Daily Reading: Matthew 18:21-22
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?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
The point is that in many ancient cultures, Hebrew included, the number seven often signifies completeness and/or perfection. Forgive them completely (70×7) because the point is to forgive them to the degree you have been forgiven, completely. Forgiven much, forgive much.
Jesus uses a parable to take Peter to the forgiveness God will offer so that He will understand how he will be enabled to forgive those who do wrong against him (Ephesians 4:32).
God the Merciful King felt such compassion towards humanity that He moved quickly (sent His Son) and made a way to cancel out all our debt (Matthew 18:27). So, we have a clear picture of the kindness of the King but then we see the response of the One was extended mercy.
- He owed the king 10,000 bags of gold and was forgiven his great debt
- He chokes & imprisons the man who owes him a little (100 silver coins)
How did the Merciful King respond to this man’s action?
“In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
This is not talking to believers here that God is not going to throw you in hell for not perfectly and completely forgiving someone.
This is what this parable means:
- Jesus makes it plain that forgiveness begins with the Lord. Each of us had a debt we could not pay and God, in his mercy, paid the debt on our behalf.
- There are only two possible responses to God’s generosity.
- One response is to say, thank you Jesus! What amazing grace! I will be forever grateful and I will tell others what you have done so they might be forgiven their sin debt as well.
- The other response is that of the servant in the story. It is to remain unrepentant and unchanged by the goodness of God, to deny the grace of God as some unbelievers will do.
- To ignore the mercy and goodness of the king now, is to risk the king’s wrath later.