- The Second Forgiveness Saying
- The Testimony of the Perfect Man
- The Parush and the Prostitute
- Shim’on failed to practice well the Divine principle of Hospitality
- The Untouchable One whose sins were many
- The woman was keenly aware of her need for the Master’s help
- Shim’on was convinced of his own self-sufficiency and self-importance
- In his pride and self-vanity the Parush became separated ‘from’ Adonai
- In her humility and great love the Prostitute was separated ‘unto’ Adonai
- In Summary what have we learned so far?
The Second Forgiveness Saying:
וְאֶחָד מִן־הַפְּרוּשִׁים בִּקֵּשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ לֶאֱכֹל אִתּוֹ לָחֶם וַיָּבֹא אֶל־בֵּית הַפָּרוּשׁ וַיַּסֵּב׃ וְהִנֵּה אִשָּׁה אַחַת בָּעִיר אֲשֶׁר הָיְתָה חֹטֵאת כְּשָׁמְעָהּ כִּי־הוּא מֵסֵב בֵּית הַפָּרוּשׁ וַתָּבֵא פַּךְ־מִרְקָחַת׃ וַתַּעֲמֹד לְרַגְלָיו מֵאַחֲרָיו וַתֵּבְ וַתּוֹרֶד דְּמָעוֹת עַל־רַגְלָיו וַתְּנַגֵּב אֹתָן בִּשְׂעַר רֹאשָׁהּ וַתִּשַּׁק אֶת־רַגְלָיו וַתָּסָךְ אֹתָן בַּמִּרְקָחַת׃ וַיַּרְא הַפָּרוּשׁ אֲשֶׁר קָרָא אֹתוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר בְּלִבּוֹ אִלּוּ הָיָה זֶה נָבִיא כִּי־עַתָּה יָדֹעַ יָדַע מִי־הִיא זֹאת וְאֵי־זוֹ הִיא הַנֹּגַעַת בּוֹ כִּי־אִשָּׁה חַטָּאָה הִיא׃ וַיַּעַן יֵשׁוּעַ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו שִׁמְעוֹן דָּבָר־לִי אֵלֶיךָ וַיֹּאמֶר רַבִּי דַּבֵּר׃ 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׃ וַיִּפֶן אֶל־הָאִשָּׁה וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־שִׁמְעוֹן הֲרָאִיתָ אֶת־הָאִשָּׁה הַזֹּאת הִנֵה בָאתִי אֶל־בֵּיתְךָ וּמַיִם עַל־רַגְלַי לֹא נָתָתָּ וְהִיא הוֹרִידָה דְמָעוֹת עַל־רַגְלַי וַתְּנַגֵּב בְּשַׂעְרָהּ׃ אַתָּה לֹא נְשַׁקְתַּנִי נְשִׁיקָה אֶחָת וְהִיא מֵאָז בָּאתִי לֹא חָדְלָה לְנַשֵּׁק אֶת־רַגְלָי׃ אַתָּה בְּשֶׁמֶן לֹא סַכְתָּ אֶת־רֹאשִׁי וְהִיא בְּמִרְקַחַת סָכָה אֶת־רַגְלָי׃ לָכֵן אֹמֵר אֲנִי אֵלֶיךָ נִסְלְחוּ לָהּ חַטֹּאתֶיהָ הָרַבּוֹת כִּי הַרְבֵּה אָהֵבָה וַאֲשֶׁר נִסְלַח־לוֹ מְעַט הוּא אֹהֵב מְעָט׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלֶיהָ נִסְלְחוּ־לָךְ חַטֹּאתָיִךְ׃ וַיָּחִלּוּ הַמְסֻבִּים עִמּוֹ לֵאמֹר בְּלִבָּם מִי הוּא זֶה אֲשֶׁר גַּם־יִסְלַח לַחֲטָאִים׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־הָאִשָּׁה אֱמוּנָתֵךְ הוֹשִׁיעָה לָּךְ לְכִי לְשָׁלוֹם׃
The Woman who Loved Much
Now one of the Prushim (Pharisees) was requesting Him (the Messiah) to dine with him. And He entered the house of the Separated One (הַפָּרוּשׁ), and reclined at the table. And behold, there was a woman (אִשָּׁה) in the city who was a sinner (חֹטֵאת); and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the house of the Parush, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume (פַּךְ־מִרְקָחַת), 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 (מִרְקָחַת). Now when the Pharisee 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 Yeshua [reading his thoughts, his heart] answered and said to him, “Shim’on, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Rabbi” (רַבִּי דַּבֵּר): “A certain money lender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarim, and the other fifty denarim. 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.” And He said to him, “You have judged beautifully.” And turning toward the woman (looking directly at her), 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 brought tears down upon My feet (wet My feet with her tears), and wiped them with her hair. You did not give Me one kiss (You gave Me no kiss); but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not apply oil to My head (anoint My head with oil), but she applied (anointed) My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she has loved greatly; but one who is forgiven a little, loves a little.” And He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven you.” And those who were reclining at the table with Him began to (secretly) say to in their hearts, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” He said to the woman, “your faith has saved you. Go in shalom.”
