Parable of the Two Debtors (Upside Down Kingdom series #9)
When Jesus receives a woman that was known to be a sinner, one of the Pharisees questioned him. Jesus responded with a parable about forgiveness and love; teaching us all about our need for forgiveness and our response to the great debt that has been forgiven!
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Read Sermon Transcript Here
*This transcript was auto-generated by a transcription service and may differ from the originally spoken content*If you have your Bible with you this morning or a device with a Bible app on it, we're going to be in Luke chapter seven. We're going to be looking at verses 36 through 50. And I'm going to read the entire passage, and then we'll come back and dive into it after that. Luke says this again in chapter seven of his gospel, beginning of verse 36. When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisees house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisees house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him, at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, that she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said 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. Jesus answered him, Simon, I have something to tell you. Tell me, teacher, he said to people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him 500 denarii and the other 50, neither of them had the money to pay him back. So he forgave the debts of both. Now which one of them will love him more? Simon replied, I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven, you have judged correctly, Jesus said, Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, do you see this woman, I came into your house, you did not give me any water from my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair, you did not give me a kiss. But this woman from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing My feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven, as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven, little, loves little. Then Jesus said to her, Your sins are forgiven. The other guests began to say among themselves, who is this, who even forgives sins, Jesus said to the woman Your faith has saved you go in peace. This is week nine of our message series that we've been in called The upside down Kingdom, where we've been looking at Jesus's parables and how he communicates to us the values of his kingdom that he works in us and through us to expose to the world and to turn this world upside down. Because many of those values are upside down from the world's values. We've looked at a number of parables, we'll finish this series up on Easter weekend looking at one final parable together. But you may have noticed, I mean, I read quite a few verses to you there. But the parable that we're looking at is really short. And it was buried in all of this context in which the parable was told in the comments that Jesus made to drive home the point of the parable. But I mean, the parable is pretty short, is pretty much one guy owed 500 denarii, another 50, both of their debts were canceled, and that was it. But Jesus used it with all the things that are going on, during this event, to drive home, his main point, which was basically whoever has been forgiven much will love much. But whoever has been forgiven little, loves little. Now, a lot of times, we tend to think when we see this, that Jesus is referring to Simon as the guy who sinned a little bit, and this woman has sinned a lot because of the way it's written here. And that certainly true in one regard. I mean, she was known as a sinful and lived a sinful lifestyle because of her actions. This guy was known as a religious guy, and as a good moral guy, because he was a Pharisee. He was one of the leaders of the day. But I think we can be tempted then to think that some people like the Pharisees, and the good religious moral people are right there. You know, they're just right there. They just need a little bit of God's forgiveness. And if they just get a little bit of that, then they'll just kind of get over the hump and they'll be able to have eternal life and God but then there are other people who are mean are really far away from God. And you can tell those people. I mean, all you have to do is look out in society and you could see a bunch of the low life people that we're talking about there that are that far away from God. I've heard a lot of people in church or even share similar kinds of things. As far as man, you know, I was basically saved. I came to know Jesus when I was 678 years old, you know, and I grew up in the church, I really don't even have a testimony. Sometimes. I wish I had a story like the drug dealer. Yeah, that's how it's always the drug dealer in that example. I don't really know why. Okay, but I wish I had somebody a testimony like that, who came to know Christ or somebody who had done something really bad. And now they can stand before people and say, I'm forgiven, and I'm saved and their life looks radically different than the way it looks before. But I've got a boring testimony, because I really wasn't even that big of a sinner whenever I came to know, Jesus. Is that true, though? Is that true? I don't think it is true. As a matter of fact, we have places in Scripture that seemed to paint quite a different picture for us. Apostle Paul writes several of them one of them that is in Ephesians, two, verse one through three where he says to Christians about their past. He says, As for you, listen to this, you were dead, in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live when you follow the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient, all of us notice that language lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh, and following its desires and thoughts like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath, does that to you sound at all, like some people are almost right there, and just need to get a little forgiven and over the hump to be reconciled to God doesn't really sound that way to me either. All, all means all. Every single one of us whether you came to know Jesus at seven years old, or at 37 years old, and lived a life of sinful behavior, all we're dead in sins, all of us. He says we're by nature deserving of God's wrath. Ouch. Paul, so Paul, and Romans puts it this way in chapter three, for we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written, There is no one