Luke 7: 41-43
“Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker cancelled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?”
Simon answered, “I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.”
Jesus tells this parable during a meal he was having with a Pharisee named Simon. Luke doesn’t say when he had this meal just that it happened sometime after the Roman captain showed great faith by saying Jesus didn’t need to touch his servant in order to heal him, just say the word and it’ll be done. Following this Jesus goes around healing people here, there and everywhere to show to a couple of John the Baptist’s disciples who Jesus is. Jesus kind of tops off this magnificent display with the words:
“Go back and tell John what you have just seen and heard:
The blind see,
The lame walk,
Lepers are cleansed,
The deaf hear,
The dead are raised,
The wretched of the earth have God’s salvation hospitality extended to them.
“Is this what you were expecting? Then count yourselves fortunate!”
Luke 7:21-23 (The Message)
So sometime after that Simon the Pharisee invites Jesus to a dinner party. During the dinner party, Simon does nothing to show any respect to Jesus. There’s no washing of Jesus’ feet and there’s no greeting, Simon isn’t doing a very good job of being a host. I guess it’s a little like inviting someone respectable to your house and then when they’re there not welcoming them or asking if they want a cup of tea. Anyway, so the atmosphere’s a little tense and then this woman, we only know that she’s the town’s prostitute, comes in and washes Jesus’ feet with very expensive perfume and dries them with her hair. Wow! That’s an amazing act of respect and subservience towards Jesus. Simon, being a bit of a douche, is tutting and sighing to himself when Jesus turns on him and, I could imagine with a twinkle in his eye, says: ‘Simon, I have something to tell you.’ He then proceeds in telling Simon this parable. It’s not a brain teaser to work out who Jesus is, primarily, portraying in the story.
“Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.”