Messiah in Yom HaBikkurim Chapter 24

Parable #5. Lender Forgives Unequal Debts:

  1. Today is Day #5
  2. The Fifth Mashal of Messiah
  3. The forgiveness of all debts on the day of Jubilee
  4. The annulment of all debts between Yehudim
  5. The forgiveness of all debts is connected with the Coming of Messiah
  6. The Rest of the Story
  7. We love because ‘He’ first loved us
  8. “The Woman Who Loved Much”
  9. Shim’on failed to hear, understand, and obey; he did not love others
  10. The Untouchable One whose sins were many
  11. In his pride and self-vanity the Parush became separated from Adonai
  12. In her humility and great love the Prostitute was separated unto Adonai

Today is Day #5:

1. Today is “Day #5” in the forty-nine day Countdown to Shavuot.

2. Today is Five days in the Omer.

Today is five days in the Omer.

היום חמישה ימים בעומר.פ

Haiyom chamishah yamim ba’omer.

“You shall count for yourselves — from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving — seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days.” (Leviticus). “You shall count for yourselves seven weeks, from when the sickle is first put to the standing crop shall you begin counting seven weeks. Then you will observe the Festival of Shavu’ot for Adonai Eloheinu.” (Deuteronomy).

“Blessed are You, Adonai Eloheinu, King of the universe, Who sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.”

ברוך אתה, אדוני אלוהינו, מלך העולם, אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וצוונו על ספירת העומר.פ

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sefirat ha’omer.

The Fifth Mashal of Messiah:

לְנשֶׁה אֶחָד הָיוּ שְׁנֵי בַעֲלֵי־חוֹבוֹת הָאֶחָד חַיָּב לוֹ דִּינָרִים חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת וְהָאַחֵר דִּינָרִים חֲמִשִּׁים׃ וּמִפְּנֵי שֶׁלּא הָיָה לָהֶם לִפְרֹעַ מָחַל לִשְׁנֵיהֶם וְעַתָּה אֱמָר־נָא מִי מִשְּׁנֵיהֶם יְחַבֵּב אֹתוֹ יוֹתֵר׃ וַיַּעַן שִׁמְעוֹן וַיֹּאמַר כִּמְדֻמֶּה אֲנִי זֶה שֶׁמָּחַל לוֹ יוֹתֵר וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יָפָה דָנְתָּ׃

לנושה מסים היו שני בעלי חוב. האחד היה חיב לו חמש מאות דינרים, והשני חמשים דינרים. כיון שלא השיגה ידם לשלם ותר לשניהם. ועכשו, אמר נא, מי משניהם יאהב אותו יותר? השיב שמעון: “לפי דעתי, זה שהנושה ותר לו יותר.” אמר ישוע: “יפה פסקת.”פ

[Lukas 7:41] A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred *dinarim, and the other fifty dinarim. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave (pardoned) them both. Now, please tell Me who of the two cherished him more? Shim’on answered and said, “I would imagine the one whom he forgave more.” He said to him, “You have judged beautifully.”

*A denarii was equal to one day’s wages.

The forgiveness of all debts on the day of Jubilee:

After the Messiah allows a known prostitute to wash his feet, he likens the sinful woman and the Parush (Pharisee) Shim’on to being two different debtors who are in debt to a moneylender. One debtor owes ten times more (*500 denarii) than the other debtor (50 denarii). Rabbeinu Yeshua masterfully uses the image of debt in the mashal as a way to describe guilt from sin. This linkage of debt with sin is represented in the Torah where the Hebrew word chayyav that means “debtor” also is used to describe a person who is guilty of sin.

This forensic number of five hundred (10 X 50) is not new to us.

The number of 50 is related to the observance of  Jubilee and the number 10 is associated with legal and judicial finality (sanctification). In regard to the time of Jubilee it is written in the Torah (Leviticus):

You shall sanctify the 50th year and proclaim freedom throughout the land for all its inhabitants; it shall be the Jubilee year for you, you shall return each person to his ancestral heritage and you shall return each to his family. It shall be a Jubilee Year for you – the 50th year – you shall not sow, you shall not harvest its after-growth and you shall not pick what was set aside of it for yourself. For it is a Jubilee Year, it shall be holy to you; from the field you eat its crop.”

In the Jubilee we are released from our slavery (debt) to sin. The people were notified of the Jubilee’s arrival by the blast of the shofar at the end of Yom Kippur (Leviticus 25:8 and Numbers 36:4). “You are also to count off seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven sabbaths of years, namely, *forty-nine years.”

Our Counting of the Omer to Shavuot also involves 50 Days. On the first day of firstfruits (ha-bikkurim) we are in the valley. We are meditating on the life of the Messiah. We are meditating on his teaching. We are celebrating his triumph over death, the joy of his resurrection, his ascension into heaven, and the promise that he shall return.

On the 40th day of our sojourn we observe the day of Messiah’s ascension into heaven, where he secured for us the gift of the Father. Ten days later, on the day of Shavuot, a remnant of 120 men of Israel received the gift of the Father, His Living Torah—the Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of Holiness.

