The Ministry Continues ~ Part 4
We continue our study of The Ministry Continues, beginning in Luke 7:31-35.
An Unresponsive Generation
31 “Therefore,” said the Lord, “how can I describe the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplaces, calling to one another,
‘We made happy music, but you wouldn’t dance!
We made sad music, but you wouldn’t cry!’
Children play music and sing in this illustration, but their friends do not play along. Yeshua makes the point that the Jews rejected Yochanan‘s message of judgment (expressed by not eating and drinking) and Yeshua’s message of joy and hope (expressed by eating and drinking) because Yochanan and Yeshua did not fit their expectations of Elijah and the Messiah.
33 For Yochanan has come not eating bread and not drinking wine; and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Aha! A glutton and a drunkard! A friend of tax collectors and sinners!’
Yeshua did not fast like the disciples of Yochanan (see Luke 5:33), and He was not under a Nazirite vow like Yochanan was. Furthermore, He was known for dining with tax collectors and sinners – those whom He clearly says He came to save (see 5:27–32). The Jewish religious leaders rejected the ministries of both Yochanan and Yeshua.
35 Well, the proof of wisdom is in all the kinds of people it produces.” ~ Luke 7:31-35 (see Mattityahu 11:19-19).
A Sinful Woman Forgiven
Luke reports a woman anointing Yeshua’s feet and pairs this scene with a parable about forgiveness. Mattityahu places this event just before the Last Supper and portrays it related to Ye’hudah’s betrayal.
36 One of the P’rushim invited Yeshua to eat with him, and He went into the home of the Parush (singular for “P’rushim) and took his place at the table.
Although Yeshua often rebuked the self-righteousness of Israel’s religious leaders, they were not always antagonistic toward one another.
37 A woman who lived in that town, a sinner, who was aware that he was eating in the home of the Parush, brought an alabaster box of very expensive perfume,
This was a costly item. Mark and Yochanan record its cost as 300 denarii (roughly a year’s wages for a laborer).
38 stood behind Yeshua at his feet and wept until her tears began to wet his feet. Then she wiped his feet with her own hair, kissed his feet, and poured the perfume on them. 39 When the Parush who had invited him saw what was going on, he said to himself, “If this man were really a prophet, he would have known who is touching him and what sort of woman she is, that she is a sinner.”
The Parush’s comment here might indicate that the woman was a prostitute.
40 Yeshua answered,“Shim’on, I have something to say to you.” “Say it, Rabbi,” he replied. 41 “A certain creditor had two debtors; the one owed ten times as much as the other. 42 When they were unable to pay him back, he canceled both their debts. Now which of them will love him more?”
Rather than making the point Himself, Yeshua prompts Shim’on to answer that condemns his own attitude. Yeshua uses this same tactic with the parable of the Good Samaritan.
43 Shim’on answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.“ “Your judgment is right,” Yeshua said to him.
The parable reflects the scene. The woman, who appeared to be in great need of forgiveness, expresses her love and appreciation more than the Parush, who likely thought he needed little or no forgiveness.
44 Then, turning to the woman, He said to Shim’on, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house—you didn’t give me water for my feet, but this woman has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair! 45 You didn’t give me a kiss, but from the time I arrived, this woman has not stopped kissing my feet! 46 You didn’t put oil on my head, but this woman poured perfume on my feet!
Yeshua contrasts the woman’s devotion and cares with Shim’on’s failure to do anything to honor his invited guest.
47 Because of this, I tell you that her sins – which are many! – have been forgiven because she loved much. But someone who has been forgiven only a little loves only a little.” 48 Then he said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”49 At this, those eating with Him began saying among themselves, “Who is this fellow that presumes to forgive sins?” 50 But he said to the woman, “Your trust has saved you; go in peace.” ~ Luke 7:36-50
Who is this fellow that presumes to forgive sins? In Isaiah 43:25, it is Adonai Himself whom the prophet quotes as saying, “I, yes, I, am the one who blots out your own transgressions, for my own sake.”Yeshua often recognizes trust as the catalyst for healing and salvation.
In our next post, we continue to explore The Ministry Continues in Luke & Mattityahu’s Gospel.