Most Jews of Jesus' day differentiate between the righteous and wicked within the nation. The righteous person is one who habitually chooses to obey the Law, whereas the wicked person is the one who habitually chooses to disobey the Law. The Kingdom of God as the Time of Forgiveness The blessings and curses of the Law are individualized, so that individual Jews who choose to obey the Law are blessed in this life and those who do not are cursed. Generally, second-Temple Jews believe that human beings have free will and are morally responsible. God will forgive any sinner who repents, so that the consequences of sin could be nullified. Most second-Temple Jews believe that the consequences of choosing to be a sinner extend into the next life: the righteous will receive eternal life and the wicked will be judged and destroyed.
1 For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3 About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, “You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” 5 So they went. He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6 About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, “Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?‘”7 "Because no one has hired us,” they answered. He said to them, “You also go and work in my vineyard.” Parable of Laborers in the Vineyard (Matt 20:1-15) The Kingdom of God as the Time of Forgiveness
Cont’d 8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.” 9 The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 “These men who were hired last worked only one hour,” they said, “and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.” 13 But he answered one of them, “Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” In what sense is the Kingdom of God like what the landowner does in this parable? Whom do the two groups of workers represent ? How does Jesus respond to the criticism that he makes God unjust? Parable of Laborers in the Vineyard (Matt 20:1-15) The Kingdom of God as the Time of Forgiveness
Truly, truly I say to you, unless you repent and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. To what does Jesus compare the process of repentance and entering the kingdom of Heaven? What is the connection between the two? Repentance and Becoming like a Child (Matt 18:3)
Jesus actively seeks out Jewish sinners, and offers them forgiveness on the condition of repentance. This is offensive some Jews, not because they do not think that the sinners could or should repent, but because they think that the sinner should take the initiative. Jesus' Association with Sinners E.g. Qumran community (probably Essenes) They expected "men of the lot of Belial" or "men of Belial" first to express an interest in joining the community and then agree to undergo a multi-year initiation process into the community. Jesus' critics do not recognize the salvation-historical significance of the present time, the Kingdom of God.
Mark 2:15 And it happened that he was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following him.16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is he eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?" Matt 11:19: The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds. References to Jesus' Association with Sinners Jesus' Association with Sinners
Luke 15:1: Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near him to listen to him. 2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." Luke 19:5: When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house." 6 And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. 7 When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." References to Jesus' Association with Sinners Jesus' Association with Sinners What general accusation was leveled against Jesus? Why would a Jew be offended by what Jesus did?
In early rabbinic literature there are references to haburot, associations of Jews whose aim was to ensure a supply of properly-tithed produce and to ensure that this supply was ritually pure. Since a purpose of the members of a haburah was to eat their ordinary meals in a state of ritual purity, the food used in the preparation of meals must begin as ritual pure. Thus, to eat one’s ordinary meals in ritual purity was a commitment that required separation from non-haberim. Jesus' Justification of his Association with Sinners Jesus' Association with Sinners Pharisaic Haburot (Associations) Why would the Pharisaic institution of the haburah aggravate the offense that they took at Jesus’ eating with “sinners.”?
Mark 2:15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?" 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." What did Jesus do that offended the Pharisees? Why was this offensive? How did Jesus defend himself? Jesus' Justification of his Association with Sinners Jesus' Association with Sinners Not to Call the Righteous but Sinners
Luke 19:7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a 'sinner.'" 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord! I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." 9 Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the son of man came to seek and to save what was lost." How did Jesus define the purpose of his “coming”? In this context what does his “coming” mean? What does the phrase “son of man” mean? Jesus' Justification of his Association with Sinners Jesus' Association with Sinners Seek and Save the Lost
Luke 15:3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety- nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. 8 "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." How do these parables explain why Jesus associates with “sinners”? What is the view of God that is implied? Jesus' Justification of his Association with Sinners Jesus' Association with Sinners Two Parables of the Lost Found
Luke 15:11 And he said, "A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me ' So he divided his wealth between them. 13 And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. 14 Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. Jesus' Justification of his Association with Sinners Jesus' Association with Sinners Parable of the Lost Son (Part One)
cont’d 17 But when he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men."' 20 So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22 But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.' And they began to celebrate. What is Jesus’ point in the first half of this parable? Whom do the father and son represent? Jesus' Justification of his Association with Sinners Jesus' Association with Sinners Parable of the Lost Son (Part One)
25 Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.' 28 The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!' 31 ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' What was the older brother’s complaint about his father’s treatment of his younger brother? How did his father respond? What is Jesus’ point in the second half of the parable? Whom does the older brother represent? Jesus' Justification of his Association with Sinners Jesus' Association with Sinners Parable of the Lost Son (Part Two)
Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" 8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk?’ 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins....” He said to the paralytic, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and the praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” What is the connection that Jesus makes between healing and forgiveness? Why were some offended at what he said? Jesus as the Mediator of Eschatological Forgiveness Forgiveness of Paralytic
Luke 7:40 Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. 41 "Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?" 43 Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled." "You have judged correctly," Jesus said. 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." 48 Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" 50 Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." Why do some present offended at Jesus’ response to the women? How does Jesus defend the action of the woman who anointed his feet? Jesus as the Mediator of Eschatological Forgiveness Forgiveness of Woman at a Banquet
Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14) 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' 13 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 14 "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home made righteous before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." What does Jesus teach about forgiveness and its condition in this parable? What does he warn against?