Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy.
We had been invited to a banquet, and by ‘we’, I mean Jesus. We get to tag along and get a free meal. It was hosted by a local Pharisee named Simon.
When we arrived at his home, I looked around for water to wash the dust off my feet. Jesus was only shown the way to the table where others were stretched out. There were none of the basic courtesies for guests or teachers. A rabbi staying or eating with you is considered a great honor.
While we were eating, a woman slipped in and stood behind Jesus with tears streaming down her face. Jesus reclined with one arm propping him up and the other one was free to reach for his food. His feet were stretched out behind him.
The crowd was silent, save for the weeping woman, whose tears began to fall and hit Jesus’ feet. She knelt, tenderly wiping them away with her hair. Then she kissed them, and pulled out an alabaster jar of perfume, broke it open, and poured the contents on his feet.
Simon was turning red, and while Jesus watched her I heard Simon say to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
Jesus looked at him. “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
Simon, choking back a bit of his arrogance, replied, “Tell me, teacher.”
“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
“500 denarii,” I thought. That’s more than a year’s wages. You could go to jail or be forced to sell yourself into bond slavery to pay that back.
Simon answered, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
Jesus looked towards the woman while still talking to Simon. “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Simon didn’t take that very well. He turned red, not expecting to be called out for his inhospitality or to be used as a negative example.
Jesus sat up, meeting the woman on her level. “Your sins are forgiven.”
The table grew loud. “Who is this who even forgives sins?” “Only God can forgive sins.” What’s he doing?” “This is blasphemy!”
Jesus, ignoring them, reached up and wiped her tears away, saying, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
When we left, Jesus led us from town to town while he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God. We twelve were with him, some other men, and a few women, all who Jesus had helped cure of illnesses and demon spirits.
Mary, also known as Magdalene, had seven evil spirits cast out. Then there was Joanna, wife of Chuza the manager of King Herod’s household, and a woman named Susanna, among others. They weren’t just following Jesus, but also supporting him through their money.
It’s not unknown or that rare to have female benefactors. I had heard more than one critic complain about it. Even doing good and healing people will still get you criticized. These ladies were all in though.