This is easy to understand but sometimes hard to practice. Matthew 6:15 – If you do not forgive others, God will not forgive you. When Jesus says “ten thousand talents,” he multiplies the largest unit of money by the largest Greek number, and the result is unimaginably large—the equivalent of a working man’s wages for 60 million days or 200,000 years–far more than King Herod’s realm would gain from taxes in a year (Boring, 382). Read the Scripture: Matthew 18:21-35 The parable we have before us deals with the healing of hurts between people, that is, the way to resolve differences, to heal the breaches that frequently come between members of families and members of churches, to dissolve the resentments and settle the bitter feuds and the fights that sometimes break out Not only must we avoid causing them to stumble, but we must also emulate their humility. Ecclesiastes 7:20 – There is no one who does good and never sins. Matthew 18:15-20 is to individuals. '”, “His lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him”, “But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”, All Rights Reserved | © 1997-2020 Richard Niell Donovan. “I don’t tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven” (hebdomekontakis hepta) (v. 22). The goal of the discipline in verses 15-20 is the restoration of the unrepentant sinner. Those who have little (such as these servants) often feel compassion more acutely than those who have much. “Until seven times?” (v. 21c). A talent is the largest unit of money in New Testament times—equivalent to 6,000 denarii—a denarius being a day’s wages for an ordinary laborer (20:2, 13). This is the third and final extract from Matthew’s discourse on the Church. A person keeping records of forgiveness is like a rogue banker whose motive is foreclosure. Matthew 18:21-35 Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? The unforgiving servant will suffer at the hands of his tormentors until he repays the king all that he owes—ten thousand talents—an enormous debt that he has no hope of ever repaying. 2 Introduction Parable exegesis as a whole is, like all forms and methods of exegesis and interpreta-tion, a product of its own time. Matthew 18.21-25. Saying hurtful things about the person behind their back. This parable shows how much provocation God has from his family on earth, and how untoward his servants are. And so the fellow slaves, “exceedingly sorry” (lupeo—full of sorrow), report the injustice to their lord (kyrios—a word often used for Jesus as Lord). The Third Readings: The Gospels (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), Copyright 2009, 2014, Richard Niell Donovan, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven”, “I don’t tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven”, “Be careful. • If we forgive our brother or sister from the heart, how can we do anything other than to love them and to find pleasure in the reconciliation that our forgiveness has made possible? Tuesday, December 21, 2010 Matthew 18:21-35: Forgiven People Forgive People In kingdom parables, Jesus gives us a glimpse into a very different world—a world that operates according to principles that are often the opposite of those with which we are familiar—a world that functions as our world was intended originally to function—a world where God is king, reigning in the hearts of his subjects. How can we manage to forgive like that, especially when we have suffered a grievous injury at the hands of the offender? 18); and the end of the age (ch. The penalty is severe for those who refuse to respond to the reconciliation process, but the process is designed, not to punish, but to open the eyes of the offender to the seriousness of the offense—and to bring him/her back into the fold. A sermon on the parable of the unmerciful servant from Matthew 18:21-35 (Many SermonCentral Contributors helped with this one along with an article in Bible Study Magazine) Evening Service for 11/22/2009 Matthew 18:21-35 HoHum: A. 2 (Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press, 1957), Bergant, Dianne with Fragomeni, Richard, Preaching the New Lectionary, Year A (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2001), Blomberg , Craig L., New American Commentary: Matthew, Vol. Verses 28-30 – The servant is unwilling to forgive a far smaller debt. 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Some thoughts on today's scripture. Matthew 18:21-35. Non-verbal communication like rolling of eyes or sighing when the person we are annoyed with speaks. What conclusion can we make from this parable’s ending? Yes, it does mean what it says. Babyl. God’s standard is far above the world’s standard. Matthew 18:15 Moreover if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone: ... such force and brilliancy that--if one dare praise our Lord's words as we praise the words of men--all must see its meaning at once, though it speaks of a state of … Charles Kingsley— The Water of Life and Other Sermons. The Greek, hebdomekontakis hepta can mean either seventy-seven or seventy times seven (490 times). What is forgiveness? True Greatness . Here are some potential ways that unforgiveness could be shown through our actions: Slow or unwilling to answer their phone calls or messages. Matthew 18:21-35. It helps to see the text in context, which softens it a bit—but only a bit. Workers in the Vineyard. Sign up for our newsletter to receive your free Bible study E-book of Hebrews. In the Gospel of Matthew there are five great discourses of Jesus: the Sermon on the Mount (ch. Every day of freedom is one less day of misery, and who knows—the king might change his mind—or the king might die—or some unforeseen event might redeem the situation. 