Title: Instruction concerning forgiveness part 2
Scriptures to Read: Matthew 18:21-35
Now at that point Peter raises a question about forgiveness. Supposing my brother continues to sin against me, how many times should I forgive him? Peter is actually being generous in terms of the rules of that day, because in Pharisaic Judaism you are obligated to forgive someone three times. But you are not required to forgive him after that. Here Peter is offering forgiveness double what the Pharisees offer plus one extra time. Now Jesus says, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” If you take this very literally you can say you have to forgive 490 times. But seven is the number of completeness and you are to forgive as often as they seek forgiveness with no counting of numbers. The act of counting shows only external forgiveness and not internal forgiveness from the heart. Interestingly there is another place in Scripture where seventy sevens are mentioned. Do you remember where it is? Daniel 9:24-27. There Daniel was told there would be seventy sevens of years that would extend until the end of the Age of the Gentiles and the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom. So, if Jesus statement is a reminder of these things, how long do you forgive? Longer than your life time, until the end of the age, forgive perpetually!
Then Jesus tells a parable to illustrate forgiveness. The servant of the king is forgiven a debt of 10,000 talents by the king, and then refuses to forgive another servant a debt of 100 denarii. Now a talent was equivalent to 3,000 shekels or 6,000 days’ wages and a denarius was one day’s wages. So the first servant was forgiven a debt that was 600,000 times greater than the one he was unwilling to forgive.
1 talent= 3,000 shekels
1 shekel= 2 days’ wages
1 denarius= 1 day’s wages
1 talent= 6,000 denarii
Lessons to be learned
What are lessons we should learn from this parable? There are three:
1. Firstly, we ourselves have been forgiven a greater debt by God. So we should be willing to forgive our sinning brother.
2. Secondly, we should imitate the forgiving Father.
3. Thirdly, an unforgiving person cannot expect that he will be forgiven himself.
This is not salvation forgiveness because salvation forgiveness has only one requirement: to believe. This is family forgiveness. When we sin the fellowship within the family is broken. Our fellowship with God and with other believers is broken. When we are forgiven the fellowship is restored. The means of receiving forgiveness for believers who sin is found in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” For that reason, we confess our sins. However, if we don’t have a forgiving attitude towards our sinning brother we shouldn’t anticipate receiving family forgiveness ourselves. While we cannot extend forgiveness to someone until they seek it, our attitude towards him must always be to forgive him no matter what.