring with some Pharisees and Elders.
They are designing his arrest so that it will not be public. After all, to arrest Jesus in plain sight could cause a riot (Matthew 26:3-5).
Off to the side we see old Judas. He is cutting a deal.
“Then one of the Twelve–the one called Judas Iscariot–went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?’ So, they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over (Matthew 26:14-16 NIV).”
There were a lot of moving parts on this Wednesday of Holy Week. And, we know where things are heading.
So did Jesus…know where things were heading. Yet, he will willingly give up all that he had in the world to bring us home.
Humbling. Deeply moving. His love is irresistible. How can we fail to be profoundly changed by his passion, his love for all of us?