Do you remember the story of the woman who came to Jesus and washed His feet with her hair? Luke 7:37-38 “When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” I believe that there are many lessons we can learn from this encounter this woman had with Jesus. First of all she had a desire to worship the Savior, and even though the way she chose to worship Him was different than the “acceptable” manner of worship of her day, she still chose to worship Him. We can also observe the amazing love Jesus had for sinners. It reminds us of how our lives should reach out to people and love them, just the way Jesus did.
But today, I would like to emphasize another lesson that we can learn from this story and point out how Jesus rejected the self-righteousness of the Pharisee whose house he had been invited to. Luke 7:39 “When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said 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.” Maybe the Pharisee was annoyed that this woman had arrived at his house uninvited or maybe he was embarrassed that his guests had to see this disgraceful display form a woman who did not belong to his circle of friends. Whatever the reason for his displeasure, his attitude reflects the spirit of self-righteousness that many followers of Christ have today. The Bible warns against this sin.
Proverbs 30:12-13 “There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness. There is a generation oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up.” This proverb warns against the sin of self-righteousness. God condemns this sin here by telling us that it cannot make the self-righteous person pure. Romans 10:3-4 “Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Paul is telling us that self-righteousness is an outward sign that someone has rejected God’s righteousness. A person who is self-righteous, displays their own legalistic self-pride and chooses to reject Christ who is full of grace and truth.
It’s probably safe to say that everyone has come across self-righteous individuals and can testify to just how offensive they are to others. In this passage Jesus teaches Simon a lesson that is so important for each of us to learn in this day and age in which we live. Luke 7:40-47 “Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarius, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 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. 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-for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Just when we are getting a little full of ourselves God reminds us that we need to stop and remember just how much He has forgiven us of, and just like this woman, it should lead us to worshipping Jesus not feeling puffed up about our accomplishments. It should cause us to love sinners and desire to share with them how their sins can be forgiven, and it should result in our rejecting the spirit of self-righteousness and feeling that we are better than someone else.
God’s Word teaches us that as we reject self-righteousness we are to walk with humility. Humility brings blessings and unlocks more grace to a true servant of Christ. Self-righteousness is a characteristic of an unbeliever in Christ: The Bible talks about those who are self-righteous in Isaiah 65:5 “‘Keep away; don’t come near me, for I am too sacred for you!’ Such people are smoke in my nostrils, a fire that keeps burning all day.”
As we near the end of a school year, I pray that our students have seen each of us here at FCS as humble servants of God who are examples of humility and have loved them this year just as Jesus loves them, no matter what they may have said or done. Our opportunity to influence them this school year is quickly passing by. May we use these final days to love them to Jesus, who accepts each one, just the way they are. For parents the summer break is a great time to nurture your children, and teach them about having true humility in a world that only emphasizes self-fulfillment and worth.