August 21, 2007

Not Enough Debt?

Luke 7:36-47

“He who has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:47


Yesterday when we read this passage, we dealt with the woman who had “lived a sinful life.” Coming to Jesus in repentance, she received the grace of forgiveness.

Today we deal with the attitude of Simon the Pharisee. Simon considered himself a man who was morally and financially strong, so Jesus used an accounting parable to question Simon’s outlook.

In a case of two debtors, one owed ten times what the other owed. Neither could pay one penny of their debt. So the lender generously canceled the debts of both.

Jesus then asked, “Now which of them will love him more?” Like Simon, we can see that the one who had the bigger debt canceled would be more grateful.

In this parable we can also see that, in Simon’s view, the person who owed the greater debt is like the woman “who had lived a sinful life.” In comparison to her, Simon was like the person who owed the smaller debt. And yet he had shown scorn for the woman and had failed even to treat Jesus as an honored guest.

In this way Jesus confronted the pride, hypocrisy, and unbelief in Simon’s heart. Jesus exposed to Simon the real debt that he owed. Jesus also indicated the way out—put it all in God’s hands through saving faith in Jesus.

Could Simon accept Jesus as the one who forgives his sins? Can you?

Jesus, confront us with the sins we’ve learned to hide or overlook or dismiss as minor compared to everybody else’s. Overcome our debt with your grace, we pray. Amen.

About the author — Fred Bultman

Fred Bultman began a “second career” as a pastor in 1997, after a first career in the banking business.  He served as pastor to congregations in the U.S. and Canada. In retirement, he continues to enjoy sharing in the ministry of the churches in and around his home in Fremont, Michigan.

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