October 24 I Sunday
1 Timothy 4
“Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to tell you.’ ‘Tell me, Teacher,’ he said.” —Luke 7:40
Imagine hosting a dinner and an uninvited guest crashes the party, stealing everyone’s attention, but this uninvited guest is not just anyone, she has a reputation for living a sinful life. This event happened to Simon the Pharisee who invited Jesus into his home.
Upon watching this unfold, Simon thought to himself, “If this man were a prophet, He would know who is touching Him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39). When Simon looked at the woman, he saw an unclean, unholy sinner; he was looking at her through a religious set of lenses that emphasized purity.
Not only was Simon casting judgment upon the sinful woman, he was also judging Jesus. Simon questioned whether or not Jesus was indeed a prophet, because prophets were known for their ability to know information about people without being told. Additionally, prophets were known for their holiness of life. Hence, in Simon’s estimation, Jesus was not the Messiah—not even a prophet—because He did not realize who was touching Him.
While the host and the other onlookers were thinking these things, an uncomfortable silence was probably rising up in the room as the woman continued weeping and washing Jesus’s feet, and Him silently allowing her to do all this. Jesus broke the silence by saying, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” Jesus used the classical Middle Eastern idiom to address Simon, which basically introduces blunt speech that someone may or may not want to hear. Jesus told a story, “Two people owed money to a certain money-lender. 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?” (Luke 7:40-42).
Jesus was using a story—a metaphor—to illustrate the kingdom of God, where God is the moneylender and humanity are the debtors. Humanity are the ones who owe a debt that they cannot pay back; some owe a lot and others owe a little. In reality, they stand in equal position before the moneylender, before God, as neither can pay Him back.
Jesus painted Simon into a corner, so Simon reluctantly answered, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” Jesus told him, “You have judged correctly” (Luke 7:43). Jesus takes the right answer of the Pharisee to correct the Pharisee’s own wrong perception, and to give the beautiful truth of the gospel—Jesus is the Messiah, the moneylender who graciously forgives the debts of those who are unable to pay Him back.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I owe You a debt that I can never repay. Thank You for canceling my debt and graciously forgiving all of my sins. Amen!