Parable of the Creditor and Two Debtors: Luke 7:41-43
The parable of the creditor and two debtors is a simple and straightforward parable told by Jesus, to the Pharisee Simon, in order to give a simple explanation for his reaction to the woman who weeps at his feet and pours ointment on them.
With this particular parable, it is absolutely essential that it is interpreted within its context, because Jesus is telling this parable for a specific reason because of a specific situation.
The Pharisee Simon has invited Jesus to his house in order to have a meal. However, a woman shows up, who is a sinner, and weeps at Jesus' feet and pours ointment on them.
The Pharisee Simon sees this and says to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him - that she is a sinner." (Luke 7:39) In response to Simon's thoughts, Jesus tells Simon the parable of the creditor and two debtors.
"A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them." (Luke 7:41-42)
Jesus then asks Simon which debtor would love the creditor more. "Simon answered, 'I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.' And Jesus said to him, 'You have judged rightly.'" (Luke 7:43)
Jesus explains to Simon how the woman's sins are many, so she is more thankful for being forgiven. Jesus then tells the woman, "Your sins are forgiven" and "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." (Luke 7:48,50)
The purpose and message of this parable are based on Jesus' desire to explain to Simon his reaction to the woman at his feet.
Very simply, she is repenting of her many sins (hence the weeping), and therefore she is acting this way because of her great debt. Any interpretation that goes beyond Jesus' purpose for telling this parable would be taking his message out of context.
For instance, Jesus is not saying that we should sin more in order to love God more. That would be taking this parable out of context, and it would completely go against everything else Jesus taught.
It is just as Paul says in Romans 6:1-2, "What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?"
Jesus is saying, This woman is acting this way because she has a great debt that has been forgiven.
After this parable of the creditor and two debtors, when Jesus tells the woman, "Your sins are forgiven," everyone is distressed because only God can forgive sins. Jesus' forgiveness of sins is an indirect way of claiming to be God.
Also, when Jesus tells the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace," the faith he is talking about is her belief that if she repents there is actually hope she will be forgiven. It is this belief, that she can be forgiven despite her many sins, that motivates her to find Jesus and weep at his feet in repentance.
This fact is true because our actions are the product of our beliefs and what we have faith in; meaning Our Actions Reveal the Truth about what we truly believe. If the woman didn't have faith that she might be forgiven, she would never have attempted to approach Jesus.
What is love? It's a call to action. Guest post by Ben Byrum.
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