36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”
41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Do you ever wonder why many couples feed cake to one another at their wedding ceremony? The gesture was started as just one of many moments on their wedding day where the couple commits to provide for each other out of love and affection. Yet, the meaning behind this tradition easily gets overlooked because of our familiarity and playfulness with this ritual. Moments with Jesus around the dining table become so familiar to us, we can miss their significance as well. Just think about how often we find Jesus eating and drinking with tax collectors, sinners, disciples, and spreading out bread and fish to feed the masses. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus never shies away from meeting people in their need for food.
In addition, something marvelous happens in the sharing of bread. In today’s passage, we have the Creator of the Universe, the one who speaks “light” into existence, sitting in the presence of his tragically tainted creatures, enjoying the very same food he designed for human nourishment (Luke 7:36-50). Around one meal, Jesus offers sweet friendship and surprising grace to a teacher of the law and a publically labeled wrongdoer. The table levels the playing field and through one familiar ritual of eating a meal, Jesus creates something extraordinary. He’s not just consuming yummy food with his friends, although that may be true, Jesus is establishing a new way for them to encounter the God of the Universe.
By the end of the meal, Jesus says, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” This goes to prove Jesus is healing the great divide created by sin and promising hope out of his deep love and affection. And, he invites us into the promise to heal as well. When Jesus comes “eating and drinking,” he is offering every person who eats and every person who drinks the same chance to experience his love and affection.
Simply enjoy a meal with Jesus this week by stopping to reflect on what you are eating and what it would be like to have Jesus sit and eat the meal with you.
By Yvonne Biel