righteous, not even one there's no one who understands there is no one who seeks God all I've turned away, They have together become worthless. There is no one who does good, not even one. It's a pretty depressing passage of scripture. Doesn't really sound any better all are under the power of sin. No one righteous all turned away no one who's done good. Again, it doesn't really sound like some people are really good moral people. And they just need a little bit of forgiveness, to get over the hump and be made with right Colossians one Paul even says all are alienated from God because of sin. And were considered enemies of his Do you see the situation that you were in at one time, before you came to know Jesus, whether you were seven years old, or again, and you were 37 years old, and lived a life of sin, All means all, even if you were a good moral rule follower, your mommy and daddy taught you right from wrong. And you lived by following those rules in school and in their home and all the above. And you were just the good little boy or the good little girl, you understand that you were in the exact same situation as the thief and the murderer. however far you want to run with that. All means, Oh, can you imagine standing before the God of the universe, knowing those two things that I just read to you? The things that God just said about the state that you were really in? Can you can you imagine standing in his presence, knowing that he calls you his enemy, that you are spiritually dead to him, that you are deserving of His wrath? I mean, the holy, magnificent, all powerful God you are standing before and He's declaring these things to be true of you. How would you feel in that moment? Be scared to death, you would understand at that point, you would finally see the light of the insurmountable debt that you owe to God that you could never pay back to him and that there was no way you could get out of this situation. You were about to experience His wrath in that moment. Imagine the fear the worry and the anxiety. And then God says but but I forgive you. But I cancel all of your debt your entire debt, right? here and right now based on my son's finished work on the cross for you, can you imagine the relief that you would feel in that moment? Can you imagine the joy that you would feel in that moment to have that declared this is the gospel, that's how far away you were from God in the situation that you are really in, and how much you've been forgiven? And released from that was due coming to you because of sin in your life? Man, it is good, good news. But did you know it's not all of the good news? That is the gospel, but it's only part of the gospel? Because not only does he cancel your debt that you owe, and kind of get you back to zero, right? I mean, that's, that's what happens when we have an overdrawn bank account, you know, I mean, you get text nine and bring my phone in, but you get text messages and alerts about your bank, anybody ever been there before, where you spent a little bit more money than you had, and all of a sudden, you get a text message that says, you have a negative balance in your account, right? We've probably all gotten one of those a time or two. Imagine getting one of those one day, and it's saying that you had, I mean, you had a negative $1 million balance in your account. Once again, I mean, you'd be pretty frightened about that there would be some fear that was going on, that you would be experiencing and thinking in that particular moment, right. But then let's imagine that the bank called you and said, Hey, we noticed that you have a negative $1 million balance in your account, but we're feeling pretty generous today. It's your lucky day, you know, what we're gonna do for you, we're gonna cancel your entire $1 million debt. You don't have to pay it back to us. You're welcome. What would you feel in that moment? It feel pretty good, right? I mean, you do your happy dance, you'd be running around and joy and singing and crazy, you'd love that person on the other end of the line and expressing all kinds of emotions to them and all of the above, but then you log back into your account about 10 minutes later, and you you see what your balance is at that time. And what would it be? Zero, right? Oh, well, that was good. But now I'm stuck at zero. I don't have anything. I'm no longer in debt. Oh, man, I'm relieved. I don't know it. But I have nothing to draw on at this point. Well, that's not God, that's not the gospel. He doesn't just release you from that debt. And go, you owed me all of this. I've paid it. And now you're at a zero, right? Imagine the bank then calling you back after that and saying, you know, what, not only are we going to cancel that million dollars that you owed us, we're gonna put a trillion dollars on top of that in your account. Yes, right. May it be so Lord. But you talk about our happy dance then Right? I mean, you would be thrilled right? And this is the thing that God does for us. Not only does he forgive us of this ginormous debt that we owe to him, he rewards you with his son, he rewards you with his life, he rewards you with the sons inheritance. You are co heirs with Jesus Christ, His Son, do you see what has happened to you? If you've put your faith and trust in Jesus for salvation? Yes, your debt has been paid, you're not at a zero, you've got a quad trillion, whatever the biggest number there is in your bank account, and then some right? I mean, it's all been added to So you went from being a sinner to a saint, you went from being an enemy to a child of God, you went from being deserving of His wrath to a co heir with Jesus. This is the full gospel message and the reality of all of our situations. Jesus was not trying to tell Simon, man Simon, you're, you're such a good dude. You're just right there. And you know what? It's just It really stinks to be you quite honestly, though, Simon, because you were just forgiving a little bit. And now you're never going to be able to love me much because you were just forgiving a little. But she was in a great situation because she was such a terrible center. She's going to really be able to love me a lot now. But you won't. And that's not the point that he's trying to make home. He's trying to help us all see, Simon see that his sin was Jai normas and that it was something that he couldn't pay. And when he begins to finally see that, then what that will cause him to do now is to love the same way that she was loving