Since God breathed His Spirit into the first Adam this was the greatest event in the history of mankind! This incredible event was the very beginning of the re-establishment of the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of Adonai, on earth!

The annulment of all debts between Yehudim:

Numbers 36:4:  “When Hayovel (the Jubilee) of the people of Israel shall be, then their inheritance will be added to the inheritance of the tribe to which they belong; so their inheritance will be withdrawn from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.”

Jubilee requires all debts between Jews to be annulled. Since the Messiah is a Jew this forgiveness of Jew to Jew includes forgiveness of any debts (sins) that the Messiah may legally hold against us. There are no exceptions. And this Scripture cannot be broken! The Messiah must and will fulfill all of Torah. He will forgive all Israel. He will save all Israel.

The forgiveness of all debts is connected with the Coming of Messiah:

In the Year of Jubilee in Israel, all debts were to be forgiven, and any land that a family had been forced to sell in a time of famine could be reclaimed by them. It is interesting that the prophets and rabbi sages connected this thought of the year of Jubilee with the coming of the Messiah. One of Rabbi Yeshua’s earliest statements that He used to define His ministry included a quote from Isaiah 61, which says that He (Ha-Mashiach) was anointed to proclaim “the year of Adonai’s favor.” The phrase to proclaim the year of Adonai’s favor is a direct reference to the year of Jubilee.

The Spirit of Adonai Elohim is upon me,
Because Adonai has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of Adonai (likro shnat-ratzon la Adonai)
And the day of vengeance of Eloheinu;
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness (Eyley HaTzedek),
The planting of Adonai, that He may be glorified.

We love because He first loved us:

אנחנו אוהבים מפני שהוא אהב אותנו תחלה.פ

We love because He loved us first.

Through the imagery of the Jubilee we can see something of Adonai’s immeasurable graciousness to forgive all our debts to Him. As indicated in the statement just referenced (in Hebrew) by the beloved talmid Yochanan the great irony here is in the general result of His forgiveness:

Those who have been forgiven much; love much
Those who have been forgiven little, love little!

But how could this be? Surely anyone who truly is perceptive of truth knows we “all” (other than Messiah alone) carry a debt of sin so large that it is beyond the ability of any of us to repay. Therefore, since we have all been forgiven such an incredible amount of debt, should not we all greatly love Him who forgave us so very much?

The Rest of the Story:

There is more to the story of the unnamed Prostitute who loved much and the Parush (lt. separated, pious one) Shim’on who loved little. So what follows is the Rest of the Story. It is suggested as you read the rest of the story of “The Woman Who Loved Much” that you give special consideration to the repeated emphasis upon the importance of being one that “hears.” Additionally, as was indicated in the last parable that we studied together please recall that in Hebrew the word hear requires a lot more than just acquiring knowledge and achieving basic comprehension.

In the Hebrew concept of hearing before one can truly claim that he has heard his Rabbi one must be able to say that he (she) has already completely obeyed whatever the Rabbi has told him or her to do. This key insight about the Hebrew word hear (shama, shema) means leads us to ask five important questions. These are:

Question #1.  Obedience is Man’s love language to God. But what does He demand of us? How shall we love Him who is our one true Eternal Rabbi? In another mashal the Holy One has commanded us (Israel) to turn-in our old dirty wedding garments for new wedding garments.

We must ask, have we heard, understood, and obeyed this commandment?

Question #2.  The Son of the Highest (ben Elyon) our Messiah has told us (Israel) to accept His New Wine and to keep this special beverage only in the New Wineskin He has given us.

We must ask, have we heard, understood, and obeyed this commandment?

Question #3.  The Son of the Living One (ben Elohim Chayim) has told us (Israel) to be the Light of the World, to be His City of Light on a hill that shines out upon all the peoples and nations of the World, like the glorious light that shone from the Temple in Jerusalem.

We must ask, have we heard, understood, and obeyed this commandment?

Question #4.  The True and Righteous Witness (Ed HaEmet v’haTzedek) has told us to be the House of God that is wisely built upon no other foundation than the sure foundation of His Word. For Messiah is the One whom Adonai in these last days has spoken to us through. For Adonai Avinu has appointed the Messiah to be Nachalah Vako (heir of all things).

We must ask, have we heard, understood, and obeyed this commandment?

Question #5.  And now He, Who is the lover of our souls, tells us yet again to hear His Voice, “you are released from your slavery (debt) to sin;” and so are we now to proclaim to the family of Israel and to all the nations, peoples, and families of the world (the Commonwealth of Israel) His Good News: “You are forgiven!

We must ask, have we heard, understood, and obeyed this commandment?

