The Way DAY 31 - Dinner with a Pharisee

DAY 31 - Dinner with a Pharisee

Luke 7:36-39

Jesus has clashed with Pharisees multiple times by this point in Luke’s Gospel. The Pharisees avoided spiritual contamination at all costs, especially by avoiding contact with sinful people. They have a big problem with Jesus because he thinks mercy trumps worries about contamination.

It’s surprising that “one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him” (7:36). Even more surprising, “Jesus went to the Pharisee’s house” to eat! But nothing’s more surprising than the moment “a woman in that town who lived a sinful life” shows up uninvited.

Meals were more open-door in that culture. Anyone could wander in. People reclined at a triclinium table, which is how the woman got to Jesus’ feet. Luke doesn’t tell us the woman’s sin. Maybe she was a prostitute. The fact that she lets down her hair in public and touches a man she’s not married to would’ve been enough to make people think she was.

What she did to be labeled “sinner” is less important than the assumptions made about her and how she’s treated because of those assumptions. The town long ago labeled her a sinner. How could she be anything else? Doesn’t her brazen, bizarre behavior confirm it?

Jesus turns the question around from “What did SHE do?” to “What do WE do?” How do we treat people who have a checkered past? What do we assume must be true about people based on what we see? Assumptions are dangerous things.

When have you had trouble because you assumed something but later found out you were wrong?

Father, as I begin this week, I open my heart to you again. Open my eyes to see people as you see people. Amen.

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