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Nial Gafurov
Matthew 18:21-35
GCS Sermons 2016
1 hr 0 mins 11 secs
Views: 61

The last section of chapter 18 of the gospel of Matthew introduces us to the new topic in relationship between spiritual siblings. The main point of this section can be summarized by this statement, “as those who have been forgiven much by Christ, we are now in a similar manner are to forgive our brothers in Christ” .

Having just heard Christ give instruction on the process of restoring a sinning brother back into the fellowship of the church Peter understood this might demand forgiveness on the part of the offended brother. His concern was, how often does one need to extend this forgiveness. The common expectable norm among spiritual leaders of that time regarding this question was, up to three times. Jesus on the other hand showed Peter that true forgiveness has nothing to do with keeping track of the number of times one is willing to forgive. In fact, using Peter's proposed number Jesus showed him that forgiveness from the heart knows no limits.
To further illustrate His point, Christ in His typical fashion gives His disciples a parable about a monarch who summoned his subjects in order that he might settle accounts with them. A slave who has accumulated a debt of ten thousand talents was brought before the king. It was a debt which he had no means to repay. Having been brought to face the reality of his debt and his inability to make restitution the slave pleaded with his king for more time so that he can repay his debt. What happened next is beyond anything the slave could of expected. The king out of the goodness of his own will chose to forgive this slave entirely and completely.
The picture of our salvation is clearly implied in this parable. Just like this slave, we are all debtors before God. Having lived in His world and enjoying the benefits of His provisions for us for our daily lives we have failed to honor, to acknowledge, to worship and to thank Him. Yet despite the enormity of our debt, God chose to freely forgive us.
Having been forgiven and released from the burden of his debt one would expect the slave to show the same act of kindness to others as he himself was shown. Unfortunately, exactly the opposite happens. He goes and finds his fellow slave who owed him some money and demands that repayment be made. The amount that he was owed was insignificant in comparison with the amount that he himself was forgiven. And despite the plea for mercy from his fellow slave he found no room to forgive.
This parable concludes with the first slave having to stand in the presence of the king again. Only this time, the text says, "his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him". Our sin always brings about the displeasure and the discipline of God. When we fail to forgive our fellow brother in Christ for his sin against us, we fail to remember how much we ourselves have been forgiven. As a consequence both our relationship with God and our relationship with our brother are broken.
To help us cultivate a forgiving heart Jesus reminds us of the greatness of our salvation. He shows us the ugliness of the unforgiving spirit. And He warns us about the potential consequences of this sin.