Translations: Chinese GB Big5

The Parable of 
The Creditor and the Two Debtors

Lk 7:41-43 "A certain lender had two debtors. The one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they couldn’t pay, he forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him most?" Simon answered, "He, I suppose, to whom he forgave the most." He said to him, "You have judged correctly." (web)

Discussion Questions

Describe the context in which the parable is told.
What did the sinful woman do to demonstrate her love?
What did Simon the Pharisee do to demonstrate his love?
Did they necessarily have different degress of sin, or was speaking simply from Simon's perspective?
Which of these two more characterize yourself before meeting Christ - the Pharisee or the sinful woman?
How do you measure your love for Christ and how did Christ measure it?


The context is that Jesus was having dinner over Simon the Pharisee's house and a sinful woman barged in to repent of her sins. Jesus forgave her, but also spoke to Simon's condescending way of thinking characteristic of the religious elite. Essentially he ended up creating a balanced view by humiliating Simon and lifting up the sinner. He noted that Simon's demonstration of love was mediocre, not even offering to have Jesus' feet washed when he entered. Washing the feet was a sign of hospitality. The woman immediately upon entering the room recognized this practical need and quickly met it even with her limited resources. In fact she probably had planned to do so before this, taking her expensive perfume with her just for that purpose. This was her sign of repentance. The woman never even asked to be forgiven. For as she had met his need without a word from him. So Jesus met her need without a word from her. Beware of repenting in name only. For true beliefs and attitudes are revealed by actions.

The parable compares two men who owe different amounts of money. These are liken to the woman and Simon. However this is not to say that they actually had different amounts of sin. But rather he was speaking to Simon's self-righteous way of thinking characteristic of the Pharisees, judging primarily by outward appearance. Thus he empathized with Simon, getting into his way of thinking and then analyzed the situation from that perspective.

People who realize how much they have been forgiven, will in the end love more. Here love is not simply a feeling of affection, but action to meet practical needs. This is the difference between the world's concept of love and Biblical love. Therefore since there is this correlation between love, conviction of the depth of one's sin, and the realization of the forgiveness of sins, one can measure the latter two by the former. If those who are Christians in name do not love, then they have either not accepted the fact of their sinfulness, or they have not accepted the forgiveness of their sins. In which case, they have not been born of God.

1Jo 3:14 "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death."
Another aspect of this is that as we mature in Christ, we come to realize that we are even more in debt to God. For getting to know Christ is like traveling to the sun. The closer we get, the more we recognize our innate sinfulness. A person cannot think that he is a good person and be a spiritual man. Thus we find that most godly end up being the most humble, recognizing the depth of their sinfulness before a holy God. But this leads to increased actions of love and appreciation for the forgiveness of sins. While the "good" pharisaical Christians end up doing little for the Lord, yet left feeling self-righteous. Inevitably this leads to these "good" Christians despising the works of the humble Christians, treating them with contempt, as Simon despised the woman.


A pharisee named Simon had Jesus come over
For dinner to eat perhaps something leftover
Though being a man of much morality
Simon didn't really show much hospitality
But a woman barged in and washed Jesus' feet
While Simon was caught up in his own conceit
For this woman was a sinner maybe even a whore
This woman, Simon thought, Jesus should deplore
But Jesus turned to Simon and told him this story
For Jesus knew his thought and so spoke derogatory
"Two men owed money to a certain lender
One owed 500, he was a big spender
The other owed 50, but neither could pay back
So he canceled the debts, forgiving their lack
Now which of these two do you suppose would love more"
(Would it be Simon or rather the whore?)
"The one who owed more," Simon replied
Not understanding what Jesus implied. 
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.
"But you did not pour oil on my head,
Nor wash my feet when I came in
But this woman did, this woman of sin.
So I tell you woman, your sins have been forgiven
Before you were dead, but now you're really livin."
So those who love little, may not in Christ abide
But their real problem may just be that they are filled with pride.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Jul 29,2015