The Parable of the Two Debtors
Luke 7:42-43
And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?…

This parable suggests a grave question, a question the answer to which branches out into many forms of practical truth. In the parable, the debtor who owes five hundred pence seems to have the advantage over the debtor who owes fifty. More is forgiven him, and he loves more; he is quit of the larger debt, and proves the better man. In the narrative, the Roman who is a sinner seems, in like manner, to have the advantage over the man who is a Pharisee — the harlot over the devotee. She is more open to the words of Christ, and, once forgiven, shows incomparably the warmer love. Now, if this parable and narrative stood alone, we might not care to raise the question, whether or not it is well to have sinned much — whether the greatest love springs from the most heinous transgressions, just as the fairest flowers and most fruitful trees spring from a plentifully manured soil? But they do not stand alone. The impression they make is deepened as we listen to other parables, as we turn to other narratives. (The two sons; the prodigal; the Pharisee and publican.) Is it, then, an advantage to have offended much, to have gone far and deep into sin? To suppose that to be the case is to utter a monstrous libel against God and man. Nevertheless the parables which seem to support this view subserve a most useful purpose; they contain truths which we are very apt to neglect, and suggest warnings of which we stand in constant need.

1. Observe that flagrant sinners are much more likely to discover that they are sinners than moralists and ritualists.

2. The much and the little of sin are for the most part measures of conscience, not of iniquity.

3. Christ does not teach us to run into sin, but to hate hypocrisy — the worst of sins.

4. Christ specially warns us against forming those hard judgments of our brethren, which of all men the "unco' guid" are apt to form.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

WEB: When they couldn't pay, he forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him most?"

Small Love not to be Despised If it be Growing
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