because of how much she has been forgiven. It will compel us to love God greatly which is exactly what she was doing. Let's go back and look at a few of the things that we were told. Verse 37, a woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisees house. So she came in with an alabaster jar of perfume. Did you know that was a very expensive bottle or jar of perfume that she was walking in with? I think most commentators believed that that was roughly the cost of an average person's annual income, what they would make for an entire year of working, they would have to spend to be able to have an alabaster jar of perfume. And so this was a valuable commodity to her. This was her security. This is something that she could rely on to provide for her for quite a while, but she wasn't there, to sell it or to gain anything from it. She was there, to give it away and to worship to use it for Jesus, verse 38. As she stood behind him with his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, then she wiped them with her hair, kissed him and poured perfume on them. I mean, this is an emotional response. It's an emotional response to the depth of her sin having been forgiven, prior to this instant. Even though Jesus said at the end of it, Your sins have been forgiven. We know that she had to have been forgiven at a prior time and had a encounter with Jesus before this moment, because he said in verse, where was it 3047 her many sins have been forgiven as what, as her great love has shown. In other words, this love that she's showing me now in this moment, is a response to the forgiveness that she had already received. That wasn't what she was bringing to me and doing for her earned forgiveness. And then I was able to grant her he was reassuring her of the forgiveness that she had received. And that this was a valid expression of how she was being compelled to love and serve and worship him. There's so much humility, in her loving response to her forgiveness, there's so much reverence here, I mean, she's kneeling, she's worshiping, she's bowing, she's, she's washing feet, she's kissing feet. But not only is there a humility in her love, and a reverence in her love, there's an intimacy in the way she's loving Jesus, in this moment, two women did not let their hair down in public during this time, it was seen as cause for divorce, your husband could divorce you, if you let your hair down in public, he was the only one that was supposed to see you with your hair actually, down. You would let your hair down if you were fearful, in that moment, if you were scared in that moment, but there's something about her feeling confident. And being able to approach Jesus in this moment, there's an intimacy to the way that she's able to approach him and express this love to him. And it's all wrapped up in one thing. It's not just humility, it's not just the reference, there's an intimacy in the way that she was compelled to love him based on how much she had been forgiven, and all that she had in Christ now and you and I need to see that, because it's the same way that he will compel us, to love him to respond to him and to love him as well. There will be humility, there will be reverence when we're approaching the God of the universe and loving him. But there's also because of the finished work of Christ, that we can approach him with confidence as well. And that we can share an intimate relationship with Him and to crawl up in his lap and, and just enjoy him in the personal relationship that we can have. We don't love out of fear, because the fear has been removed, can approach him with confidence. This is not some kind of transactional love. Unfortunately, I've been in this place before many of you in the church had been in this place before where we view God is sitting on the throne. And he has the ability to manufacture situations and circumstances. And based on how well it is that we're doing down here is what causes him to make our situations or circumstances worse, or to make our situations and circumstances better. And so we find herself in a place of, oh, my life really stinks right now. I need to get back into church and I need to show him that I love him more. I need to serve Him more and I need to give more. And we think that when we do that he's going to look favorably upon us now and we're expressing that kind of love to him, which is going to then cause him to act on our behalf. To make our situations that we were in that weren't so great, better. So now we're finally not lacking what we felt like we were lacking in that moment. And we had more life than we had in that other moment. And it's not how it works, when we realize how much we've been forgiven when we realize how much we have in Christ, and we're compelled to love him not to get something out of him, but because we already have everything in him, we've got a trillion dollars in our bank account. So this is the first kind of love that it will produce. But the other thing I just want to quickly point out is the kind of love that Jesus is talking about, even though it doesn't come out exactly in this right here. You can also make the point that if we realize that we've been forgiven much, and how much we have in Christ, that not only is that going to compel us to love him more greatly, but to love other people more greatly. Because what happens is, when we don't think of people being in the same situation that we're in, then we're going to look down on some people, and we're going to not love them as well. It's what happened in Simon's life. Look at verse 39. Again, he says, when the Pharisee, who referring to Simon had invited him saw this referring to what she was doing, he said to himself, If this man were a prophet, He would know who is touching him, and what kind of woman she is, she is a sinner. When you think that you haven't sinned much, then it's not going to lead your it's going to lead you not to love not only God much, but other people as much, because now you need them. You need to take from them. Because you're in a situation where you've got to use them to justify how moral and good you really are, and that you really only needed to get a little bit over the hump. So you need people who are making way more of a mess of life than you are to be able to highlight to go, I've got to take from them something that I need to justify myself and build me up with how it is that I'm doing before God, and how I feel like I'm doing in this life. People