how, when [our Lord] was sitting at meat with a Pharisee, a woman that was a sinner kissed His feet, and anointed them with ointment, with what the Lord said to Simon on her behalf concerning the two debtors;
had been through John preparing the ways of the Lord, should now depart from John,
and the widow's son.
albeit, likewise, a centurion had believed;
should confess that He had "found so great a faith not even in Israel."
" Pray does the emperor in person set forth, or the prefect in person cudgel? One whose ministers do a thing is always said to do it.
They maintain that he is the centurion mentioned in the Gospel, who addressed the Saviour in these words: "For I also am one having soldiers and servants under my authority; and whatsoever I command they do."
For as he who has soldiers under him, although he may be inferior, and they superior to him in strength, yet 'says to this one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to another, Do this, and he doeth it; '
having come to weaken and destroy it rather than to approve of it. He raised also the widow's son from death.
the widow's dead son, who was being carded out [to burial] near the gate [of the city];
Further, observe, that the Canaanitish woman besought Him not about a son, whom she does not seem to have brought forth at all, but about a daughter who was terribly vexed with a demon; but another mother receives back alive her son who was being carried forth dead.
The Creator's prophets had wrought such; then why not His Son much rather? Now, so evidently had the Lord Christ introduced no other god for the working of so momentous a miracle as this, that all who were present gave glory to the Creator, saying: "A great prophet is risen up among us, and God hath visited His people."
saw Him before them a veritable man?-whom they had heard call Himself "Son of man? "-of whom they doubted whether He were God or Son of God, from seeing Him, as they did, in the perfect garb of human quality?-supposing Him rather to be a prophet, a great one indeed,
whom he had pointed out when coming to him, were "HE."
The second, whose meaning is understood from the present times, as being apprehended by perception; as it was said to those who asked the Lord, "If He was the Christ, or shall we wait for another? Go and tell John, the blind receive their sight, the deaf hear, the lepers are cleansed, the dead are raised up; and blessed is he who shall not be offended in Me."
With this fear, therefore, even John asks the question, "Art thou He that should come, or look we for another? "
He was in doubt whether He was actually come whom all men were looking for; whom, moreover, they ought to have recognised by His predicted works, even as the Lord sent word to John, that it was by means of these very works that He was to be recognised.
145 August in life, and marked with praise sublime,
Accordingly, deriding those who are clothed in luxurious garments, He says in the Gospel: "Lo, they who live in gorgeous apparel and luxury are in earthly palaces."
unadorned in dress, for else He had not said, "Behold, they who are clad in soft raiment are in kings' houses: "
"least person" by reason of his humble position, or of Himself, as being thought to be less than John-since all were running into the wilderness after John rather than after Christ ("What went ye out into the wilderness to see? "
But "what manner of man is this? for He commandeth even the winds and water!"
John, therefore, having been sent by the founder and maker of this world, how could he testify of that Light, which came down from things unspeakable and invisible? For all the heretics have decided that the Demiurge was ignorant of that Power above him, whose witness and herald John is found to be. Wherefore the Lord said that He deemed him "more than a prophet."
applying to him the Scripture, "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee."
Turning now to the law, which is properly ours-that is, to the Gospel-by what kind of examples are we met, until we come to definite dogmas? Behold, there immediately present themselves to us, on the threshold as it were, the two priestesses of Christian sanctity, Monogamy and Continence: one modest, in Zechariah the priest; one absolute, in John the forerunner: one appeasing God; one preaching Christ: one proclaiming a perfect priest; one exhibiting "more than a prophet,"
in regard to whom the Saviour says, "But for what purpose did ye go out? To see a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet."
alled him an "angel," on account of the magnitude of the mighty deeds which he was to achieve (which mighty deeds Joshua the son of Nun did, and you yourselves read), and on account of his office of prophet announcing (to wit) the divine will; just as withal the Spirit, speaking in the person of the Father, calls the forerunner of Christ, John, a future "angel," through the prophet: "Behold, I send mine angel before Thy"-that is, Christ's-"face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee."
To this child additional testimony is borne by John, "the greatest prophet among those born of women: "
indeed "greater than all of women born; "
And up to this point I think that the movements of the people of the Jews, which seem to be according to the law, were nothing else than the movements of the daughter of Herodias; but the dancing of Herodias was opposed to that holy dancing with which those who have not danced will be reproached when they hear the words. "We piped unto you, and ye did not dance."
); while that "man gluttonous and toping," the "frequenter of luncheons and suppers, in the company of publicans and sinners,"
while Himself withal was wont to eat and drink till He made Himself noted thus; "Behold, a gormandizer and a drinker: "
Her name, too, was indicated by the Saviour, when He said, "Yet wisdom is justified by her children."
The behaviour of "the woman which was a sinner," when she covered the Lord's feet with her kisses, bathed them with her tears, wiped them with the hairs of her head, anointed them with ointment,
It ought not to be forgotten that in such a Gospel as this there is embraced every good deed which was done to Jesus; as, for example, the story of the woman
And this is that jar which Mary the sinner bought and poured upon the head and feet of our Lord Jesus Christ, which thereafter she wiped with the hair of her head.
after this no longer playing the harlot, but coming to the feet of Jesus, and wetting them with the tears of repentance, and anointing them with the fragrance of the ointment of holy conversation, on account of whom, reproaching Simon the leper,-the former people,-He spoke those things which are written.
Luke 7:39 - NIV, NAB - in A Treatise Against the Heretic Novatian by an Anonymous Bishop
in the Gospel, where is described that woman who was a sinner, who came to the house of a certain Pharisee whither the Lord had been bidden with His disciples, and she brought a vessel of ointment, and stood at the Lord's feet, and washed His feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair, and pressed kisses upon them; so that that Pharisee was provoked, and said, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of a woman this is who touches him; for she is a sinner."
And the holy Gospel knows also the remission of the number fifty, and of that number which is cognate with it, and stands by it, viz., five hundred;
This, therefore, was the [object of the] long-suffering of God, that man, passing through all things, and acquiring the knowledge of moral discipline, then attaining to the resurrection from the dead, and learning by experience what is the source of his deliverance, may always live in a state of gratitude to the Lord, having obtained from Him the gift of incorruptibility, that he might love Him the more; for "he to whom more is forgiven, loveth more: "
But the woman not having yet received the Word (for she was still a sinner), honoured the Lord with what she thought the most precious thing in her possession-the ointment; and with the ornament of her person, with her hair, she wiped off the superfluous ointment, while she expended on the Lord tears of repentance: "wherefore her sins are forgiven."
Luke 7:47 - NIV, NAB - in Cyprian Treatise XII Three Books of Testimonies Against the Jews
In the Gospel according to Luke: "To whom much is forgiven, he loveth much; and to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little."
He says also to another, a woman that was a sinner: "Thy sins, which are many, are forgiven, for thou lovest much."
And this remission of sins that woman also which was a sinner in the city obtained, to whom the Lord said, "Thy sins are forgiven thee."
Let us therefore ponder this every day; let us meditate on this both day and night, both in the house, and by the way, and in the churches, that we may not stand forth at that dread and impartial judgment condemned, abased, and sad, but with purity of action, life, conversation, and confession; so that to us also the merciful and benignant God may say, "Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace; "
And when they who were reclining around began to say among themselves, "Who is this that forgiveth sins? "
-because concerning the paralytic the scribes and Pharisees had murmured crossly-the Lord says to the woman, "Thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace."
Go to the Chronological List of all Early Christian Writings
Please buy the CD to support the site, view it without ads, and get bonus stuff!