The Two Debtors

Another time when he was dining
With a Pharisee named Simon
On a comfy couch reclining
Sharing stories, sharing meat

Came a girl, of lowly station
And of doubtful reputation,
In amongst their conversation
Came and stood behind his feet

Brought with her an alabaster
Box of ointment for the Master
Ventured in though none had asked her
Having heard that he was there

This the only place to find him
Where the rich had wined and dined him
Weeping there she stood behind him
Tears and ointment in her hair

Simon and his guests are thinking
(Some of them are smirking, winking)
Should this Prophet not be shrinking
From the touch of such a one?

As she wipes his feet they wonder
Such expensive stuff to squander!
Though they do not speak they ponder
Critical of what she’s done.

Every one her gift dismisses:
“What an exhibition this is!
Covering his feet with kisses!
Well, we don’t know what to say!”

“Does she think this weird flirtation
Will redeem her reputation
Or reverse her sure damnation
On the final judgement day?”

Jesus knew what they were thinking
Saw how they were smirking, winking
Felt the woman’s courage shrinking
While his feet she did anoint

Though they did not speak he knew them
Looked at them and saw right through them
So he told this story to them
Hoping they would get the point

“There was a man who had two debtors
Both of them had sent him letters
Saying, ‘We beseech you let us
Off our debts, as we can’t pay’.

Now this man was fat and jolly,
Also well endowed with lolly
As to him the debts were small he
Let them off without delay.

One owed fifty silver pieces
T’other, due to rent increases
Owed five hundred, his release is
Greater as I’m sure you’ll see.

Would the small or greater debtor,
Pardoned by their debt forgetter
Love this kindly man the better?
Debtor A or debtor B?”

Simon answered him directly
Looking round him circumspectly
“If I’ve understood correctly
Debtor B would love him more.”

Jesus nodded, “You judge rightly
And you’ve treated me politely,
But her love has shined more brightly
Since she walked in through the door.

She’s been told her sins are many
You believe you haven’t any
That you do not owe a penny
So you’ve little love for me.

Some whose debts may be far greater
Have less love for their creator
Than this woman; I would rate her
Current status as debt-free.”

Jesus went and stood beside her
Taking sides with the outsider
Took her trembling hand to guide her
Through the throng of Pharisees.

Took no notice of their scoffing,
Or of their embarrassed coughing,
Left them to their drunken quaffing,
Whispered to her, “Go in peace.”

Luke 7:36-50