November 03, 2022 – Thursday – More on Forgiveness
Matthew 18:21-22 NIV
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.
Do not be surprised at what Jesus has to say about forgiving or forgiveness as there are sixty-three instances by Jesus and others in the New Testament (NIV) and sixty-five in the Old Testament where forgiving is mentioned.
When Peter asked Jesus his question and proposed his own answer of seven times, he must have felt pleased with himself and assured of praise from Jesus. Why? Because the standard in first century Israel was three times and Peter was proposing twice that plus one. What Jesus was proposing (commanding) was simply unheard of and must have surprised and shocked His disciples.
As a result, He told them an illustrative story so they might better understand. Some give this illustrative story a title of The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. It continues directly after this exchange between Peter and Jesus from verse 23 to verse 35.
Jesus begins His story with 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.The first account to be settled was with a man who owed the enormous sum of 10,000 talents. A talent was worth about 20 years of a day laborer’s wages. It was a debt that was impossible to pay. As a result, the king ordered the man, his wife, his family and all that he had to be sold to repay the debt. That’s when the servant begged. Be patient with me and I will pay back everything. The servant’s master, his king, took pity on him and canceled his debt.
Such an incredible act of mercy and kindness, the story could have ended there as such an enormous debt was forgiven. But the story did not end there. Jesus had more to teach His listeners.
I can imagine the servant going out jumping for joy, but that is not what happened. Instead, he came across a fellow servant who owed him 100 denarii where a denarius was the usual daily wage of a day laborer. Having been forgiven so much you might expect him to forgive his fellow servant, but that did not happen. Instead, 28b He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded .
Then his fellow servant fell to his knees and begged just as he had done with the king, 29 His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ He was not patient and forgiving as his king had been, 30 Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. That did not sit well with others who saw what had happened, so they went and told the king everything.
And now we come to the point Jesus wanted to make about how forgiveness should follow forgiveness. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. And in case His disciples had not fully grasped the point of His story, Jesus added 35 This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.
Bottom Line: Forgiveness is to be from the heart. It has to be real.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You forgive us so much when we believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins and believe he rose on the third day. Help us to find it in our hearts to truly forgive as well. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton