During the holiday season many of us extend invitations for long overdue dinner engagements. You know-the all too common phrase, “We have to get together sometime soon.” Some guests we eagerly invite. Other invitations are more obligatory than desired. In Luke Chapter seven, we find that Jesus was invited to dinner at a Pharisee’s house by the name of Simon. We are not really told why Simon invited Jesus for dinner. What I believe is key in this story is who showed up and what took place.
You see, “a sinful woman”- i.e. prostitute, heard that Jesus was eating at Simon’s house. That is interesting in itself. One can surmise a myriad of possibilities on how she gained this information. She clearly did not have an invitation to this gathering, yet in her boldness, she showed up anyway. She stood behind Jesus and wept at His feet. Her tears fell on the Master’s feet, and she began wiping them with her hair. She then kissed His feet and poured perfume on them. She was undone as she looked deep in her heart by what she had done in her life.
Simon, on the other hand, did not look deep in his heart, but got distracted by the behavior of another. He was undone in a different way. Luke 7:39 NIV’84 says, “When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, He would know who was touching Him and what kind of woman she is-that she is a sinner’.”
Simon missed the invitation. Even though he invited Jesus OVER, he did not invite Him IN. The woman, unafraid to expose herself, invited Jesus into the deep recesses of her heart. She came to Jesus uninvited by man, but was welcomed and forgiven by the One who had the authority to forgive. She not only was in the Presence of God, she invited the Presence in.
What about the Church today? Many would say that we invite the Trinity to our personal lives and corporate gatherings. Yes, God is omnipresent. He is there. But is He invited IN? We can also be in the Presence of God and not have His Presence in us. Perhaps we are comfortable with inviting God and Jesus in. The Trinity, however; is Three In One-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Church, the Holy Spirit needs invited IN as well, not just invited OVER, lest we get distracted from our own sins and focus on the behaviors of others.
I challenge you to have a meal with the LORD. Invite Him into every crevice of your being just like “the sinful woman”. Her authenticity and surrender got her the forgiveness she needed and a lasting Presence with God. The Pharisee missed it, and when the dinner was over, Jesus left and Simon was left wanting. Eagerly invite God in and not just over by obligation. He will fill you, and you will hunger for more. The good news is there is always room at the table, and the supply never runs out.