Sunday, February 20, 2022
A Story About Forgiveness
21 At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”
22 Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.
23-25 “The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got underway, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.
26-27 “The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.
28 “The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’
29-31 “The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.
32-35 “The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.”
-Matthew 18-21-35 The Message
Verse 21: Then Peter came up and said to Him, “Lord, how many times shall my brother sin against me and I still forgive him? Up to seven times?”
Verse 22: Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy-seven times.
Verse 22 study: The rabbis taught people that you should forgive those who offend them, but only three times. Peter, being generous, asked if the perfect number seven times was enough to forgive someone. But Jesus said, “seventy times seven.” This means we should not keep track of how many times we forgive someone. We should always forgive those who are truly repentant, no matter how many times they ask.
Verse 23: “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves.
Verse 24: And when he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.
Verse 25: But since he did not have the means to repay, his master commanded that he be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment is made.
Verse 26: So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’
Verse 27: And the master of that slave felt compassion, and he released him and forgave him the debt.
Verse 28: But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe!’
Verse 29: So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’
Verse 30: But he was unwilling, and went and threw him in prison until he would pay back what was owed.
Verse 30 study: In bible times, there were all kinds of actions the lender could take to the debtor. A person lending money could seize the borrower who couldn’t pay and force his or her family to work until the debt was paid off. The debtor could be thrown into prison, or his family could be sold into slavery to help pay off the debts. The debtor hoped while in prison, would sell off his landholdings, or maybe a relative(s) would pay off the debt. If that didn’t happen, the debtor could be in prison for life.
Verse 31: So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their master all that had happened.
Verse 32: Then summoning him, his master *said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.
Verse 33: Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way, that I had mercy on you?’
Verse 34: And his master, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he would repay all that was owed him.
Verse 35: My heavenly Father will also do the same to you if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”
Verse 35 study: God has forgiven our sins. We should make it a habit to forgive others. Realizing how completely Christ has forgiven us should produce a free and generous attitude of forgiveness towards others. When we don’t forgive others, we are setting ourselves outside and above Christ’s law of love.