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Luke 7:41  (King James Version)
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<< Luke 7:40   Luke 7:42 >>


Luke 7:41-50

The woman perceived a greatness in Jesus that motivated her to so abase herself. A proper sense of obligation works to produce a valuable Christian virtue—humility.

Notice her emotion, devotion, and seeming unconcern for public opinion in going far beyond the normal task of a slave. We can safely guess that Jesus had played a huge part in turning this woman from her bondage to sin. She may have first simply been among the crowds who were convicted by His messages. However, she thought deeply and personally on the difference between her life and His words. When she heard He was nearby, she rushed to Simon's home, ignoring the scorn of others to express her gratitude to the One who had set her aright.

Her deed expresses her love and gratitude springing from recognition of His greatness as compared to her unworthiness. She felt obligated to respond in a way so memorable that God recorded it for all humanity for all time to witness. Note that the Bible shows human lips touching Jesus only twice: Here and Judas' kiss of betrayal.

Now notice the contrast with Simon the Pharisee, who was evidently a man of some substance and a measure of aggression that resulted in him inviting the celebrated Jesus to his home. He was a man so self-concerned and inhospitable that he failed to offer Jesus even the customary services a host provided visitors to his home. Simon probably felt himself at least Jesus' equal, and his conclusion that He was no prophet perhaps indicates that he styled himself as Jesus' superior. He likely considered Jesus nothing but an interesting celebrity who could gain him recognition in the community for having Him as his guest.

His evaluation of himself in relation to Jesus produced in him no sense of obligation, and thus no gratitude, humility, or act of love, let alone common courtesy. Had he a heart at all? He was scandalized by this dramatic and arresting scene taking place at his respectable table.

While God considered her act of love to be so awesome that He had it memorialized as an eternal witness, Simon's perception of it only concluded, "She is a sinner." No, Simon, she was a sinner, and therein is a major clue to the reason for their differing reactions to Jesus. In Jesus' parable, Simon and the woman held something in common—something Simon did not grasp, but the woman did. Both were debtors to the same Creditor, and neither could meet their obligations, but Simon did not even see his indebtedness.

John W. Ritenbaugh
An Unpayable Debt and Obligation



Luke 7:36-47

This woman perceived and appreciated a greatness in Jesus that motivated her to so abase herself as to weep, cleanse His feet with her tears, kiss, and anoint them! Notice her emotion, courage, devotion (oblivious of public opinion), and humility (in performing the task of a slave). We can safely guess that Jesus had turned this woman from a life of sin. She may have been among the crowds who were convicted by His messages. When she heard He was nearby, she rushed to Simon's home, ignoring the scorn of others to express her gratitude to the One who had set her aright.

Her deed expressed her love and gratitude, springing from her recognition of or faith in His greatness as contrasted to her unworthiness. She felt obligated to respond in a way so memorable that God recorded it for all humanity for all time to witness. Note that the Bible shows human lips touching Jesus only twice: here and Judas' kiss of betrayal.

In contrast, Simon the Pharisee, evidently a man of some substance and ambition, was moved to invite the popular Jesus to his home. Self-concerned and inhospitable, he did not offer Jesus even the customary services a host normally provided visitors to his home.

From the context we can assume that he felt himself to be at least Jesus' equal. His conclusion that Jesus was no prophet probably suggests he felt superior to Him, that He was no more than an interesting celebrity. This biased self-evaluation in relation to Jesus produced in him no sense of obligation and thus no corresponding gratitude, humility, or act of love—let alone common courtesies.

Had he a heart at all? The scene unfolding at his respectable table scandalized him, but God thought it so inspiring, He recorded it for our benefit. Simon judged, "She is a sinner." "No, Simon," Jesus replied, "she was a sinner." In this lies a major clue to the difference between the two people.

Simon and the woman had something in common, according to the parable: Both were debtors to the same creditor, and neither could meet His obligation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Passover, Obligation, and Love



Luke 7:36-50

The setting of the Parable of the Two Debtors is the house of Simon, a Pharisee, who had invited Jesus to eat with him. To show respect for Jesus, a woman stops in uninvited, but Simon calls her a sinner, one notoriously wicked, a prostitute (Luke 7:36-39). These three real people are reflected in the three fictitious characters of Jesus' parable (verses 41-42): a creditor, a debtor who owes 500 denarii, and another who owes 50.

The forgiving creditor represents Jesus Christ. The professedly righteous man owing 50 denarii represents Simon. The person in debt for 500 denarii represents the woman sinner.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Two Debtors



Luke 7:41-50

Interestingly, in the model prayer (Matthew 6:12), sin is expressed as debt. It is a true metaphor because duty neglected in relation to God is a debt owed to Him, one that must be discharged by paying a penalty. All have sinned (Romans 3:23), and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). We are all under a peculiar form of indebtedness that we cannot pay and still have hope!

Simon and the woman each portray a class of sinners. Though all are sinners, some have incurred more debt through the way of life each has lived. Some are outwardly respectable, decent, and clean living, while others have fallen into gross, sensual, and open transgression. In this regard, Simon was a great deal "better" than the woman, who was coarse and unclean. She had been wallowing in filth while he attained civic respectability through rigid morality and punctilious observance of civility. He had far less to answer for than she, but he had also received a great deal more from his morality and righteousness than she had. God is not so unfair as to withhold blessings from people for the right they have done. Yet, regardless of the relative size of each one's debt, neither was able to pay it!

We all are sinful and stand in the same relation to God as these two debtors. One's sins may be blacker and more numerous than another's, but upon considering degrees of guilt and the complex motivations behind each one's sins, we may not be so quick to judge the woman's sins worse than Simon's. From this perspective, they were equal. His sins were clothed with respectability, but he still could not meet his debt. Jesus says, "They had nothing to pay." That also precisely describes our position in relation to each other.

What does this mean practically in regard to Jesus Christ and our sins? No depth of guilt, no amount of tears, self-flagellation, or discipline, no amount of repentance can work this into a payable debt. Some of these are certainly required of God and are good to do, but forgiveness, the payment of our debt incurred through our personal sins, is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). It comes by God's mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ (I John 1:7). We absolutely cannot pay it ourselves and still have hope of eternal life. If it could, God would owe us something—He would be indebted to us! That will never, never be.

John W. Ritenbaugh
An Unpayable Debt and Obligation



Luke 7:36-50

Simon's pharisaic sensibilities were shocked by the sinner's action (Proverbs 26:12)—and even more by Christ's attitude toward her. He was complacent and self-absorbed, and his self-righteousness manifested itself in pleasure with his own "goodness" and "importance" (Isaiah 65:5; II Corinthians 10:12). Although he invited Jesus to eat at his house, it was not to learn from Jesus or to honor Him, as his lack of effort to supply the traditional courtesy of water to wash His feet shows. Jesus could have regarded this serious breach of etiquette as a direct insult.

Simon also shows Jesus no warmth or concern when He arrives at his house; in that day's culture, a polite kiss was appropriate in greeting. Neither does he pour oil on Jesus' head, another widespread custom among the Jews. The oil was a sweet or olive oil prepared to give off a pleasant smell, as well as to render the hair more smooth and elegant. His negligence of concern toward Jesus exposed Simon's true spiritual bankruptcy.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Two Debtors




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Luke 7:41:

Matthew 21:32

 

<< Luke 7:40   Luke 7:42 >>



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