Faithlife
Faithlife

Debt Canceled by the Forgiving Father, yet Debt Demanded by the Forgiven Sinner

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Notes & Transcripts
  • Verse 21
    • I imagine that Peter came to Jesus thinking that he was being pretty generous to forgive up to seven times. (I mean that's seven more times than some people forgive!) But in reality, this was not a true spirit of generosity.
  • Verse 22
    • Here Jesus gives Peter a direct answer, and in verses 23-35 a more poetical answer.
    • Whether the number said here is mathematically 77 or 490, the point is the same. In a hyperbolic way, Jesus is saying that there is no limit to the amount of forgiveness we are to give to our fellow brothers and sisters, in light of the fact that God has forgiven us of an eternal debt owed to Him.
  • Verse 23
    • Jesus begins here a parable consisting mainly of a king and two of his servants.
  • Verses 24-27
    • The first servant owed the king a ton of money. Like millions of dollars. (Why this silly fool got into that kind of debt in the first place is beyond me, but he owes it for whatever reason.) The king comes to rightfully collect his money due to him, but the servant is unable to pay back what he owed. He reverently begs for forgiveness, even dropping to his knees and promising to pay later when he can (v. 26). In an act of pity and sheer compassion this king (who had every right to imprison and enslave this servant) cancels the immense debt owed to him (v. 27). WOW!! Think about if someone owed you a large sum of money - would you be so willing to just forget this debt owed to you?? Well, that's what this king did.
    • This king seems to figuratively represent God the Father. Each of us are sinners worthy of eternal punishment (an immense debt owed to God). Like this first servant here, we are unable to pay back this large debt. Though we may think we can pay it later, or over a whole life of good works, the reality is we can never even get close to what we owe God because all our best actions are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)! Our only hope for salvation from our impending judgment resulting from our debt, is the sheer compassion of the King. He alone can cancel the debt, we cannot. The good news is that if we seek Him in love, not merely for "fire insurance" from hell, and desire to do His will and treasure Him above all else, the Father will forgive us our immense debt. But even this we cannot do without Him, for all of us are like sheep gone astray (Isaiah 53:6) who are dead to the things of God and can do no good (Romans 3:10-18). So, God both draws us to Him and forgives our debt. What a Savior! Hallelujah!!
  • Verses 28-35
    • After having received immeasurable forgiveness of a debt so unending, what does this meager servant do?? He treats a fellow servant in the exact opposite way that he was just treated. What?? Why would he do that? In a word - sin. This servant still has sin. It's unbelievable that he would do this, but he does.
    • Now, before you go on thinking, "Well, if something like what happened to this servant happened to me, then I'd always treat other people nicely unlike him," hold on. Think about your own life. If you are Christian, you have been bought by the blood of Christ. The eternal debt you owed God because of your sin was paid in full by the matchless Savior, Jesus Christ. So, you have literally been forgiven even more than this servant!! Yet, what do you (and I) often do? We allow ourselves to get mad at somebody else and be unwilling to forgive them. Wow! How could we?? We've been forgiven an eternal amount of sin, yet we are unwilling to forgive someone of some little issue?? What sinners we still are!! If we truly act like this on a regular basis, especially without remorse, then God will treat us in this same way that we treat others (v. 35). He will not forgive us and we will suffer the eternal consequences of this...forever. That's right...forever. Think about it. God has forgiven our sins so that rather than forever being in torment and pain, we will forever be joyous in the presence of the Almighty God. Hallelujah!!! What a Savior!!! Praise the LORD!!!
    • Let us, then, forgive our fellow brothers and sisters in humility as a constant reminder of this great love God has demonstrated for us. For we can do no other if we truly understand the Gospel...
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