“When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to tell you.’ ‘Tell me, teacher,’ he said. ‘Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 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?’ Simon replied, ‘I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.’ ‘You have judged correctly,’ Jesus said.” (Luke 7:39–43, NIV84)
There are a few things about this event that strike me. First, the Pharisees had legalized their religion to such an extent that they would close themselves off from the world around them. The truths they proclaimed were supposed to be shared with a broken world. The sinful woman at the center of this event was not to be avoided but loved and redeemed. Second, they so underestimated Jesus. After seeing His miracles and hearing Him teach, they should have known that He knew exactly who the woman was.
How does Jesus address these two issues? He tells a parable about two individuals’ debts being completely canceled. One man’s debt was twice as much as the other’s (a picture of the woman and the Pharisees). Jesus asks Simon (one of the Pharisees) which of the debtors would love the moneylender more? Simon states that the one who had the larger debt canceled would love more. That was what was happening before their very eyes as the woman was pouring perfume on Jesus’ feet and kissing them.
From my perspective, they both should have loved the one who canceled the debt — equally. You see, if you cannot repay the debt, it doesn’t matter how large it is. The outcome is the same. You end up losing everything and becoming a slave to the debtor. We have all lived different lives. Some of us have been more sinful (if that is even possible) and hence appear to have the bigger debt. But the fact is that we all have a debt to God that we cannot pay. The Good News is Jesus paid off our debt when He died on the cross and bore our sins. We should all love Jesus like the woman at His feet.
Today, may we have a heart of true gratitude.