Picture if you can a banquet prepared in honor of Jesus, by Simon a Pharisee. Many of the spiritual potentates were also seated around Jesus, all vying for the best position. Suddenly the door opens and in walks with Mary Magdalene, a woman of loose reputation – known by all, known too well by few.
Only a short time ago, the Pharisees had caught her in the very act of adultery and had quickly condemned her to death by stoning. They literally threw her down at the feet of Jesus, a place that she would become very accustomed to being. At this feet, her life was redeemed and snatched from certain death. Mercy was so lovingly and freely given.
Upon her entrance, the entire room was filled with smug, “righteous indignation.” Unmoved, she ignored their hatred and moved toward Jesus. Now, any one of the Pharisees could have quickly made a fool out of her doctrinally, but one thing they could not ridicule was the fact that Jesus had literally saved and spared her life.
She did not come to receive a blessing from Him. She came, risking ridicule and rebuke, just to pour out her love and passion for His presence. The flame of her love and passion for his presence destroyed and consumed any fear she had of man. She had only one agenda – to get to the feet of Jesus.
Mary moved quickly to where Jesus was reclining with her most precious possession, an alabaster box filled with fragrance worth more than a year’s wages. She broke the seal and poured the oil upon Jesus. Note that she did not just open the box and pour a little dab. She lavished it all upon Him. Going a step further, she held nothing back. She let down her hair, wet His feet with her tears, and wiped His feet dry with her hair.
What in an incredible picture and example of true worship.
Some of the banquet attendees grew very indignant. Why was this expensive perfume wasted? She could have sold it for a fortune and gave it to the poor. My own thoughts are none of them really worried about the poor here. Their problem with this whole thing was that they did not believe that Jesus Himself was worthy of such a lavish gift.
Pharisees had invited Him to their banquet, but they offered no intimacy. The liked the idea of having Him around, but deep down they were unimpressed with his presences. In fact, Simon was so unimpressed that he began to say to himself “if this man were a true prophet, he would know what kind of woman was touching him.” Jesus immediately read his mind and cut through to Simon’s heart.
You see, sitting back at the door was something Simon and everybody else had totally missed. They were in such a haste to get a good position that they overlooked the pitcher, a basin, and a towel. Custom was when you entered the into a man’s home, he first kissed you on the cheek then had a servant wash the dust and dirt off your feet. The servant would also dry your feet with a towel and anoint your head with oil. Jesus looked at Simon and replied, “Simon, a man loaned money to two people- five hundred pieces to one and fifty pieces to another. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you supposed loved him more?” Simon said, “I suppose the one who owed him most.”
Jesus said, “You have answered correctly. Look at this woman kneeling here at my feet. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t give me a kiss of greeting, but she kissed my feet again and again. You were so unimpressed with my presence that you neglected the courtesy of anointing my head with olive oil, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. I tell you her sins though they are forgiven. She has loved much; but he who is forgiven little, love little.” So, out of all of the religious high and mighty present in the house that day, including His own disciples, only Mary found the greatest position, “sitting at His feet.”
We sadly live in an age where style has become much more important than substance, and men strive and struggle to gain position. It is my prayer that we will be found sitting at His feet, “the greatest position” of all.