“The Woman Who Loved Much:”

The narrative of “The Woman Who Loved Much” is the second of Messiah’s Ten Forgiveness Sayings. (All ten of these forgiveness sayings are recited and discussed in chapters 11-20 of the Messiah in Yom Kippur.) It is found only in the third Jewish Gospel; which is the witness of the third Face of the Messiah (there are four) that is found in the prophet Ezekiel’s two visions of the “Proceedings of the Heavenly Court:”

Now one of the Prushim was requesting Him to dine with him. And He entered the house of the Parush, and reclined at the table. And behold, there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that he (Rabbi Yeshua) was reclining at the table in the house of the Parush, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with the perfume. Now when the Parush who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself:

“If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”

And Rabbi Yeshua answered and said to him, “Shim’on, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Rabbi” (Teacher): “A certain money lender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. Which of them, therefore, will love him more?” Shim’on answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And he said to him, “You have judged beautifully.” And turning toward the woman (facing the woman), he said to Shim’on, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And He said to her:

“Your sins have been forgiven”

And those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this Man who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman:

“Your faith has saved you; go in(to) shalom.”

Shim’on failed to hear, understand, and obey; he did not love others:

Shim’on invited Rabbi Yeshua to dine at his home as his special guest. It was customary during the Messiah Yeshua’s day that the host would provide for the washing and cleansing of the guest’s feet before the meal. Due to the roads being unpaved, dusty, or muddy, and the normal footwear being sandals, people’s feet would get quite dirty. Shim’on failed to provide the customary service to his guests at the beginning of the dinner party (cf. “hachnasat orchim” – הכנסת אורחים). Hospitality was considered a Divinely mandated sacred responsibility that was binding on everyone living in the Middle East. So Shim’on’s behavior here would have been considered pretty low form for any person; especially of his high social status. The Master was reclined because the custom was to recline on the floor, or on low level couches while eating (1, 2).

The Untouchable One whose sins were many:

The woman arrived at the dinner no doubt as soon as she “heard” (inference and emphasis mine) Rabbi Yeshua was eating at Shim’on’s house (בית השימוע-Beit HaShimon, lit. “The House of Hearing”). The woman had lived a sinful life. She had lived a sufficiently despicable enough life that Yeshua characterized her sins as being “many” and Shim’on labeled her a person of exceedingly sinful disposition, unworthy to even be touched (Outcast – an untouchable one; מְנוּדֶה – מנודה, שלא ניתן לגעת בו).

She was an outcast, an untouchable one; yet she still was entitled to hear the healing words of the visiting rabbi -the Messiah!

The woman bringing a jar of very costly perfume for Rabbeinu (our Rabbi) Yeshua was a known prostitute, an outcast, an untouchable yet she had the great courage to come to “The House of Hearing” anyway. For the presence of the woman was not forbidden. Since when a rabbi of renown was at person’s home, others within the community at large were allowed to visit that they too might ‘hear’ the “wisdom” of the rabbi (את חוכמתו של הרב). Yet, the prostitute’s pouring of expensive costly perfume on Rabbi Yeshua’s feet, her kissing his feet, her unfurling her hair and using it to wipe her many tears from off his feet – this was absolutely inappropriate – and even more scandalous: Rabbi Yeshua publicly “accepted” these expressions of deep affection!

Shim’on was convinced of his own self-sufficiency and self-importance:

The opening up story about the two debtors, one owing fifty days pay and the other five-hundred days pay (50 and 500 denarii), and the follow-up preference question, “Which one loved the lender more?” afforded Shim’on opportunity to perceive his sins of omission and commission. Shim’on had not greeted Rabbi Yeshua with an attitude of proper humility and respect. He was arrogantly convinced of his own self-sufficiency and prideful self-value and was unaware of his own relational impoverishment.

In his pride and self-vanity the Parush became separated from Adonai:

The Parush Shim’on was self-deluded.

The self-righteous ‘separated one’ saw himself as being pure, innocent, and virtuous. His self-perception was that he, unlike the woman, was not a sinner. Therefore, forgiveness was something of which he needed very little.

In contrast, the woman knew very well she was a sinner.

The woman fully understood that she was in desperate need of forgiveness. Therefore, on the one hand the pious man perceived little need for the forgiveness of God and thus he possessed little appreciation or love for God. And on the other hand, the woman perceived great need for Adonai (the LORD), and thus she possessed and demonstrated much love and appreciation for Adonai (our Father and our God).

In her humility and great love the Prostitute was separated unto HaShem:

It is a tragedy that the Parush Shim’on (the ‘Separated one who Hears’) while dwelling in his House of Hearing could not live up to the meaning of his name. If Shim’on had truly heard, understood, and obeyed what Rabbi Yeshua was saying to him he too would have humbly heard the words:

“Your sins have been forgiven.”

“Your faith has saved you; go into shalom.”

Yet, in his pride the Separated One chose to live in a state of genuine separation from HaShem (מֶרְחָק – במקום מרוחק). He chose to live a life of little forgiveness and little relational love; a life without the shalom of Avi HaRachamim (Father of Mercies).

Then, unlike the Pious One, we see the lowly woman. In her humility she chose to hear the words of the Messiah, do teshuvah (repent) and live a new life of genuine dedication and love toward HaShem. Therefore, she chose to embrace a life of great forgiveness and abundant life abiding in the true House of Hearing, the Beit HaAvi HaRachamim (בית האבי הרחמים)—-“The House of the Merciful Father!”

NEXT, PARABLE #6, LAMP ON A STAND…

Messiah in Yom HaBikkurim Chapter 25 >>