"THE PARABLES OF JESUS"
The Two Debtors (Lk 7:41-43)
1. Do you appreciate what Jesus has done for you? Does your service
and devotion to Jesus demonstrate the true extent of your
a. If you are slack in your service, what does that indicate?
b. If you wish you could be more diligent in your service, what
would help to motivate you?
2. Answers to these questions are found in a parable and its setting
that Jesus told on an occasion where He was invited to eat at the
house of a Pharisee – Lk 7:36-50
[As we continue our series on "The Parables Of Jesus", let’s examine
the setting and parable itself that has become to be known as the
parable of "The Two Debtors"…]
I. THE PARABLE AND ITS SETTING
A. THE SETTING…
1. Jesus accepts an invitation to eat at a Pharisee’s house
– Lk 7:36
2. A woman "who was a sinner" (perhaps a prostitute) comes in…
a. She brings an alabaster flask of fragrant oil – Lk 7:37
b. She first stands behind Jesus, weeping – Lk 7:38a
c. She then washes His feet with her tears, and wipes them
with her hair – Lk 7:38b
d. Finally, she kisses His feet and anoints them with the
fragrant oil – Lk 7:38c
3. The host wonders whether Jesus could truly be a prophet, for
if so He would know what kind of woman she was – Lk 7:39
4. Knowing what is in the Pharisee’s heart, Jesus offers to say
something – Lk 7:40
B. THE PARABLE ITSELF…
1. A creditor had two debtors – Lk 7:41
a. One owed five hundred denarii
b. The other owed fifty denarii (a denarius was equivalent to
a day’s wage)
2. The debtors could not repay, yet the creditor forgave them
both – Lk 7:42a
C. JESUS FOLLOWS UP WITH A QUESTION AND APPLICATION…
1. He challenges Simon (the Pharisee) with a question – Lk 7:42b-43
a. "Which of them (the debtors) will love him (the creditor)
b. Simon’s response: "I suppose the one whom he forgave more"
1) Does "I suppose" suggest a reluctance to respond on
2) Could it be he has already begun to see the point of the
c. Jesus replies that Simon has properly judged the correct
2. Jesus then makes the contrast between Simon and the woman – Lk 7:44-46
a. Simon gave Him no water for His feet, but she washed them
with her tears and dried them with her hair
b. Simon gave Him no kiss, but she has not ceased to kiss His
c. Simon did not anoint His head with oil, but she anointed
His feet with fragrant oil
— All of these things Simon should have done as a normal
host, but he did not do it for the most important guest
3. Jesus drives the point home – Lk 7:47
a. The first part of this verse is difficult: "…her sins
which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much."
1) Is Jesus saying that her love is the "cause" of her
forgiveness, or the "proof"?
a) Is she forgiven because she loved much? (that’s what
it sounds like)
b) Or is her much love the evidence of the forgiveness
of her many sins?
2) Jesus does say that her "faith" saved her – Lk 7:50
a) That is, her faith was the cause for her being
b) And her love may have been a reflection of her faith
(cf. "faith working through love" – Ga 5:6)
b. But the latter part of the verse, and the implication of
the parable itself suggests that her love is the result or
proof of her forgiveness
1) "But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little"
a) Just as one who receives little forgiveness, loves
b) …so one who receives much forgiveness, loves much!
2) "Her love was the result, and not the cause, of her
forgiveness. Our sins are not forgiven because we love
God, but we love God because they are forgiven (1 Jn 4:19).
Such is the inference of the parable, and such the
teaching of the entire NewTestament."
(McGarvey’s Fourfold Gospel)
3) "For she loved much (hoti ˆgapˆsen polu). Illustration
or proof, not reason for the forgiveness. Her sins had
been already forgiven and remained forgiven. But to whom
little is forgiven, the same loveth little (H“i de
oligon aphietai oligon agapƒi). This explanation proves
that the meaning of hoti preceding is proof, not cause."
(Robertson’s Word Pictures)
3. If the woman’s love is simply the evidence her forgiveness, as
the parable suggests, then Jesus’ next words were designed to
further reassure her – Lk 7:48-50
a. "Your sins are forgiven."
b. "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace"
— Both statements simply confirm that her great display of
love was properly placed, for she had indeed been saved by
[While Jesus’ words in Lk 7:47 are indeed challenging, the parable
and its setting teaches a simple truth:
Those who have been forgiven of much are more likely to
appreciate their salvation than those forgiven of little!
Let’s expound upon this point as we seek to apply the parable to
II. APPLYING THE PARABLE
A. THIS PARABLE CAN PROVIDE GREAT COMFORT TO SINNERS…
1. Many people who come to Jesus have really made a mess of their
2. They know it, and the sense of their guilt is acute
a. But this parable reminds us the Lord is willing to forgive
no matter the debt!
b. And the woman reminds us that as one’s sense of guilt is
acute, so their love will be greater!
c. With a greater love, there will be the motivation for
3. Just as with the apostle Paul, who did not consider himself
worthy to be called an apostle – cf. 1 Co 15:9-10
— So rather than wallow in your guilt of the past, allow the
great forgiveness Jesus offers to motivate you to love and
serve Him even more!
B. THIS PARABLE REVEALS HOW WE CAN INCREASE OUR LOVE AND DEVOTION TO
1. Remember, the more cognizant we are of the forgiveness we have
in Christ, the more we will love and serve Him
2. There are at least two ways one can have an heightened sense
a. One way is to have been forgiven of much, as in the case of
b. But another way is learn more about the nature of sin…
1) I.e., how just one sin makes us guilty of all – Ja 2:10
2) I.e., how the wages of sin is spiritual death,
separation from God – Ro 6:23; Isa 59:1-2
3. We cannot change the degree of our sinfulness prior to coming
a. But we can always increase the level of our understanding
b. I.e., the more we learn about the terrible nature of sin…
1) The more we appreciate the forgiveness we have in
2) The more motivated we are by love to serve Him – 2 Cor 5:14-15
1. What is our devotion and service to Jesus like?
a. Do we treat Him like Simon did?
b. I.e., we invite Him into our lives, but really don’t give Him the
honor He deserves?
2. Could it be that we are more like the Pharisee than we care to
a. Failing to give Jesus the proper devotion due Him?
b. Looking down in self-righteousness at people who we think are not
worthy of Him?
3. If you find yourself with an attitude like Simon’s, instead of one
like the woman’s…
a. Remember that those forgiven most are capable of loving Jesus
b. And that perhaps you need to reflect more on your true spiritual
For it was to the sinful woman, and not to self-righteous Simon, that
"Your sins are forgiven."
"Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."