The Two Debtors

The Two DebtorsText: Luke 7:40-43

Jesus often used parables in His teaching – using an everyday illustration to describe a spiritual truth. In this parable, Jesus described two men who were forgiven of their debt. They owed different amounts, but both were forgiven. As we study this, we are going to attempt to identify the MAIN point. Once we do that, we will see how we can apply this in our lives.

Context

  • One of the Pharisees invited Jesus into his house to dine with him (Luke 7:36)
  • While He was there, a woman learned that Jesus was present and came to see Him (Luke 7:37) – she was simply identified as “a sinner“; she evidently knew who Jesus was and recognized her own unworthiness; she wanted to honor Him and humbled herself before Him to do so (Luke 7:37-38)
  • However, the host (a Pharisee) thought poorly of Jesus for accepting her (Luke 7:39) – whether he knew her personally or not, he knew “what sort of person she was“; in his own mind he questioned Jesus; he thought if Jesus knew who she was, He would not accept her service
  • This setting provided Jesus with the opportunity to give this parable – He obviously knew what this man was thinking

Basic Point

  • In the parable, there were two men who owed money to a lender – they owed different amounts (one owed 500 denarii, the other owed 50); however, neither one could pay; they could have been punished for this (cf. Matthew 18:25, 30)
  • The moneylender “graciously forgave them both” (Luke 7:42) – now, both were in the same position; however, one had received a much greater “gift”; Jesus asked the question, “Which of them will love him more?” (Luke 7:42)
  • The main point of this parable is that receiving forgiveness should motivate us to love the Lord

Examination

  • In order to examine this parable, we really need to look at the conversation that followed – this is about more than just monetary forgiveness; again, parables illustrated a spiritual truth
  • When Jesus asked Simon His question, he answered correctly (Luke 7:43) – he understood the principle, but he needed to apply it to what was happening in his home; Jesus was making a contrast between Simon (the Pharisee) and this woman
  • The host invited Jesus to his home, but did not provide a warm welcome (Luke 7:44-46) – in contrast, this woman went above and beyond in serving Jesus
  • She recognized her need for forgiveness, knew Jesus could forgive, and showed her love for Him – the host needed forgiveness also, but didn’t recognize it; he failed to show thankfulness/love; as a result, she was forgiven (Luke 7:48); her faith in Jesus had saved her (Luke 7:50)

Application

  • We need to remember that each one of us is in need of forgiveness (Romans 3:23) – not just that “everyone” needs forgiveness; make this personal (1 Timothy 1:15)
  • We need to remember that the Lord will forgive anyone of sin (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 John 2:2)
  • We need to remember that God is better able to judge others than we are (James 4:12) – it is not our place to judge others (Romans 14:4)
  • We need to respond to God’s grace with love (1 John 4:19) – this must necessarily include obedience (John 14:15)
  • We must never take our forgiveness for granted (Ephesians 2:1-9) – we deserve punishment for sin, yet God was willing to save us; failing to appreciate this salvation will inevitably lead us back to sin and punishment (Hebrews 10:29)

Conclusion

  • All of us have sinned and are in need of forgiveness – only Jesus can provide this forgiveness
  • If we will recognize just how much we have been forgiven, we can respond appropriately in love

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