Who Loves Him More?

Q. Thank you for your daily insight. I have a question about a verse, Luke 7:47. The last sentence really struck me as odd so I must be misinterpreting. In the previous verses Jesus explained that the man with the biggest debt forgiven would have the most love for the man he had owed. Was he implying in Luke 7:47 that since the woman had more sins, she would love Jesus more than a righteous man?

A. Jesus was a dinner guest at the home of Simon the Pharisee when a woman who had lived a sinful life came into the room and anointed the Lord’s feet. Simon did not approve of this because Pharisees didn’t associate with sinners and would not have allowed something like this to happen. In response Jesus told Simon the story of two debtors.

He said, “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said (Luke 7:41-43).

Then Jesus contrasted what the woman who washed and anointed His feet had done for Him with Simon who had done almost nothing. The point of the passage is that the woman knew she was a sinner in need of a savior. She knew she had been forgiven much and showed much gratitude, like the man in the story who had been forgiven the larger debt. Simon the Pharisee was a self righteous man who looked down on others, and didn’t think he needed to be forgiven for much of anything. He was like the man who had only a small debt canceled.

The woman loved Jesus more because she considered Him to be her Lord and Savior, but to Simon Jesus was just one of his dinner guests.

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