“Which of them will love him most?”

J.C.Ryle comments on Luke 7:36-50

a sense of having our sins forgiven is the mainspring and life-blood of love to Christ. This, beyond doubt, was the lesson which our Lord wished Simon the Pharisee to learn, when He told him the story of the two debtors. “One owed his creditor five hundred pence, and the other fifty.” Both had “nothing to pay,” and both were forgiven freely. And then came the searching question–“Which of them will love him most?” Here was the true explanation, our Lord told Simon, of the deep love which the penitent woman before Him had displayed. Her many tears, her deep affection, her public reverence, her action in anointing His feet, were all traceable to one cause. She had been much forgiven, and so she loved much.

  • Her love was the effect of her forgiveness–not the cause–
  • the consequence of her forgiveness, not the condition,
  • the result of her forgiveness, not the reason–
  • the fruit of her forgiveness, not the root.

Would the Pharisee know why this woman showed so much love? It was because she felt much forgiven. Would he know why he himself had shown his guest so little love? It was because he felt under no obligation–had no consciousness of having obtained forgiveness–had no sense of debt to Christ.