It’s amazing how I was raised as a Christian, yet I had completely forgotten about the Parable of Two Debtors that Jesus told on that first Holy Wednesday, two days before His death. Most remember this day as Spy Wednesday, because it is commemorated as the day Judas Iscariot struck a deal with Caiaphas and the other Pharisees to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
But the Parable of Two Debtors seems to get lost in the shadow of that aspect of today. Or at least it has in my mind, unfortunately. But once I reread the parable and rediscovered its significance, I knew I had to share it with you guys!
Before you read the rest of this post, take time to read the parable. The Parable of the Two Debtors can be found here!
Everyone has their own personal interpretation of Scripture, so take from that what you will. But what I got from it was that when a person truly recognizes the depth of God’s forgiveness, as shown in the parable by the woman washing Jesus’ feet with her tears, not only are they saved by Him, outward signs show this to others as well.
When I was rereading this parable, I thought of two examples I’ve seen in my life that might illustrate the point Jesus makes: People raised in the Christian faith from birth, and people who weren’t raised as such, but who become Christians through being forced to lean on Jesus during extreme adversity in their lives.
I’m in the first category of people. I love my Mom and Dad to death, and am beyond grateful they raised me to know Jesus at an early age. But to me, there is something different and organic in people who find their way to Jesus on their own from life dealing them several bad hands. I envy them in the best way possible. True, I may have heard the Scripture stories several times. I may know a lot of the Bible and be able to quote my favorite verses or remember my favorite passages. But I am still not as close to Jesus as I would like to be.
I truly admire the people who weren’t initially Christians before encountering Jesus, but who became Christians later on. They seem to be where I want to be: They truly realize the depth of His love and forgiveness, and love Him with a true passion and fire in their hearts that I don’t feel as often as I would like. They are the people in the parable who owed the Debtor 500 Denarii. They love Him so much because they realized the depth of their sin, and the depth of His love without having to be taught by somebody else. God called to their hearts and they found Jesus. They were like the woman in the parable: It didn’t matter where Jesus was, she went RUNNING to Him because she knew who He is. Those people did the same!
Now, I will be the first to tell you that I often feel like a worthless sinner. I often despair over my sins, and feel unbelievably unworthy of calling myself a follower of Jesus. I am most definitely not worthy of Him. There have been times I have read the Bible or seen Jesus portrayed on TV, and I instantly start crying, because I know that I have failed Him. Time and again. Over and over.
But the thing is, this recognition, and the recognition of the depths of His forgiveness took far longer in my life because I was raised in the Christian faith from birth. I was definitely sheltered spiritually. I was asleep. I still don’t feel fully spiritually awake like I want to be.
I would go through the motions. I’d go to Mass every Sunday, but not often truly hear or notice God. I’d do good things for others because it was what I was taught to do by my parents and it made me happy, but I wouldn’t always recognize or remember that good things should humbly and intentionally be done for others to emulate Jesus and glorify God. I’d be happy if others saw me as a “good guy” but not really feel that way inside, and I certainly wasn’t following Jesus closely enough to make sure my actions consistently back that up. I still struggle walking the walk.
I was a person in the parable who owed only 50 Denarii. I don’t have less sins than other people. But I am still learning to love Jesus as passionately, truly and faithfully as others He has saved who are already doing so.
My prayer for all who read this, is that we be like the woman in the parable who washes Jesus’ feet with her tears, and dries them with her hair. I pray that we recognize our sins, and that we also recognize the depth of His forgiveness and mercy, and consistently go to Him. If you are trying to find Jesus, don’t seek Him halfheartedly. If you’ve found Him and He’s found you, don’t go through the motions in your relationship with Him. Don’t take His love for granted. Don’t think you’re good enough. Don’t be like Simon the Pharisee who viewed the woman as a worse sinner than himself.
Surrender yourself to Him. Spend true quiet time with Him. Go to Jesus today, and every day recognizing how much you really need Him. And ask for His forgiveness genuinely and from your heart. He is only waiting to give it 🙂