Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom

D. Christ As Israel's Messiah Seen In His Discipling Of His Followers, Matthew 6:13-20:34

3. Christ's Messianic Identity Seen In His Teaching On Living The Cross Before The Crown

d. Christ's Instruction On Humbly Addressing A Brother's Repentance

(Matthew 18:21-35)


I.                 Introduction

A.    The pride of life is one of the characteristics of worldliness (1 John 2:15-16), and the great men in this world typically dominate their subordinates and view them as of lesser value than themselves, Luke 22:24-25.

B.     However, this is not God's way for the believer to function, for those in God's cross-before-the-crown lifestyle (Matthew 16:24) are to relate in humility toward others, especially in addressing a brother's repentance!

C.     This truth is taught in Matthew 18:21-35, directing us on the cross-before-the-crown behavior (as follows):

II.              Christ's Instruction On Humbly Addressing A Brother's Repentance, Matthew 18:21-35.

A.    After Jesus had taught how to handle sin in a fellow believer (Matthew 18:15-20), Peter asked how often he should forgive his brother if he sins against him, if he should do so seven times, Matthew 18:21.  "The rabbis said to forgive 3 times, so Peter thought he was being exceptionally worthy by suggesting 7 times" claims the Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Matthew 18:21.

B.     Jesus replied that seven times was not the limit, but seventy times seven, Matthew 18:22.  By this statement, He did not intend to limit one's capacity to forgive to 490 times, but implied that we should abundantly forgive with no consideration as to the limit of the times involved, Bible Knowledge Com., New Testament, p. 62.

C.     To explain His statement, Jesus gave a parable in Matthew 18:23-34 (as follows):

1.      Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven was like unto a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants, and in the process, one servant was brought before him who owed him ten thousand talents, Matthew 18:23-24.  A talent weighed between 58 and 80 pounds (Ibid.), so 10,000 talents of gold with gold valued at roughly $1,300 an ounce today meant this servant owed his master between $1,200,000 and $1,664,000!

2.      When it was learned that the servant did not have the means to pay this debt, the king initially ordered that he, his wife, his children and all his possessions be sold and payment be made to end the debt, Matt. 18:25.

3.      Distraught, the servant fell to his knees, imploring the king to be patient with him, promising to pay the debt, Matthew 18:26.  The king felt pity for the servant, and fully forgave him his debt, Matthew 18:27.

4.      However, that same servant went out and found one of the king's other servants who had owed him 100 denarii, or 100 days worth of wages of a day laborer, or roughly $25,000 today, Matthew 18:28a.  He grabbed and began to choke this fellow servant, saying, "Pay me that thou owest," Matthew 18:28b KJV!

5.      That servant fell down and pleaded with him as the first servant had to the king, asking for patience until he repaid him, but to no avail!  The first servant put him in prison until he paid the debt, Matt. 18:29-30.

6.      The other servants of the king were upset at what had happened, so they reported to the king what this first servant had done to the imprisoned servant, Matthew 18:31.

7.      Upon hearing about it, the king summoned the first servant and said to him, "O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desirest me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?" (Matthew 18:32-33 KJV)

8.      Incensed, the king delivered this first servant to the tormenters until he had paid all he owed, Matt. 18:34.

D.    Jesus then applied this parable to His disciples: He said the Father would also punish them if they did not from the heart show compassion on so as to forgive every one who had sinned against him, Matt. 18:35.

E.     Accordingly, the lesson in this parable is that each of us who trust in Christ has been forgiven far more than what wrongs others might commit against us.  Since God has compassionately forgiven us, when anyone repents of his sin against us, regardless how many times he has sinned and/or how great are the sins involved, God calls us to forgive him as our obligation before God in view of God's infinite grace unto us!


Lesson: Jesus taught that since God has forgiven us vastly greater in degree and extent than we will ever have to forgive another who wrongs us, God expects us to have no limits on our willingness compassionately to forgive any and all wrongs committed against us by others who [understandably] repent. (cf. Luke 17:3)


Application: (1) May we appreciate the infinite grace of God in having forgiven us in Christ.  (2) May we always recall that fact so that we freely and abundantly forgive all wrongs done unto us by others when they repent!