THE CREDITOR AND TWO DEBTORS
Luke 7:41-43 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And He said unto him, thou has rightly judged.
At the time Jesus used this parable in His preaching ministry, we find Him in Galilee, going from city to city, proclaiming the word of God. In chapter five we find Jesus teaching the multitudes around the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. As chapter seven begins, Jesus is entering the city of Capernaum, and in verse 11, Jesus enters into a city called Nain, which is believed to be located approximately 20 miles southwest of Capernaum, and about six or seven miles southeast of Jesus' hometown of Nazareth. As he was entering the city of Nain, Jesus was met by a funeral procession in which they were carrying out the body of a young man to be buried. He was the only son of a widow woman, and when Jesus saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, weep not. He then raised the young man, restored his life to him, and delivered him to his mother (from Vss. 12-15). It was miracles like this as well as the profound, prophetic teaching of Jesus, that brought multitudes to hear Him profess the word of God.
Many in His audiences were Jewish leaders of all sects. It is evident that some in the multitudes were Pharisees, one of which, named Simon, desired Him that He would eat with him. And He went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat (Vs. 36). Here Luke tells us that a woman in the city, which was a sinner ...brought an alabaster box of ointment ...and weeping, began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment (Vss. 37-38). Observing this, the Pharisee thought this to himself about Jesus: this Man, if He were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him: for she is a sinner. Although not spoken aloud, Jesus knew this thought of Simon and answered with the subject parable.
This occasion shows us Jesus willingness to bring His message to both the Pharisee and the sinner alike -both needing Jesus, in order to be reconciled to God. It is possible that this woman had been in the audience of Jesus, heard His message of repentance unto salvation, saw the error of her way, and accepted Him as the promised Messiah. She demonstrated her appreciation in the most humble manner possible, by washing the feet of Jesus, and her love and devotion by anointing His feet with a precious ointment. As a Pharisee, Simon would have never allowed the "sinful woman" to approach or touch him. Expecting that any prophet would do the same, he could not accept Jesus as the promised Messiah sent from God.
The parable recited by Christ tells us that a certain creditor ...had two debtors ...one owing five hundred pence and the other fifty. Neither was able to repay the debt, and the creditor forgave both their respective debts. Jesus, then, asked Simon this question, which of them love him most? Simon answered, I suppose that he to whom he forgave most, to which Jesus said, thou hast rightly judged. The application seems easily understood. The creditor is Jesus, the debtor owing the most is the woman, and the debtor owing the least is Simon, the Pharisee. The debts representthe sins each recognized in their lives - the woman recognized her complete sinful condition while the Pharisee, recognizing only a very small portion of his sinfulness.
God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, will forgive only the sins that we confess, are willing to turn away from, and for which we earnestly seek His forgiveness. To the woman, Jesus forgave much; to the Pharisee, He forgave little. The gratitude of each debtor is demonstrated by the degree of love each showed to Jesus. Although the Pharisee showed hospitality by inviting Jesus to eat with him, he failed to show any other acts of kindness toward the Savior. Heeven refused to accept Jesusas a prophet of God. The woman, however, completely humbled herself expressing the deepest appreciation and love for Jesus. To her Jesus said, thy sins are forgiven ...thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace (Vss. 47 & 50). We are all sinners indebted to our God and our Savior. Our individual debt of sin will only be forgiven if we demonstrate our deepest sorrow through repentance, and our complete love for God and His Son Jesus Christ through obedience to His will. Remember the deeds of the woman with a great debt of sin. Go thou and do likewise!