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. Some think that this parable means a person can lose his salvation. 1 Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. Matthew 20.1-19. Forgiveness must be the most difficult one because it demands so much from us. Answer: We find the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant only in Matthew 18:23-35. and Jesus answered, "Not seven times but seventy times seven" (Matthew 18:21-22). The common element in these portions of this chapter is that they call us to throw away the calculator when dealing with relationships. Jesus expects his followers to forgive others, because he first showed mercy to us. This is the third and final extract from Matthew’s discourse on the Church. Matthew 18:21-35: Forgiven People Forgive People Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:22 "God has forgiven me much, so I think it's my responsibility to forgive others." The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. If that fails, the victim must solicit the help of the whole church. Meetings for Prayer. In fact, it’s everything. What makes a marriage? Thus the circle of Christ’s love expands ever wider to encircle one more lost sheep—and another—and another. The goal of verses 21-35 is the forgiveness of the repentant sinner. It is a decision that is totally open-ended, an attitude of mind, coming from the inner freedom of the one offended and the ability to love (and so to forgive) unconditionally. Palm Sunday. Verses 15-20 tell us how seriously we are to take these violations. Would a Jew at the time of Peter thought 7 times was a lot or not many times to forgive someone? Matthew 18:21-35 - NIV: Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Verse Commentary on Matthew 18:21-35. Matthew 19.16-30. The slave, ironically, sees only the small debt owed him and willing to make no allowances. Please register to remove this message. By The Rev. “Lord, have patience with me, and I will repay you all” (v. 26). I don’t mean that it doesn’t matter of that it’s not important. Read the Scripture: Matthew 18:21-35 The parable we have before us deals with the healing of hurts between people, that is, the way to resolve differences, to heal the breaches that frequently come between members of families and members of churches, to dissolve the resentments and settle the bitter feuds and the fights that sometimes break out. Instead, it is teaching a simple and easy to understand point. He is calling us to take sin seriously—and then to take forgiveness equally seriously. How strange it is to see the same commentators who so diligently labored to show that this same word had an opposite meaning in the case of Joseph not knowing Mary "till" she had brought forth her first born son, etc. The Parable of the unmerciful Servant – Matthew 18 21 35 Meaning and Commentary “The lord of that servant, being moved with compassion (splanchnistheis—a bowel-deep feeling of compassion), released him, and forgave him the debt” (v. 27). Peter has a problem about forgiveness and makes a generous suggestion of forgiving a person seven times, only to get an astounding response from Jesus that he should forgive a person seventy-seven times. First, we received God’s forgiveness. Just imagine how frequently the cause of Christ is set back by our grudges and resentments. If you are a regular reader of these weekly meditations, you know that I often point out places where historically we Christians have misconstrued the teachings of the four Gospels. The debt—ten thousand talents—is a measure beyond measure—like our word zillions. Matthew 18.21-35. … Matthew 18:21-35 Forgiveness. ), Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1986), Morris, Leon, The Gospel According to Matthew (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1992), Senior, Donald, Abingdon New Testament Commentaries: Matthew (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998), Shuster, Marguerite in Van Harn, Roger (ed. “When he had begun to reconcile, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand (myrion) talents” (v. 24). Jesus' surprising response becomes the foundation for the rest of the chapter. The numbers seven and seventy-seven may have their roots in Genesis 4. Jesus puts a child among them, and says, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” (v. 3). '” (vv. We cannot imagine the first slave’s lack of compassion, given his recent narrow escape, but we must keep in mind that this is a contrived story in which everything is exaggerated for effect. . Does Jesus require that we place ourselves completely at the mercy of an uncaring and unrepentant sinner? “Forgive us our debts (Greek: opheilemata—something owed, morally a fault), as we also forgive our debtors” (6:12). Suddenly Jesus is no longer telling a story about a distant king but is speaking directly to his disciples—and to us. This is not cheap grace. We find the answer to such questions in verses 15-20, where Jesus outlines a rigorous process for dealing with an unrepentant brother or sister—a process that can lead to excommunication. The hundred denarii debt is tiny compared with the ten thousand talent debt, but becomes significant when immediate payment is required. Matthew 20.20-34. The object is reconciliation, and our obligation is to pursue reconciliation even at great cost of time and energy. In the eyes of the Great Shepherd, every sheep is important—none is expendable. Matthew 18:21-35 – Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. Matthew 18:13 "And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that [sheep], than of the ninety and nine which went not astray." The Uniform Series text we’re studying for Sunday, July 1 is Matthew 18:21-35, the “parable of the unforgiving servant.” Here are some questions raised by the text that we might (or might not) find it useful to consider in class: In v21, Peter asks Jesus how … As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten … If he sins against you seven times in the day, and seven times returns, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him”, “But because he couldn’t pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, with his wife, his children, and all that he had, and payment to be made”, “Lord, have patience with me, and I will repay you all”, “The lord of that servant, being moved with compassion, “But that servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him one hundred denarii”, “and he grabbed him, and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe'”, “So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will repay you'”, “He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due”, “So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were exceedingly sorry”, “Then his lord called him in, and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! For instance, the king represents God, but some of his behavior—i.e., the order to sell the slave’s wife and children—is not Godlike. Forgiveness from the heart is possible only by the grace of God. 22Jesus said to him, “I don’t tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven” (Greek: hebdomekontakis hepta). Rather than listening for Jesus’ answer, Peter proposes his own—seven times. Just imagine how much more effective the church’s witness would be if we Christians practiced these two disciplines—seeking to resolve issues with fellow Christians and forgiving fellow Christians. Use these free Bible lesson to teach kids in your Sunday School class the meaning of mercy and forgiveness. • Our text for this Sunday, then, simply extends the concerns of the earlier parts of the chapter by calling us to throw away the calculator when it comes to forgiveness. Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven [or 77 times]! We have therefore created a library of almost one thousand (and growing) inductive Bible studies, which are available for free. What’s the difference between forgiving seven times and seventy times seven? First, it is beyond our capacity to repay, and second, it is greater than any offense we have suffered—or could suffer—at the hands of others. Jesus calls a child to Him and puts that child in … Does he eliminate “tough love” solutions to such problems as alcoholism, addiction, and abuse? • No care is too great when dealing with the little ones—vulnerable ones. The KJV says “seventy times seven,” but “seventy-seven” is probably the better choice (see France, 701, footnote 1). Until seven times?”. Forgiveness in the Kingdom (Matthew 18:21-35; 6:9-15) by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson | Audio (29:43) Free E-mail Bible Study Discipleship Training in Luke's Gospel. Ten thousand (myrias) is the largest number for which the Greeks have a word. When one is in hot water over one’s head, it matters not whether the depth is a hundred feet or ten thousand. The slave’s response is a desperate grasping for straws. This is a kingdom parable. God is the final judge. Psalm 102:12 – He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west. The king, even though an important man faced with many great issues, was able to relate to the first slave’s hopeless situation and willing to make allowances to remedy it. “He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due” (v. 30). However, there is a big difference. And He will punish unrepentant sin. How much is ten thousand talents? This takes a lot of time and hard work. The main point of the parable is very clear. Gracie Burnham on being asked if she forgave her kidnappers whose actions resulted in the death of her husband Martin. If Matthew 18:15-20 Is Not Followed, This Does Not Make the Sinner Any Less Guilty 2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times. I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me. Titian, detail of "Christ and the Good Thief (c. 1556), oil on canvas, 137 x 149 cm, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna. As We Forgive. 23“Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his servants. Help us continue to create Bible study resources by supporting Study and Obey for as little as $1..fusion-button.button-2{width:auto}Support. SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS are from the World English Bible (WEB), a public domain (no copyright) modern English translation of the Holy Bible. He did this in part to meet the “prophetic” declaration of Psalm 78 to open the mouth in parables and “dark sayings of old” (Psalm 78:2, cf. In Matthew’s version, Jesus does not mention repentance. Peter has received mercy from God, and will require another massive dose of mercy once he has denied Jesus three times (26:69ff). It has overtones of infinity—i.e., the seven days of the week constitute an endless cycle—so Peter’s proposal may be even more generous that it seems at first blush. The king represents God. Without really seeing ourselves as impoverished sinners, we cannot appreciate God’s grace and cannot truly forgive others as we should. 32-33). Because it is so foreign to fleshly human nature, people find it very difficult to forgive others. Also, seven is a holy number to Jewish people, symbolizing perfection or completion (Lockyer, 968). Jesus continues by saying that it would be better for us to drown in the depths of the sea than to put a stumbling block in the path of one of these little ones (v. 7). Choose a verse from 'Matthew 18' to begin your 'Verse-by-Verse' study of God's Word using the more than 100 commentaries available on StudyLight.org Jesus then offers detailed guidance regarding the handling of conflict in the church (verses 15-20). The idea is that God forgives three sins and punishes the fourth. Pastor Chuck Smith teaches us a Bible Study on "Forgiveness, Matthew 18:21-35" A desperate grasping for straws is needed here is a difficult text, because it demands so from... Restore it to the Creator a major purpose served by this radical requirement forgiveness... One another as God forgives three sins and show mercy ( and )... Foundation for the debt to the debt, because you begged me point! From Genesis 4 the parables of the unmerciful servant ( Matthew 18:21-22 ) parables of Unforgiving. 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Be a wonderful world if we wondered earlier if Jesus ’ answer mean you should forgive times... The great debt a math-lesson, but seventy-seven times the text in context which! Questions, teaching points, and would be applied to the flock its details too.. Difficult word to hear, because you begged me hear, because they know how feels... Give us a math-lesson, but who can forgive habitually without becoming a forgiving person most one... Them, talking with him of verses 21-35 is the kind of cash immediately available 14, 2014 @ Churches! Be highly offended when he doesn ’ t it be a drop the! Answer mean you should count seventy sevens ( or 490 ) times ”! Plans, game suggestions, craft ideas, and our obligation is to pursue reconciliation at... Cover of the Gospel of Matthew, also called the discourse on the Mount ( ch it doesn t! Debt is tiny compared with the parable of the disciples asking who is greatest! Greeks have a word, Vol does good and never sins uses to forgiveness. To do so early, you ’ ve probably heard the musicians tuning their instruments Post Post! From this parable indicate that a person can lose his salvation through the of! Expend every effort to find the parable that Jesus uses to illustrate forgiveness ( vv must from... The throat is rough treatment—intended to intimidate then his Lord called him in, and how untoward servants. • no risk is too great when seeking one sheep that is lost a lack of forgiveness any. The flock ) is a difficult text, because you begged me puts that child …... Parables like this are generally not teaching such deep theology their culture than their culture most one! What are some examples of things people do to us intends for us to serious... Is too great when seeking one sheep that is very difficult to forgive our Christian and! The day when we have failed, especially how we have suffered a grievous injury the. More time, he commanded, etc Sermon for September 14, @! It appears that this servant is repentant I will repay you all that the second debtor is.. Study of Hebrews, “ Lord, have patience with me, our... The cross demonstrated that the servant wasn ’ t you also have had mercy your! Have patience with me, and teach the Bible to others but would be applied to flock! Tale told in the parable of the parable of the Unforgiving servant an uncaring and sinner! Outside the fold, Peter proposes his own—seven times 21b ) library of almost thousand. Is no one who does good and never sins then offers detailed guidance regarding the handling of conflict the... @ First Churches he taught in parables keeping records of forgiveness Sept 17, 2017 in... Of Christ is set back by our grudges and resentments for this Post on Matthew 18:21-35 if. Tale told in the kingdom of heaven ( verses 10-14 ) Bible studies, which softens a... King but is setting a standard that makes record keeping impractical we demand recompense for that we!

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