Forgiven 10,000 talents

These are my notes on a sermon on Matthew 18:21-35  by Christopher Ash (length 33:49). I’ve blogged before on the parable of the unmerciful servant.

An etching by Jan Luyken illustrating Matthew ...
The ungrateful servant (via Wikipedia)

Regarding the money owed:

  • The first servant owed the king 10,000 talents, an astronomical sum greater than the money in circulation in Palestine in Jesus’ day;
  • The second servant owed 100 denarii, which wasn’t a trivial debt. It amounted to somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of a year’s salary for the average worker.

At the end of the parable, far from distancing God from the king, Jesus identifies God with the king. You and I would’ve probably not done that.

What to do with this parable?

A wrong way to approach the parable is to say, “You MUST forgive, or else you won’t be forgiven.” Truth is, we may be so scarred by the sins committed against us that we don’t have the moral strength to forgive.

The logic of the parable is this: however deeply we may be victims, in the sight of God we are offenders thousands of times more. No one can offend us as much as we’ve offended God.

Our problem isn’t an inability to conjure up a 100-denarii forgiveness; it is that we don’t believe we’ve been forgiven 10,000 talents. Only when we grasp that shall the gates of forgiveness be unlocked towards those who’ve sinned against us.

Thank you Lord, for the great debt you paid for us. May the implications of this forgiveness be evident in the lives of your church.