When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A 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. As 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.

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.

“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.

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 for 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.”
— Luke 7:36-50 NIV

In this passage we see Jesus being greeted by a woman who was seen as a very “low” person in the town Jesus was in. The Bible tells us that she is a sinner and when she “learned that he (Jesus) was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house” she brought in a bottle of perfume and cleaned his feet. An important man in the town, a Pharisee, questioned why Jesus would let this woman touch him and weep at his feet. Jesus responded by telling a story in which “two people owed money to a certain moneylender”. One person owed 500 denarii (a denarii is about 1 days of work pay) and another 50, neither person had the money to give back, so the lender forgave them both. Jesus asks the question, “Now which of them will love him (the lender) more?” Simon replies that the one who owed more.

As humans, we owed the greatest debt to God, one that could never be repaid no matter how hard we tried to make it up. Think of us as a debtor who owed like 20,000 denarii. We were born into sin, our very beings are disobedient to the Lord. Instead, God (like the lender) sent His son as a sacrafice for our sins. He paid our debt. Our slates were wiped clean when we came to know Jesus. We have been forgiven of the greatest debt. 

We see Jesus point out that more forgiveness was given to the person who was in a greater debt. Jesus calls us into a life of forgiveness, we are to forgive those around us even when the debt is high. Forgiveness is choosing to look at those who owe us, wronged us, or left us hurt and not say “it’s okay” but instead say “I forgive you because I know what it’s like to be forgiven”


I ask that You look at my heart and my life, show me where I have withheld forgiveness from someone. Show me where I have valued being right over being loving. I ask that You step in and allow me to give that to You. I acknowledge that You have forgiven me and I choose to forgive others.

-Morgan Reed