The Testimony of the Perfect Man:
The Second Forgiveness Saying of Messiah is found only in the third Face of Ezekiel (that of the Perfect Man, cf. Lukas 7:36-50). The Testimony of the Third Jewish Gospel is written by the Medical Doctor Lukas. Lukas’ given name possesses the same meaning as that of Aaron, “Light-bringer.” Dr. Lukas communicates to us the Testimony of the “Perfect Man,” the Messiah of Israel, who is the “Light of the World” (Or Ha’Olam).
The Parush and the Prostitute:
In this narrative the scene is set when Messiah is invited to the home of Shim’on (whose name means “Heard”). Shim’on is identified as being a member of the elite religious-political party called the Prushim (Pharisees, meaning the Separated Ones). The other key figure in the story is an unnamed sinful woman. The woman is quite the opposite of Shim’on. She is a person of lowly status. The context of the narrative quite clearly infers the unnamed woman is a prostitute. As much as Shim’on is religious, the woman is irreligious. Shim’on is of the highest social status. The woman is of the lowest.
Shim’on failed to practice well the Divine principle of Hospitality:
Shim’on invited Rabbi Yeshua to dine at his home as his special guest. It was customary during Yeshua’s day that the host would provide for the washing and cleansing of the guests’ 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. He even failed to provide this consideration to Rabbi Yeshua. Hospitality (the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim-הכנסת אורחים) in ancient times was considered a Divinely mandated responsibility in the Middle East. So Shim’on’s behavior here would have been considered pretty low form for a man of his high social status. The Master Yeshua was reclined because the Middle Eastern custom was to recline on the floor, or on low level couches while eating.
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. The woman had lived a sinful life, and was most likely a prostitute in the community. 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. She was an unwanted guest, yet she attended anyway, bringing a jar of expensive perfume.
The woman was keenly aware of her need for the Master’s help:
The presence of the unwanted woman was only unusual because of her scandalous reputation. However, it was not unusual at all for the townsfolk to show up unannounced at an important person’s home to see and hear the visiting rabbi. For when a rabbi was invited to a person’s home, especially a rabbi of Yeshua’s renown, others within the community at large were allowed to visit that they might overhear the conversation. The pouring of expensive costly perfume and the kissing of Yeshua’s feet, however, were quite out of the ordinary. The woman’s expressions of deep gratitude, respect, affection and tearful repentance were highly out of the norm. Especially the woman coming into physical contact with the Rabbi. Normally the visiting Rabbi would take such intimate behavior by any woman, especially this woman, as a public insult.
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 denarim), and the follow-up preference question, “Which one cherished the lender more?” afforded Shim’on opportunity to perceive his sins of omission and commission. He had not greeted Rabbi Yeshua with an attitude of proper humility and respect. He was convinced of his own self-sufficiency and self-value and was unaware of his own relational impoverishment with Adonai (whose Presence he did not detect in Yeshua).
*The number fifty is symbolic of a fullness of Grace. The number is suggestive of the Day of Jubilee that comes once every fifty years. The number Ten is also symbolic. The variance between a little forgiveness and great forgiveness is indicated by the fact that the greater forgiveness was Ten times more (500) than the lesser forgiveness (50). The number Ten is an indication of a forgiveness that is boundless, unlimited and complete in every way. The number ten also speaks of sanctification (holiness, set-apart unto Adonai). Along with the Ten Commandments, the number of men (10) required to form a quorum for worship, and the fact that there are Ten Forgiveness Sayings in all of the Teaching of Messiah: This number Ten, among all of the festivals of Israel, indicates the exact day of the Day of Atonement: For it is written that on exactly (אַךְ) on the tenth (עָשׂוֹר) day and the seventh month of the Jewish calendar we shall observe Yom Kippurim (יום כיפורים).
In his pride and self-vanity the Pharisee became separated ‘from’ Adonai:
Shim’on was self-deluded. He saw himself as being pure, innocent, and virtuous. His self-perception was that he, unlike the woman, was not a sinner and therefore forgiveness was something of which he needed very little. In contrast, the woman knew she was a sinner and believed herself to be in desperate need of forgiveness. The one perceived little need for Adonai, and thus he possessed little appreciation or love for Adonai. The other perceived great need for Adonai, and thus she possessed and demonstrated much appreciation and love for Adonai.
