(40) And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. (41) There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
(42) And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? (43) Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.Luke 7:40-43
Simon’s evaluation included a wrong theological position. He assumed Jesus must not be a prophet because from God would not associate with this kind of person. As a pharisee He believed that it is wrong to be around these bad people.
(40) And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
We now have a name for this Pharisee. This is not Simon Peter. This is a Pharisee named Simon. This was a common name at the time. Notice it says, “answering him”. Jesus speaks to him publicly about what the man is thinking, something that has been happening and documented throughout Luke’s Gospel. Is not it somewhat comical that Simon is questioning Jesus’ status as a prophet while Jesus is reading his thoughts and answering them?
Simon calls him “Master”, a common but respectful title of someone who is a teacher. The word is “didaskolos”, or one who teaches.
(41) There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
Jesus goes into a parable. 2 people that owed a creditor. The only difference are the amounts. One of the two owes 10 times the amount of the other.
(42) And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
Both are forgiven when both have no capacity to pay him back. Both need forgiveness. Don’t miss that. Not only does the one with great debt need forgiven, so does the one with the smaller debt. In the story both cannot pay.
The question is then laid out. Who loves the creditor more? The answer is pretty obvious.
(43) Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
Notice Simon says, “I suppose”. He seems reluctant to answer. Maybe this is because Simon, in this moment, perceives what Jesus is trying to say.
Jesus is the creditor. The woman is the one with the greater debt, and Simon perceives that Jesus is saying that he is the one with the smaller debt. Yet, the truth is Simon neither sees himself as a sinner, nor does he perceive Jesus as the one to forgive him.
Yet he does answer the obvious question. The one expressing the most love and worship is the one who most understands their need for forgiveness and has experienced that forgiveness. This woman expresses faith in Jesus in the way that she responds to him. It is obvious that she knows she has a need, and that Jesus can fill it.
You and I had an unpayable debt that only Jesus can pay. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is dangerous to think that we do not need to be forgiven because we do not have a debt. Those who receive salvation are those who confess their sin and call out to Christ by faith. Those who are forgiven will ultimately understand what God has done for them and express their love to them.
We must be careful that we do not know this as a theological point, and yet forget it as a truth of our own experience. The longer we get from the day we got saved, the more it can be a temptation to forget what we have been saved from. Our own self-righteousness can make us forget what God has done for us. Without Him we are without hope. We love Him because He first loved us.
- Are you forgiven? Go to Christ if you are not.
- Have you been forgiven? When was the last time you thanked Him for His forgiveness, and worshipped Him because of what He has done for you?