40: Two Debtors
Jesus was a guest at Simon's banquet. The banquet was interrupted when a woman came in unexpectedly and fell down at His feet. She wet His feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed them with oil.
Simon and the other Pharisees watched indignantly, for they knew who the woman was.
Whenever they saw her on the street, they crossed to the other side to stay out of her way.
Simon would not want that sinful woman touching his feet. He would have kicked her and chased her away! But Jesus did nothing. He didn't even seem to realize what a horrible sinner the woman was. Surely He was not a prophet after all!
Jesus knew what proud thoughts were running through Simon's mind. "Simon," He called out, "I have something to say to you."
The Pharisee answered proudly, "Say it, Master."
Jesus told the proud Pharisee a story. He said, "There were two men who owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him 500 silver coins, and the other owed 50. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts of both these debtors. Which of the two loved him more?"
Simon knew the answer. That wasn't hard. He said, "I suppose the one with the bigger debt."
Jesus said, "That's right."
Then it became apparent that this was not an ordinary story. This was a parable, a story with a meaning.
Jesus turned to the woman who still lay at His feet. In a friendly way He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I have come as a guest in your house, but you did not give Me anything with which to wash My feet. She has now washed My feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You did not kiss Me, but she has not stopped kissing My feet since she came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with myrrh."
The Pharisee looked down in deep shame. Jesus continued, "Therefore I say to you that her many sins are forgiven, for she has shown much love. But those who are forgiven little show little love."
Yes, the Pharisee had shown Jesus very little love. Little was forgiven him. Was that because he had hardly sinned at all? Or did he still have a great debt to pay?
Simon was the debtor who owed 50 silver coins. In other words, he was a sinner. That was what Jesus was getting at. Simon, too, had to ask for forgiveness.
The woman had done just that. She was the debtor who owed 500 silver coins. Her debt was great, but so were her faith and love. Therefore Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
That was the most glorious thing anyone could ever say to this woman. Joy as she had never known before came into her heart. She continued to lie in adoration at Jesus' feet.
There was anger and indignation in the guests' eyes. "Who is this man," they said to themselves, "that He also forgives sins? Only God can do that!"
Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has made you whole. Go in peace."
The woman went away overjoyed. She had become a different woman. Now she could set out on a new, pure life. She was poor when she came to Jesus. Now she was rich.
The other debtor stayed at the same table with Jesus. Now he knew who Jesus was: He was more than a prophet!
What friendly, gentle treatment Jesus had given Simon! If only the rich Pharisee would now see how poor he really was! If only he would see his great debt!