Parable of the Two Debtors
Ken Marler tells about his grandfather who is 94 years old, and acts 60. He has unbelievably good health and an active lifestyle. His grandmother is almost as active at 88.
His grandparents live in It, Mississippi. Yes, It. That's the name of the community just off Interstate 55 south between Gallman and Wesson, Miss. There is a sign proclaiming, "This is It." I have always wanted a second sign not far down the road reading "That was It."
Every Thursday, Ken’s grandfather drives about 20 miles to Wal-Mart in Hazelhurst. That is senior adult day, and he can get free coffee. He doesn't miss that day at Wal-Mart. When he envisions his grandfather at Wal-Mart, he is making sure everyone knows he's in the building. After all, when you're 94, you want everyone to know you're still alive. When he asked his grandfather why he drives the 40-mile round trip for a free cup of coffee, he says, "Well, I like the free coffee, and I also like the way the clerks hug on me." Once when his grandfather went to Wal-Mart, it just happened to be his birthday. When he entered the door, he found the clerks had thrown him a birthday party -- cake, candles, balloons, ice cream and a newspaper photographer were all there. (Of course, there was free coffee, also.) Wal-Mart knows his grandfather, and they know his name and when his birthday is.
Now it is very interesting that his grandfather does not go to church. He is a believer, and his grandmother doesn't miss church. But his grandfather just doesn't go. And Ken thinks he knows why. At Wal-Mart he gets what he doesn't get at church. The ingredients he misses at church? Hugs, people knowing his name, birthday parties, a sense of belonging and being appreciated. You see, it doesn't matter if you are 4 or 94, you like this type of attention. Age is not the issue. The issue is feeling like you belong and that you are a part of what's going on. If his grandfather were in our church, would he get the Wal-Mart reception?
Opening Questions — Get Us Thinking:
· Who is the most affectionate person in your family?
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman—Luke 7:36-50
36When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39When 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.”
40Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,c and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44Then 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 for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Research Questions — “Dig Deeper” to find God’s Will
1. As an apparent prostitute, the woman in this Bible story felt a great deal of shame and blame. Yet she longed for God’s forgiveness. Jesus shows her great compassion and mercy despite her past mistakes. What is the main lesson here?
2. What risk was this “sinful woman” taking in coming to the house of Simon, the Pharisee? What does this tell you about her state of mind?
3. What section would the local newspaper put this story in?
□ the social page — highlighting that a prostitute crashed the dinner this Pharisee had for Jesus.
□ the gossip column — because of the scandalous way the prostitute acted toward Jesus.
□ the religion page — headlining Jesus’ claim that the prostitute’s sins are forgiven.
□ the business section — announcing the woman’s departure from her profession.
4. How would you have felt watching the woman anoint Jesus like she did in verse 38?
□ embarrassed □ moved □ confused □ disgusted
5. What is your impression of Simon? What do you think Jesus’ purpose was in telling the parable in verses 41-43? Why didn't he just accuse Simon of not loving enough?
6. What does Jesus see in this woman that Simon does not? How does this affect Jesus’ actions toward her? In this passage, what seems to be Jesus’ main concern? Simon’s Concern?
7. Why do you think Jesus spent so much time associating with sinners? Explain? - Luke 19:10
8. Who do you think was a greater sinner, the woman or Simon? Why? How important is it to this woman that Jesus loves and forgives her?
9. What difference exists between the way God looks upon people and man looks upon them? 1 Samuel 16:7
10. In terms of the two debtors, should one have been more grateful to the moneylender than the other? If so, which one and why?
Reflective Questions — Live it today.
1. The Forgiven Sinner’s Grateful Love. What are some of the ways Christians should express their gratitude to God for the forgiveness of sins He has granted to them?
2. Who do you identify with most in this story? The Woman — because I feel bad about my past. The Pharisee — because I have a tendency to be judgmental. Or Jesus — because hypocritical attitudes make me angry.
3. How difficult is it for you to express your love in a relationship with Jesus?
4. What is the most loving thing you have ever done for Jesus? For someone else? How was Jesus part of it?
5. What needs to happen for you to feel the kind of forgiveness this woman felt?
6. What have you learned from this story that you could apply this week?
Jesus never attacked the sinner. He simply said, "I forgive you." Meanwhile, he attacked the self-righteous with a vengeance, because he knew that until they felt guilty, they couldn't be forgiven.
The next study will be focusing on the Prison Epistles.