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Parable of the Two Debtors Life Lessons

The Parable of the Two Debtors is also known as the Parable of the Debtor or the Parable of the Money Lender. It’s included in one of four Gospels, Luke 7:41. At the surface level, it seems like this is a parable about forgiving debt of money. But this is Jesus we’re talking about! Let’s explore the deeper meaning that He actually intended.

The Parable of the Money Lender is:

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 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?” 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

Parable of the Two Debtors Money Lender Life Lessons - man holding and offering money

Parable of the Two Debtors Meaning – Luke 7 41 43

Our sin is a debt we owe to God and Christ paid the debt for our sins so that we might be saved. The greater the sin forgiven, the more grateful the sinner should be, but all sin is forgiven equally and freely with repentance.

Parable of the Debtor Context

In Luke 7:36-40, Jesus was invited to the home of a Pharisee. While he was at the dinner, a woman who was known to be a sinner came to the home of the Pharisee and sat weeping at Jesus’ feet. Her tears fell on his feet and she washed them with her hair. She then poured perfume on him from the jar she had brought. 

The Pharisee thought that if Jesus was really a prophet that he would know the woman who was touching him was sinner and shouldn’t be touching him.

This is when Jesus told him (Simon) the Parable of the Two Debtors. The context of the parable is that a sinner who is in great sin (like the woman was) should be more grateful than those who are forgiven with lesser sins. All are forgiven, but the one whose debt is more should be all the more grateful for forgiveness.

Parable of the Two Debtors Spiritual Lessons

The Parable of the Money Lender is often mistaken as being about money, which is why we can easily understand the concept as something familiar. Although debt forgiveness can also be applied to money, we are given this beautiful reminder that God forgives our debt of sin, without limit, when we turn to Him. Let’s take a look at a few more life lessons from this hopeful parable.

1. We are all Debtors

Our sins are debts to God that we aren’t able to repay. As sinful humans, we aren’t capable of being good enough to properly atone for our sins. Our only saving grace is God’s abundant compassion.  Our debts (sins) are forgiven through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

2. Turn away from the old ways

The message of the Gospel is to repent of our sins and turn to Christ and away from our old ways. We are forgiven through our faith in Christ as our Lord and Savior. However, the story doesn’t end there. 

As Christians, we are called to change for the better when we accept Christ into our hearts.

In John 8:11 NIV, Jesus tells the adulterous woman, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Does accepting Christ mean we’re capable of never sinning again? Maybe not. But it does mean that we cannot simply accept Christ and then go on living the same as we were. 

Living a life for Christ means discerning our sinful ways and making a conscious effort to change. It means that we make a true and continual effort to turn from our old worldly ways and into the light of Christ.

3. Don’t be like the Pharisee

The Pharisee refused to acknowledge the woman’s repentance of her sins and her appreciation of being forgiven by washing Jesus’ feet with her tears and hair. Instead, the Pharisee scorned her due to her past. He couldn’t see her as anything more than the sins she’d committed.

Through Christ, we are forgiven and changed. When we repent and align our lives with Christ, God is pleased. As such, we should also be pleased when sinners come to repentance and not continue to judge them by their past.

 4. Sin is Sin, but…

Jesus taught us that sin is sin. He said in Matthew 5:27-28 NIV:

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

And in Matthew 5:21-22 NIV, He said:

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

He has made it clear that what we might consider “lesser” sins through our human eyes are just as sinful as “the biggies”.

However, in the Parable of the Two Debtors, Jesus is making a different point. Here, He is teaching that the more sinful the person who’s been forgiven, the greater that person’s love for God should be.

We can understand this in regards to the example Jesus gave about money. How much more appreciative would we be for a money lender to forgive our debt of a million dollars versus forgiving our debt of ten dollars?

Our love and appreciation of God’s forgiveness should be greatest for the greatest of sins forgiven. 

Are you seeking deeper faith, a more meaningful life, or greater inner peace?

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What is the parable of the servants given money?

The parable of the servants given money is the Parable of the Money Lender, also known as the Parable of the Debtor or Two Debtors. This parable is found in Luke 7 41 43

What is a Money Lender? 

A money lender is a person who loans money, usually as a business, and charges interest that is collected on the repayment of the loan.

What is a Debtor?

A debtor is a person who owes something to someone else, usually referring to money, but they might also owe a favor or special treatment.

Luke 7:41 Commentary – the Parable of the Money Lender

Find The Parable of the Money Lender (Parable of the Debtor, Parable of the Two Debtors, parable about forgiving debt) Commentaries at Bible Study Tools.com. They include free and paid versions. For this article, I referred to Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary.

This post may contain affiliate links. This is my full disclosure.

More Parables!

Do you love the parables as much as I do? You may enjoy reading life lessons on these others (listed below), these activities for adults and children, or this list of Parables and Meanings. More parable lessons are underway. See them all HERE!

Do you love journaling? Does writing down your personal reflections help you process your thoughts more fully? Perhaps these Christian writing journals will be helpful as you reflect on the life lessons of the parables.

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