A Comparison Story

A scandalous scene was unfolding at Simon the Pharisee’s dinner party. A prostitute had crept in and was crouched, weeping at the feet of Jesus. As her tears mingled with her emptied-out perfume, making trickles in his dirty feet, she wiped them with her hair and kissed them clean.

“If this man were a prophet,” Simon thought to himself, “he would know what kind of woman is touching him.” (Luke 7:39). Since Jesus was a prophet, he answered Simon’s thoughts with a story.

“If a man forgave two debts—one for 500 pieces of silver another for 50—which debtor would love him more?” He asked.

Jesus used this comparison story to reveal the true comparison story happening at Simon’s table.

The first debtor is the woman. She has sinned greatly, and contrary to Simon’s supposition, Jesus knows it. Yet, he sees her sin as forgiven. Here at his feet is a daughter of the kingdom, who will one day dance—forgiven and clean—on streets of gold!

But who’s the second debtor? It’s Simon. In his story, Jesus places the Pharisee and a prostitute side-by-side as two sin debtors who cannot pay. Obviously, Simon sees it differently. His condescending disgust reveals his elevated sense of superiority, as he sees himself as a judge. Yet he has misjudged both the woman and Jesus!

By offering no kiss, no foot washing, and no anointing oil, Simon has just snubbed the only One who can forgive his sin. And the woman, with her extravagant love, has rightly elevated Him.

Friend, are you lifting yourself up as a judge with your condescending disgust toward others? Or are you crouched low at Jesus’s feet—a woman who is forgiven and clean?

“Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 18:14).