One of the Pharisees asked him [Jesus] to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner." (Luke 7:36-39 ESV)Last Wednesday I was tired. I had had a couple of late nights in a row, and by the time I left my office after a long day and headed down to the parking lot, I was feeling a little distracted. A few weeks before I had bought the car in the picture above, a silver Ford 500, which I really like because there's plenty of room inside (I'm a tall guy) but which admittedly looks a lot like a lot of other cars out there. I stepped out into the parking lot, pushed the unlock button on my car remote, noted where it was, and headed that direction.
As walked over to my car and grabbed the door handle, I noticed something on the roof that I hadn't noticed before: a shark-fin-style spoiler or antenna. And I thought to myself, I've never noticed that up there before. How could I have never noticed that before? Then I pulled the handle, but despite my pushing the unlock button thirty seconds before, the door did not open. It took me another thirty seconds or so more to realize why.
I was at the wrong car. My car was right behind me; I had actually walked past it and tried to get into someone else's vehicle!
That evening in church we read the passage I've quoted part of above. Jesus did not react to the presence of the woman in the way the Pharisee expected, and the Pharisee assumed that it was because Jesus did not have the power to know prophetically who the woman was. Did Jesus have prophetic powers? Of course! Jesus' reaction to the woman was one of mercy and forgiveness, but the mindset of the Pharisee was one of law and punishment. Because of his own Theological assumptions, he completely misinterpreted the situation. Just like I had somehow blinded myself to the location of my own car and walked right past it to the wrong car, the Pharisee had blinded himself to the truth and walked right past it to reach the exact wrong conclusion. If you read the rest of the passage, you'll discover that not only did Jesus make it pretty clear that he was reacting to the woman in forgiveness, but He simultaneously proved He was a prophet by answering not the Pharisee's words (he did not speak), but his thoughts.
It's easy to get lost in our own Theology and our own "knowledge" and totally miss the point. Not everything you or I has ever been taught is the precise truth, and even if it had been, we are human and we misunderstand even the purest of truth sometimes. We have to make sure we keep our minds focused and our spiritual ears open to hear the Holy Spirit trying to clarify things for us. I don't want to be someone who misses the point and doesn't get in on something great that God wants to do!