like Simon didn't associate with people like this woman, they viewed her as unclean. They looked down upon her, they were to be kept at a distance, she was dirty. You don't hang out with people you shame people like her. But Jesus loved her. He loved her deeply. He even used her as the example of the right kind of love towards God over Simon, who was the Pharisee, who was seen as someone who was godly. And to point other people to him, again, the point is, is that when we see how much we've been forgiven, and all that we have in in him that's going to compel us to love other people who are stuck in their sin, we're not going to look at other people, the way that Simon was looking at them and feeling like we should shame them, or call them out for their sin in this world. Now, sometimes, unfortunately, that's what we do see people in the church doing, we do see us and we've participated in that every now and then not loving centers in the world, calling them out for their sin and all the things that they're doing to destroy this world that we're living in. But that's primarily because we're not seeing what Jesus said, Here, we're not seeing how big of a debt we were really in, just like they were really in. Because when we see that, then we're going to see that really, there's no difference in them in the situation they're in right now, in this moment that we're loathing, than when we were the situation we were in before we came to know Christ either. And when we see that, and then we have all that we need in them and I don't need to take from them to justify myself or before God than now that frees us up to just be compelled to have compassion for them, to feel sorry for them being in that situation to be compelled to love and to serve and build relationships with them, and to share Jesus with them. So these are the things that we we see in this parable that Jesus told in the context of everything that was happening, that when we realize that we're forgiven, much we will love much will love Jesus with a sincere and humbled and reverent love but also with a confident and intimate love will also love others more deeply. It's my hope and my prayers that for those of us who are here today who have said yes to Jesus will clearly see the situation that we were in how much of a debt we really owed to God, how that debt has have been paid, but that we weren't brought back to zero, that we had a trillion dollars put in our bank account in Christ. And we have so much in him, and are now free to just be able to love his he compels us to love both him and others. And if you're here today, and you've never said yes to Jesus, you may find yourself on one of those two sides, you understand that you're a sinner just like the woman did. And you know the depths of your sin, and you didn't think that you were worthy of His love. So you've never said yes to Jesus or wanted anything to do with him. And then you may be on the other side today where you've never said yes to Jesus, because you really felt like you were doing okay in this world. And you and him were pretty good. Because your mom and dad taught you right from wrong, and you're associated with the right political party, or whatever else is going on in your mind, right. And what I hope you see clearly today is how far off that thinking really is compared to a holy and a perfect God. If you've never said yes to Jesus, even though Jesus has accomplished all of what's necessary to pay that debt, and put that trillion dollars in your bank account, if you've never taken a step, if you've never put your faith in him to receive what it is that he's accomplished, then you're still in that situation where if you go before him, you are dead to him spiritually, you are deserving of His wrath. Because you haven't accepted the free gift that's offered to you. And so my question to you, if that's you, or you know, the depth of your sin, and you're seeing it clearly today, would you allow him to lead you to take that step and receive as a gift, what he's purchased for you the debt that you owe him, and allow him to deposit his son's life so that you can be a co heir with him in this moment. And it's my hope and prayer that you won't leave here today. Without saying yes to that good news. Let's pray. Father, what good news, it really is. Again, that you would allow your son to leave the glory and riches of heaven to come here, to suffer and die, to pay our debt that we owed, and to even reward us to give us your grace on the other side of that goes way beyond mercy and forgiveness. And we can't thank you enough. For those of us who have said yes to Jesus. Would you clearly continue to just help us to see the situation we were really in, no matter what our background is how much we've truly been forgiven? And would you use that to compel us to love you with humility and reverence and confidence and intimacy and to love others, to share our lives with them, as you work in us and through us and compel us to do so. And Father for those who are here today? Never said yes to you, because they have felt like they were okay. And there wasn't really anything that they needed to do or respond in a certain way, or because they thought the depth of their sin was just too far gone, and that they were in redeemable? Praise, you continue to open up their minds to see how much you love them and care for them and what you've done for them, what you're offering them in this moment. And if that's you, you've never said yes to Jesus and you are feeling compelled to take that step of faith today to receive what you've never received to make sure that that debts that have been paid has been entered into your own account. You've been deposited his life as well. You could just say a simple prayer of faith like this, in the quietness of your heart and mind, just say Dear God, I recognize that I am a center, a great center and then my sin separates me from you. But thank you for loving me, Jesus, thank you for coming to die for my sins. Right now, in this moment, I put my faith and trust in you to be my savior. Please forgive my sins, please erase my debt. Please come dwell in me and give me your life. Be my guide. Be my source. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for putting your life in me and I make myself available to you. Would you be my guide? And would you empower me to live the life now that you've always created me to live and that I just received in this moment right now? Jesus name amen.