The Parable of the Two Debtors from Luke 7, with Commentary, Sermon, Meaning & Explanation. Also called The Parable of the Debt, The Parable of the Debtor, The Parable of Forgiven Debts, The Parable of the Debtors, or The Parable of Debt Being Forgiven. The Parable of the Two Debtors is entirely different from The Parable of the Unmerciful Debtor or Unforgiving Servant. The common theme between the two parables is the concept of debt forgiveness, but the meaning and key lesson is different in each. The Parable of the Two Debtors is a Parable of Jesus from the Bible – Luke 7:36-50, with a focus on Luke 7:41-47. It compels us to rethink our attitudes on Humility, Mercy, Judging, Faith, Love, Acceptance, Judgment, Forgiveness, God’s Love, God’s Mercy, & God’s Grace. The Parable of the Two Debtors is a practical and powerful reminder to appreciate what God has done and is doing in the lives of others, not letting our assumptions, misconceptions or judgments cloud our thoughts and attitudes, blocking our own blessings from God. It is also a powerful reminder to never take God’s mercy, grace, love and goodness for granted, to remain humble and deeply grateful for what He has done, and to be ever willing to learn and relearn at Jesus’ feet.
First, we explore the Parable of the Two Debtors Commentary & Sermon Notes. Please scroll down for the Two Debtors Parable Meaning, Explanation, Conclusion, Thoughts to consider, Prayer and Final Verses & Reminders. At the end of this page, you will find the Bible verses of the Parable of Two Debtors from Luke 7. Please note that the actual parable is from Luke 7:41-47, but it is very helpful to look at the entire surrounding scripture in Luke 7:36-50 to get a complete picture of the story and moral lesson.
Parable of Two Debtors Commentary & Sermon Notes
To give a little background, Simon, a Pharisee, had invited Jesus for a meal at his house. Jesus accepted Simon’s invitation to eat with him and went to his house. In those days, the roads were very dusty and Jesus would likely have been wearing sandals. His feet would probably have been very dusty – this was to be expected in those times. It was thus customary for hosts to provide their guests with some water to wash their feet, and it was also customary for hosts to give their guests a polite kiss to welcome them. Providing some oil to anoint your guest’s head was also a very widespread custom.
But Simon did not offer any of these traditional courtesies to Jesus.
So there’s this woman. She is described as a “sinner”, so presumably it was common knowledge that she was a sinner. If it was common knowledge that she was a “sinner”, then she was probably a prostitute or something of the sort – in any case, she had engaged in some sort of sinful behavior that was known to many.
This woman found out that Jesus was visiting with Simon and brought an “alabaster box of ointment” – something like a very expensive box of perfume. She stood humbly at Jesus’ feet, weeping. She washed the feet of Jesus with her tears, and wiped his feet with her hair. She then anointed Jesus’ feet with the expensive ointment.
Simon witnessed all of this and said to himself –
“If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” (Luke 7:39, ESV)
He didn’t say this out loud, but of course Jesus knew what he was thinking to himself. Simon’s thoughts revealed a lot about what he actually believed about Jesus, as well as his feelings concerning Jesus’ acceptance of the woman.
Jesus responded to Simon’s thoughts and attitudes (his dishonor of Jesus Christ, his doubts about Christ, and his attitude toward how Jesus treated the woman) with a parable about debt forgiveness: The Parable of The Two Debtors.
The Two Debtors Parable – Meaning & Explanation
There are three main characters in the parable Jesus told of the two debtors:
A debtor who owed 500 denarii, plus
Another debtor who owed 50 denarii.
The creditor graciously forgave both debts, and Jesus asks Simon which of the debtors he thought would show more love toward their creditor. The creditor who cancels both debts represents Jesus Christ. The person in debt for 50 denarii refers to Simon. The person in debt for 500 denarii refers to the woman. As discussed earlier, Simon did not offer any of the even bare minimum traditional courtesies to Jesus when he came into his house. By contrast, the woman who had been forgiven went way beyond the common courtesies, and in humility, she gratefully and sincerely honored Jesus. Simon shows “little” love, and the woman shows “much”.
Conclusion & Thoughts to consider
Are we taking God’s mercy, grace, love and goodness for granted? Have we become self absorbed, self righteous, and self important? Have we become complacent and condescending, forgetting what God has done to save and redeem us? Yes, we may not all have stories of how God has saved us from deep messes like prostitution, drug abuse, alcoholism, etc. But God has saved us all, and everything we are, everything we have, is only by God’s grace! We have to be very careful not to get complacent, not appreciating God fully, missing out on our relationship with God, missing out in our walk with God, not regarding God for who He is, not honoring God and glorifying him in humility! We have to be so very careful not to miss out while we look down on others!
Let us examine the two types of people described in the scriptures below.
Which one of these types of people do we want to be in God’s eyes?
Type 1 or Type 2?
Titus 1:6 (ESV) – “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”
Proverbs 26:12 (ESV) – “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
1 John 2:4 (NASB) – “The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
1 Corinthians 8:3 (NLT) – “But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.”
Isaiah 66:2b(NIVUK) – “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”
Psalms 149:4(NIV) – “For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.”
God, please help us all!
Dear Lord, you know our hearts. You know all our deepest thoughts, you know all our attitudes, you know our deepest and most desperate needs (even when we do not them)! You know who we are, every single one of us. Lord, we thank you for who you are. We thank you because of your immense love toward us. We thank you for saving us from all sorts of things – known and unknown. We thank you for forgiving us. We thank you for teaching us patiently, again and again, and for not dealing with us like we deserve.
Lord, please open our eyes to see. Where we have the wrong attitudes, please reveal them to us, and help us, by the power of your Holy Spirit, to change. Help us to come before you humbly, to truly honor you, seek you, and continually learn from you. Help us to be accepting of others, not rushing to judge our fellow brothers and sisters – no matter what they look like or sound like. Help us to always realize that we don’t know it all, and that there are so many things we do not understand about people, regardless of what we see on the outside. You see and judge every heart. Help us Lord, to see that as you have shown us mercy, you continually show others mercy too! Help us not to be proud, arrogant or self righteous but to humbly extend the same grace to others, which you in your infinite mercy have extended to us. Help us to always reflect who you are in our relationships with and in our attitudes towards others – even when we speak no words! Please Lord, forgive us, heal us, mold us, and continually reveal yourself unto us. Please, let your name always be magnified and exalted in all our lives. Let our lives always be pleasing to you, let others see Jesus in us, and may our lives always be a testimony of your goodness and loving kindness.
In Jesus’ mighty name we pray – Amen.
Final Parting Bible Verses & Reminders:
1 John 4:7 (ESV)
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”
“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
See Also: Don’t Forget to Spank Him! – A “Jolly Note” related to this topic.
Parable of The Two Debtors Bible Verses – Luke 7:36-50
Luke 7:36-50 (ESV)
A Sinful Woman Forgiven
One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.
Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”
[The Parable of The Two Debtors begins here]
A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more? Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven —for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?”
And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”