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The Parable of The Unmerciful Servant Made Simple

(Matthew 18:21-35)

I will deal with this parable line by line, sentence by sentence, verse by verse until you realize what it means. But essentially, it’s a parable that we’ve heard many times if we’ve been in church. It is about a man who owed a lot of money to his master but he was forgiven that debt. The master had compassion on him. However, this man, when he found a fellow servant who owed him money, he threw that person to jail for not paying the debt. Then the master from whom he owed a lot of money found out about it and said, “You’re a bit of a jerk. I forgave you and now you didn’t forgive that person his debt. I’ll throw you into jail.” So we’ll go through it and we’ll see what insight the Holy Spirit gave me to share with you.

Matthew 18 says 21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

So, folks, does that mean we’re to forgive someone 490 times and then we don’t forgive them anymore? Jesus was using the number seven twice with the number ten. Ten is an important number to God, the parable of the ten virgins, the ten talents and the ten minas. We structure so many things in our society around the number ten.

Jesus was using seven times ten, seventy; and a seven it was a divine number. And so, 490 let me assure you is just a symbol of a number were to forgive a person ad nauseam, were to forgive a person into eternity.

And that’s what He used in this parable 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.

Ten thousand talents was a tremendous amount of money. Wikipedia says that one talent could pay a man for 6000 days and so ten thousand talents is a huge debt. So huge that the master commanded that the man’s wife and children were to be sold

In a former parable, I shared about a father who sold his child as a slave three times. Once he had money, he would redeem the child back and then sell him again. In this parable, the master commanded that the servant sell his wife, children and all that he has. So a portion of the payment of the ten thousand talents would be paid back.

Verse 26 says that the servant therefore fell down before him saying, “Master have patience with me I’ll pay you all.” Then the master that servant was moved with compassion, released him and forgave him all his debt.

Now, let’s get the full weight of this. God can require that your wife, your children, everyone you love and everything you own be sent to hell. He can just require all that of. He can send all of them to hell, that’s His choice. Okay, in this parable, Jesus shared something as a deeper truth. So, let’s be very clear about this. The fact that you’re saved is just simply the grace of God, it’s nothing you’ve done.

An example of this is if someone bought me a lotto ticket and won a million dollars. I don’t think I could give Heidi Baker or Andrew Wommack a million dollars; neither could I pay back the debt that I owe God for saving me. A million dollars would not even come close to the payment that it would require to pay God back for my personal salvation. Would you consider a million dollars to pay God back for yours?

To be forgiven by Jesus Christ, to be in fellowship with Him and to walk in His presence is worth far more to me than the riches in the world. This is why we have the master in the parable forgiving a man the wages of sixty thousands days work.

You will notice in this parable that the servant said, “Have patience with me, I will repay you.”

This parable seems to hint at the fact that there is work involved in the Christian life. I am sure Jesus was not saying that we can repay Him for salvation and forgiveness, but there is work for us to do, nonetheless.

The Parable continues:

28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet] and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

If a talent was 6000 days wages, and so ten thousand talents was sixty thousand days work; in the parable of the vineyard, we find out that a denarii was one day’s wages. So this man who was forgiven of a debt worth sixty thousands days work went and harassed a person who owes a hundred days work worth of debt.

Jesus was speaking to us clear and simple. He was saying that we need to forgive all the people that wrong us. We have been forgiven and we will continue to be forgiven for thousands of wrongs that we have done by God.

Yesterday I went on a Christian chat site and the people sort of ganged up on me and attacked me because of something that I said. It made me very angry and part of me wished I could jump through the computer and hit people on the other side of the internet. I told my roommate Stephen about it and he laughed. Still today, I am upset about it and had a thought a while ago about going online and having another argument. This is the sort of debt we need to forgive. I may come across as the nicest guy ever when all is said and edited, but underneath I am human like everyone else.

There are so many illnesses, sicknesses and demonic oppressions that come from not forgiving others. We all suffer when we don’t forgive. There exists a sort of emotional and spiritual torture that we put ourselves through when we hold bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts. I feel that this anguish is what Jesus is referring to with the torturers.

Sometimes we feel that we have a right to punish people and make them pay for hurting us. Jesus is telling us that we have been forgiven for so much more than anything anyone else can do to us, and it is our duty as a believer in Him to forgive.

I know it does not seem the easiest path sometimes, but it’s the best way, or Jesus would not have shared this parable with us



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