2017 05 07 Lorna Laister The Parable of the Money Lender

2017 05 07 Lorna Laister The Parable of the Money Lender
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Sermon summary (Click on the title) The Parable of the money Lender  Luke 7:36-50  Lorna Laister May 7 2017

In the middle of this story is a parable

One of the Pharisees, Simon, invites Jesus to this feast. He’s suspicious and wants to catch Jesus out. He wants to know whether Jesus really is The Prophet.


Simon did not want to talk about what was going through his mind. Jesus, though, forced him into a dialogue. The parable Jesus tells corrects Simon and invites him to live in salvation.


Houses were much more open then than ours, people could come and go and see what was happening especially at such a prestigious home. This no ordinary home - Pharisees guarded their purity closely. Into this dinner party a sinful woman comes, bringing a jar of perfume. To the Pharisees this woman is like an infectious disease, yet Jesus is clearly accepting her. It's a shocking display of intimacy.


Jesus recognises her actions as the real thing. He reinterprets what she does as a loving act rather than an erotic act. Jesus' response. He is a prophet - he knows what Simon is thinking, so in v40 he tells Simon he has something to say. So we have a parable within the context of a larger story. Both stories are important

Read Luke 7:41-43

The money lender. He is owed a lot of money.

What options did the moneylender have with people who owed him money?


  1. The moneylender could demand payment, possibly in a form other than money such as livestock or valuable objects.
  2. He could have the debtor put in prison until the debt was paid by his family or friends.
  3. Or he could actually make the debtor his slave.
  4. Or, of course, he could forgive the debt, which was actually required in Old Testament law: at (the end of every seven years, creditors were to cancel all the debts they were owed by fellow Israelites).


Why do you think the woman came to the Pharisee’s house

to seek forgiveness?

to minister to Jesus?




Forgiving a large debt means more than forgiving a small one. That’s true today too: if someone forgives you a debt of R1,000, you’re going to feel more loving toward him than a person who forgives you a debt of R100. Jesus points out that Simon was more than inhospitable. HE SNUBBED JESUS!

It’s all summed up in Verse 47, “Her sins, which are many, have been forgiven; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  For his rudeness, Simon was in the position of having been forgiven little, but the message that he also loved little must have been sobering to him.


What was Jesus actually saying to Simon?


(a) you can’t know grace because you don’t think of yourself as a sinner,

(b) you are also a sinner but you don’t know it,

(c) but you still need forgiveness,

(d) the more you’ve sinned, the more your love for God,

(e) The more you’ve been forgiven, the more your love for God.


Jesus' response to Simon

You gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

You gave me no kiss, but from the time she came, she has not ceased to kiss my feet

You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.


The woman’s actions show how much she knew she had been forgiven. Her debt was great

Simon failed to realise he had to be forgiven


Each story interprets the other. You cannot have one story without the other.

The sinful woman is the one who was forgiven a huge debt. Simon the one who had forgiven little.

But this parable is NOT about money!


Thus, the theme of the parable is one of God’s forgiveness and grace, acceptance and inclusion.


Some of us recognise this need for forgiveness.

We might have a very murky past (like the sinful woman) and know that the things we have done (or thought about doing) have been awful

But some of us think we haven’t been too bad. After all we never bullied anyone at school, never stole any money, Never lied (or told big lies). Grew up in the church

Not much bad in our lives. So maybe our love for God is small too?


Change that perspective. Compared with Jesus we are puny. Tiny. When we compare ourselves with each other it is at the worldly level. Jesus is 25 million miles high in the sky. We are ALL sinners


The challenge

Do our attitudes and behaviour mirror Simon or the sinful woman?

Do we welcome and are we reconciled with everyone who has repented and been forgiven?


Whenever we look down on someone for being smelly or disorganized or lazy or emotional or promiscuous or socially inept or bitter, then we are being like graceless Simon.

When we look down on others for not understanding grace, we are being like Simon.

If you think this applies to someone else you are being like Simon. Jesus says to us if you look down on others, you love little because you understand so little of your own sin and my grace.

If you look on the outward appearance and never try to get past that – you are like Simon


The basic meaning is in  God’s forgiveness and grace and the love for God that should come as a result of this forgiveness, grace, inclusion.

  1. see others as Christs sees them
  2. Salvation is living in the reality of God’s love, grace and forgiveness and allowing ourselves to be transformed (Simon couldn’t see this)

When Jesus looked on such women ... He didn't see them as they were. He saw them as they could be. When he looked at us ... he did not see who we were in sin ... he saw what we could be. To Jesus, .... sin has always been an ugly film ... that hides the true beauty underneath. Church ... see others as Christs sees them... see others ... and yourself ... through his eyes.

See others and yourself through his eyes. Forgiveness and grace, acceptance and inclusion.

Allow him to remove the coloured film of sin and allow yourself and others to shine brightly.


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