table mountain night

Luke 7 v 47. Please read the whole story.

A believer in Christ would have believed him if he said the woman’s sins were forgiven. But Simon was not a believer. How was Jesus to convince him? Jesus begins by telling him a parable about two debtors. The point of the parable is to point out that a debtor who has been forgiven a great debt will love his creditor for such an act. And the bigger the debt forgiven, the greater the love will be. That is true to life and even Simon the Pharisee recognised the principle (Luke 7 v 43). But then Jesus applies the parable to Simon.

Jesus, in effect tells Simon that the grounds for saying this woman was forgiven is her behaviour. The weeping, wiping of Jesus’ feet, kissing his feet, anointing his feet with perfume – where does all this spring from? It springs from the fact that she has been forgiven a huge debt. And as Simon himself admitted, she would have felt an immense gratitude and love toward the one who had forgiven her. This extreme gratitude and love, by Simon’s own submission, was evidence that her enormous debt had been forgiven.

The other guests saw the implications of what Jesus was saying (7 v 49). Jesus was claiming to be the divine Creditor who had the authority to forgive human sins. But Simon had other thoughts to contend with. If gratitude and service to Christ is a sign of a forgiven heart, he had fallen far short. In vs 44 and 45 Jesus points out all the things Simon did not do, which would have been normal courtesies of that day, age and culture. Simon showed no gratitude so what does that say about his sins? He did not see himself in need of forgiveness like the woman did. “She loved much” Jesus said, indicating that she saw herself as a great sinner. People like this woman are usually far more realistic about themselves than those who wish to maintain an image and a reputation. “But he who has been forgiven little loves little” (v 47). This does not mean that Simon did not have much to be forgiven, only that he did not see himself as needing much forgiveness.

How blind we all are to our true condition. But, then again, how wonderful is the great Grace of God to all of us who recognise how helpless we are spiritually. No matter how great our “debt” to God, there is forgiveness for us when we believe in Jesus.