Matthew 18: The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

Peter Barnes: Matthew 18:21-35

(29 October 2017)


– Corrie  ten  Boom  at  a  church  service  in  Munich  met  a  former  S.S.  man  from  Ravensbruck.  Here  are  Corrie’s  words:

Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of             them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness. As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.

  1. God forgives  His  people  an  infinite  debt.

– 18:21.  Note  Matt.5:7;  6:12, 14-15.  Jesus  replies  –  18:22  (NIV  &  ESV  have  77  times;  NKJV  has  seventy  times  seven).  The  Christian  should  be  totally  unlike  boastful,  vengeful  Lamech  –  Gen.4:24.

– 18:23-24.  Ten  thousand  talents  is  so  ridiculous  that  we  might  translate  it  as  ‘zillions’.  We  owe  a  debt  to  God  that  we  cannot  pay  –  Ps.49:7-9.

– 18:25-26, 27.  Refuse  Calvary  and  you  pay  the  debt  yourself.

  1. Being forgiving  is  a  necessary  sign  of  being  forgiven.

– 18:28-30.  C.  S.  Lewis:  ‘Everyone  says  forgiveness  is  a  lovely  idea,  until  they  have  something  to  forgive.’  Grace  is  amazing;  so  is  hardness.

  1. Forgiveness scorned  means  justice.

– 18:31-35.  The  Bible  speaks  of  free  grace  –  Eph.1:3-8;  2:1, 3, 4, 7.  But  that  has  to  be  worked  out  in  our  lives  –  Eph.4:32.

Robert  Murray  M’Cheyne:

Then,  Lord,  shall  I  fully  know,

Not  till  then,  how  much  I  owe.