The Debt of Love


I will never forget Fred, donning his wetsuit and scuba gear on a frigid January day to repair a serious leak in our new pool. The builder had vanished, and we were desperate. He dove in on that cold Saturday out of the goodness of his heart. When he finished, I did not think he would ever warm up. I was amazed at this act of kindness and will always think of him as a hero. 

  • Have you ever had someone do something extraordinarily generous for you, release you from paying him or her back, or help you out of a real jam? How did you respond to the person afterwards?


36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?”43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Contrast how differently Simon and the woman treated Jesus (vss. 44-46).
  2. What was Simon’s heart attitude behind his actions? What was the woman’s motive?
  3. How did the parable parallel the situation? Who were the real sinners in the story?
  4. How does your daily life demonstrate your appreciation for all the Lord has done for you? 


Simon deliberately omitted honoring Jesus with the basic courtesies shown to guests. He doubted that Jesus was even a prophet, let alone a savior. In sharp contrast, the woman recognized Jesus as Lord and understood that he had forgiven all her sins. In deep appreciation, she did what Simon would not do and anointed her Savior’s head with oil and his feet with tears. The amount of love she demonstrated reflected the amount of forgiveness she had received. If you have never recognized the debt Jesus has paid for you, it is a gift waiting to be received. Just as the woman did by faith, you also can recognize Jesus as Lord and go in peace!

  • Ask him for a bigger view of his amazing grace and ways to show him your indebtedness.
  • Take some time to recount to God his kindness, mercy, and love in your life.