In her humility and great love the Prostitute was separated ‘unto’ Adonai:
It is a tragedy that Shim’on (שִׁמְעוֹן-“Heard,” hearing with acceptance; from shama’- to hear, understand, and obey-שָׁמַע) could not live up to his name. If he had truly “Heard” what Rabbi Yeshua was saying to him, he too would have humbly approached the Messiah to repent of his sin and by faith heard the words: “Shim’on, your sins have been forgiven;” and “Shim’on, your faith has saved you; go in shalom (peace, wholeness, completeness).” Ironically, the “separated one” (Parush) chose to live in a state of separation from Adonai rather than unto Adonai. He lived a life of little relational love. Whereas in contrast, the sinful woman without a name came to live a life separated unto Adonai (sanctification: Ten X Fifty). She went on to live a faithful life of relational greatness; a life of very Great Love for Adonai; and no doubt others as well.
In Summary what have we learned so far?
Forgiveness Saying #1. In the first Forgiveness Saying of Messiah we are reminded that true atonement and redemption must come from Adonai alone. We learn through this prophetic narrative that the historical plight of Israel is that since our rejection of our Messiah we have been a nation and people who suffer from a state of spiritual ‘paralysis.’ Without our accepting the help of our Four Best Friends Forever (חברים הכי טובים לתמיד)—the four shlicihim (sent ones) who wrote the Four Jewish Gospels—the nation and people of Israel are helpless to do anything to receive Divine forgiveness and healing. Only Adonai can save us. But how shall He Save us? Enter the Messiah Ben Joseph into Adonai’s own Home here on earth; the nation, people and land of Israel. Messiah Yeshua was a pure, sinless, and selfless Servant of the Holy One. His coming to eretz Israel had been foretold by Moses and the prophets. He alone was capable of interceding on Israel’s behalf and secure for us cleansing for sin (through His atoning sacrifice) and the gift of righteousness; through the eternal gift of the Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of Holiness (first given to Israel on the day of Shavuot).
A. The problem was the Herodians, Sadducees, Scribes and Prushim. They were the elite leaders of the religious establishment of Messiah’s day. These leaders failed in their spiritual blindness to properly “see” who the Messiah was and to “hear” (recognize, understand, and obey) ‘His’ Voice. They failed to see that Messiah, on behalf of Adonai, was passing on to the people the Word of HaShem that both forgives and heals. They failed to discern that Messiah was the Shofar of Adonai. He was the blessed instrument that received and transmitted the Divine commands.
B. The Religious Elite failed to recognize that the words of power that rang out from the Voice of Messiah was actually the sound of the Holy One Speaking to His People. It is true: We humans (created beings) are never expected to forgive the sins of others because we have no authority (whatsoever) to do so. But we are expected to “agree” with Adonai’s Divine right to speak forth whatever words that please Him. And He possesses the right to independently speak in the specific Voice He wishes according to whatever instrument He chooses. Therefore, the Divine One is free to forgive whomever He wishes to forgive, in whatever manner He desires. He laughs from His throne in heaven at all those who foolishly think otherwise (cf. Psalm 2).
Forgiveness Saying #2. In the second Forgiveness Saying we re-discover the “Law of Hospitality.” In this narrative we learn from the most unlikely person of the two characters who are presented that before Adonai will forgive us we must truly repent and confess our sin; even publicly if necessary. The first character is a member of the religious elite. He is a Separated One (a Parush). Unfortunately for him he has committed the ultimate Middle Eastern offense: He is a Poor Host. A good host would have better provided for his honored guest and guests. However, in Shim’on the Separated One’s defense, at least he honored his obligation to allow the local populace to visit his home. For even a poor host would not reject the rights of others to benefit from the treasures of the visiting Rabbi’s Teaching. As for those who are so quick to Judge the evil and so slow to recognize the good: Yes, the man named “Hearing” did not hear. Yes, Shim’on did not “see” the woman. Nor did he see the immeasurable “value” that was placed on this woman by Adonai. In his heart Shim’on completly invalidated the woman’s sincere “repentance,” hope for “forgiveness,” and her “great love.” But to his credit Shim’on, according to the required social grace of hospitality, did not in any way restrict the Prostitute’s right to seek access to the Great One, even in his own home. So what does this teach us? If the first truth is that only Adonai can forgive sins and that He can forgive whomever He wants, whenever He wants, and wherever He wants. Then the second truth is that Adonai wants to forgive whoever is willing to accept His most gracious invitation to enjoy His Most Generous Hospitality. If a ‘poor host’ like Shim’on knows not to disallow entry of the prostitute into his home to enjoy the treasures of the Rabbi, how much more gracious, inclusive and generous would the Almighy be? How much more generous and gracious would Adonai be when He invites all the people of Israel (and even the Gentiles) into His Home as His guests to hear His Chosen One speak, in His own Voice, in His own Presence, at His appointed time? The answer is obvious. Therefore, in this second saying of Messiah we are provided with an ancient and well-established Middle Eastern justification for our heavenly Father’s open invitation to all to hear His Message of forgiveness and healing (the number four is a symbol of universality; i.e. N-S-E-W); that continues to go out even to the lowliest of His people (and those who are not His people); even to an Unnamed Prostitute. For Adonai universally is and always will be the Most Generous and Gracious Host of All!