Luke 7:36-50 – Yeshua Forgives Sin

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POSTED 04 NOVEMBER, 2017

“Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, 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 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 answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ And he replied, ‘Say it, Teacher.’ ‘A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?’ Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose the one whom he forgave more.’ And He said to him, ‘You have judged correctly.’ Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, ‘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.’ Then He said to her, ‘Your sins have been forgiven.’ 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 peace.’”

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume I

As recorded in Luke 7:36-50, in the dinner at the Pharisee’s home, there were open-minded and reasonable Pharisees, who at least recognized the uniqueness of Yeshua, and who wanted to hear Him out (Luke 7:36). At this dinner, a woman who was a sinner cried in the presence of the Messiah, whose tears fell on His feet, which she was wiping with her long hair (Luke 7:37-38). The host asks, “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” (Luke 7:39, NIV), to which Yeshua responds with a parable of two debtors (Luke 7:40-43). Yeshua notes the actions of the woman to the host, and how she wet His feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair, and had anointed Him with perfume, when the Pharisee had done nothing (Luke 7:44-46). And so, Yeshua asserts that the woman, whose sins were many, should be forgiven on account of her love (Luke 7:47).

The details of what transpired not withstanding, Yeshua issued the decisive word, “Your sins have been forgiven” (Luke 7:48). There is no indication that the woman or Yeshua had ever encountered one another before, and that her actions were intended to demonstrate some deference because of previous transgressions committed against Him. Yeshua forgives the woman of her life’s sins. Unlike the previous encounter of Luke 5:17-26, where forgiving a man of sin merited the charge of blasphemy, those who were present are open enough to the Messiah, to ask the question—albeit perplexed, amazed, or bewildered—“Who is this, who even forgives sins[1]?” (Luke 7:49, RSV). The audience which has encountered Yeshua is not dismissive of Him, and can be said to be intrigued about who He is. He has already been regarded as a prophet of sorts (Luke 7:39), and now a much more significant identity—a seemingly supernatural identity—has to be contemplated. As Marshall indicates,

“The question of who Jesus is had already been raised in v. 39, with the implication that he was a prophet. Now the christological significance of the story is carried a step further.”[2]

Yeshua has to be identified as a prophet first, before He can be recognized as something more. In Luke 7:49, the question asked, “Who is this who dares to forgive sins?” (Contemporary English Version), began a conversation on both the purpose of Yeshua arriving in the audience’s lives, and His origins and identity. In the view of Stein,

“From this verse it is clear that Jesus’ hearers (and Luke) did not understand the statements about forgiveness in 7:47-48 as divine passives, i.e., they were not an attempt to avoid God’s name by using the passive ‘you are forgiven’ instead of ‘God forgives you.’ On the contrary, Jesus is understood as exercising a divine prerogative and personally announcing, as in 5:20-21, that the woman’s sins were forgiven.”[3]

Indeed, Yeshua’s forgiveness of the woman’s sins are an indication that Yeshua has to be more than a prophet. Writing on “Toward a Systematic Theology of the Deity of Christ,” Robert A. Peterson properly details, “In every section the Old Testament teaches that forgiving sins is a divine prerogative,” referencing a number of Tanach passages (Exodus 34:6-7; Psalm 103:10, 12; Isaiah 43:25). He further concludes how “In every section of the New Testament forgiving sins is also Jesus’ divine prerogative,”[4] referencing a number of Apostolic Scriptures passages (Luke 7:47-49; Acts 5:30-31; Colossians 1:13-14; Revelation 1:5-6).

In their resource Putting Jesus in His Place, Bowman and Komoszewski offer the following Bible passages for consideration, in how both the Lord God and the Lord Yeshua/Jesus are seen exercising “Forgiveness of sins”:[5]

Forgiveness of sins

the LORD GOD

Lord Jesus (Yeshua)

Exodus 34:6-7; Psalm 51:4; 130:4; Isaiah 43:25; 44:22; 55:7; Jeremiah 31:34; Daniel 9:9 Matthew 9:1-8 (cf. Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26); Luke 7:47-49; Acts 5:31; Colossians 3:13
“Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations’” (Exodus 34:6-7).

 

“Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge” (Psalm 51:4).

“But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared” (Psalm 130:4).

“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

“I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22).

“Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).

“‘They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, “Know the LORD,” for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,’ declares the LORD, ‘for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more’” (Jeremiah 31:34).

“To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him” (Daniel 9:9).

“Getting into a boat, Yeshua crossed over the sea and came to His own city. And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Yeshua said to the paralytic, ‘Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.’ And some of the scribes said to themselves, ‘This fellow blasphemes.’ And Yeshua knowing their thoughts said, ‘Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up, and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—then He said to the paralytic, ‘Get up, pick up your bed and go home.’ And he got up and went home. But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men” (Matthew 9:1-8).

“When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Yeshua seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?’ Immediately Yeshua, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”; or to say, “Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.’ And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this’” (Mark 2:1-12).

“One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Yeshua. Seeing their faith, He said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you.’ The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, ‘Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?’ But Yeshua, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, “Your sins have been forgiven you,” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’—He said to the paralytic—‘I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.’ Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, ‘We have seen remarkable things today’” (Luke 5:17-26).

“He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31).

“bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you” (Colossians 3:13).

Further investigation of both the statements and actions of Yeshua the Messiah—particularly those which can only be performed by God proper—is warranted, for us to gain a fuller picture of whether or not He is truly God and integrated into the Divine Identity.


NOTES

[1] Grk. tis houtos estin hos kai hamartias aphiēsin.

[2] Marshall, Luke, 314.

[3] Stein, 238.

[4] Robert A. Peterson, “Toward a Systematic Theology of the Deity of Christ,” in The Deity of Christ, 218.

[5] Bowman and Komoszewski, 287.


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