Hi. I have a question for you. Actually, a couple. I think this will be some pretty good ones to have on the site, but mainly I am writing for some clarification for my own personal understanding.
Concerning the parable of the two debtors that Jesus told Simon Peter about. Simon Peter concluded that the debtor that had owed the most to the moneylender would be the person of the two choices given that would love the moneylender more and Jesus says that this was an accurate judgment on Simon Peter’s part. Not so hard to understand why. The one that owes more and gets the debt canceled is the one that gets the bigger break out of the two. So that person has a bigger burden lifted off of him.
Ok, now the questions: The parable was used by Jesus to make a point about the predicament sinners are in with God, right? If so, is that parable further implying that just because of the fact that one person is deeper in debt (or sin) toward God than another, that the person, who is deeper in debt, will always be the one who ultimately ends up loving and following God more than the other after they received pardon for their debt? It almost seems like, to me, God is actually willing for us to get in so much debt with Him because it will be necessary for us to do so before we can truly see how loving and forgiving of a God He is, which in the end should allow us to more easily love Him and furthermore lead to us wanting to follow Him more than ever. But at the same time, I know the Bible is not an advocate of sin, so I wonder how to put this together in the best way.
Thanks for reading.
You actually touch on the issue that Paul addressed in Romans. "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 5:20-6:2). While God's grace is sufficient to cleanse the blackest of sinners, it does not mean that God is encouraging sin in any way.
To understand this parable properly, you need to examine the situation in which it was told.
"Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.
Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, "This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner."
And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you."
So he said, "Teacher, say it."
"There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?"
Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more."
And He said to him, "You have rightly judged."
Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little."" (Luke 7:36-47).
The man who invited Jesus in for dinner was not Simon Peter, but a Pharisee whose name happened to also be Simon. A woman, who was not invited to the dinner, comes in and washes Jesus' feet with her own tears and wiping them with her own hair. She then scents Jesus' feet with very costly perfume. Simon knew who the woman was and decided that Jesus couldn't have been that great of a prophet. He reasoned that if Jesus knew who was touching him he would have objected. Pharisees had a strong belief that uncleanness and sin could be spread like a contagious disease (Mark 7:3-4).
Through the use of the parable, Jesus illustrates that Simon didn't appreciate Jesus or what Jesus could do for him. In Simon's mind, he was basically a righteous man. He didn't need much from Jesus and thus did not appreciate him. It showed in the way he treated Jesus. Though Jesus was a guest in his house, he did not even offer Jesus the basic services a host normally gave to a guest.
But an uninvited sinner enters Simon's home and does far more than is necessary to treat Jesus as a respected and worthy guest. Jesus' parable tells us why. The woman's sins made her appreciate the one who brings freedom from sin more than Simon's arrogant pride in his own apparent righteousness. Where Simon had done nothing about his sins, this woman's sins were forgiven because of what she had done.
See "An Anointing of Jesus" in the Galilean Tour for more details.