You gave Me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing My feet since I came in. You didn’t anoint My head with olive oil, but she has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.
It was customary in this time and culture to offer honored guests a kiss. Though it was not always the case, the host could also arrange to anoint the guest’s head with oil, which would refresh a guest after their travels. In this time and culture, both the kiss and anointing of oil were seen as signs of great respect for the guests who were entering the host’s house. However, washing the feet of a guest was very common and normal practice. For some reason Simon didn’t even do the most common courtesy of washing Jesus’ feet. This job was usually the task of a servant in the house, but it seems that Simon didn’t even provide this for Jesus.
Respect is somewhat of a lost art in today’s society. In a sea of selfishness we have lost our way when it comes to honoring one another. The love and respect that Jesus received from this woman was extravagant in one sense, but in another, it is what we would hope for. Pride can blind us to not even bring that which should be common for an uncommon God. We may arrive late to church, we may withhold our generosity, we may be slow to sing, or quick to judge, apathetic in prayer, casual with the word of God, or lazy in sharing the gospel—in all of these ways our respect for Jesus can sometimes be very much lacking. Perhaps we need to refresh our respect of Jesus? Maybe we don’t like to connect the dots in church family, but wouldn’t that make us similar to Simon in this story?
Perhaps our lack of respect for Jesus in church life is because we are surrounded by sinners—and also led by sinners who are now new creations in Christ, by grace. Simon seems to think his thoughts about Jesus are justified because of how Jesus accepts this woman. Maybe Simon longed to have that level of freedom and acceptance, but instead of joining in, he stood afar with disrespect. Jesus deserves honor and respect in every setting. Maybe other humans around us don’t see the need for respect and honor for the Creator of the universe—the Savior of our soul and the Redeemer of our lives—but like this amazing woman, I pray we care less for the opinion of others and more about the forgiveness we receive from Jesus, so much so that we never stop bringing Him respect every day.
May we kiss the face of the One who gave us new identity. May we anoint the head of the One who set our minds and hearts free from the imprisonment of sin. Our praises kiss His face, and our worship anoints His head. May we be those in the house of God who bring refreshing respect in a day and age of disdain and dishonor. May we be a people eager to worship Jesus and give Him the welcome He deserves—on Sundays when we gather as a family and everyday as we bring His love into His city. May Jesus say about us as a church that we brought refreshing respect to Him.
// Pastor Josh Kelsey