Then he turned toward the woman and said 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. — Luke 7:44-45
I hate how easy it is to become a Pharisee. To me, a modern day Pharisee is simply someone who uses the things of God to exalt themselves. It is a person who picks a set of rules that is easy for them to follow, then looks down on others who don’t follow that particular set of rules as well as they do. Basically, Pharisees are people who say “if you’ll be more like me and do more of what I do you will be blessed, like me” I can only imagine the stink this produces in God’s nostrils.
I wonder why it is so easy to start putting your faith in what you do as opposed to what God did? It is amazing how sin shrinks God…and puffs us up. Can you imagine the Pharisee in this story inviting Jesus to His house and not even giving Jesus any of the common courtesies? He didn’t provide Jesus any water for His feet. He didn’t greet Him with a kiss. Our Lord Jesus Christ was shrunk down to the level of a Pharisee in the Pharisee’s mind. The Pharisee saw himself as equal with Jesus.
Even now, I want to become a Pharisee and chastise this Pharisee. That is, until I look back and see how many times I’ve marched into God’s House, sat down, propped my feet up and said “feed me,” or “entertain me.” No, I didn’t say this out loud, but that was my attitude. I didn’t pray before the service. I didn’t ask God to examine my heart and see if there was anything in there that needed to be placed at the foot of the cross. I didn’t prepare my sinful and selfish heart at all. Jesus and I were equals. I needed Him, but I thought He needed me too. How honored Jesus must have been to have me in His house! Then, one day, Jesus brought my attention to the woman in the story.
I will never forget one Sunday at Open Door Baptist Church in Walhalla, South Carolina. I knew something powerful was going on, I just wasn’t in on it. I watched dozens of grown men and women just weep before the Lord. God’s Presence was just that thick. Yet, there I was with no tears. Now, I hade been trying to be a “good” person. I was reading my Bible. I was staying away from sin better than I ever had before and God had to have been pleased with His servant, Adam Hopkins! But, what did these “criers” know that I didn’t know? What was the difference? Their experience was certainly different than what I was experiencing in my chair across from Jesus. All I knew to do was pray. “Lord, next time this happens, I want to cry. I want to feel what they are feeling.”
It only took a couple of weeks. I became so aware of how much sin I still brought to the table. For the first time I wanted to get out of my chair and bow down there at His feet with the sinful woman. I think for the first time I realized that I was forgiven MUCH. I soon found myself weeping in church. It was powerful, it was emotional, and it was just plain wonderful!
And to think all I had to do was go from the Pharisee’s chair that placed me equal with Jesus, to the floor, which placed me at His feet, equal with the sinful woman.
Lord, help me never sit in the Pharisee’s chair again.