June 7: An Unnatural Act: Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35)
This Sunday Brandon Jordan will continue a series on theology in the youth room at 9:00am addressing the the word of God. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project on the topic of being united with Christ.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (ESV)
We’re finishing a series on life in the kingdom where Jesus instructs his disciples on how to relate to one another in his kingdom until his return. The relational dynamic of this kingdom is seen in humility, a care to live in a way that does not lead others astray, a willingness to seek the straggler and even speak a word of admonishment so that the wanderer might rejoin the community. The last word Jesus gives in this discourse is the key ingredient for the community: the command to extend personal forgiveness to our fellow saints who sin against us. What do we do when we sin against each other? How do we handle those personal grievances that we commit against another (often repeatedly)? Jesus calls us to forgive. Jesus speaks to the profound nature and power of forgiveness to offer hope for those who live in God's kingdom. A community of the forgiven ought to be a forgiving community.
Review and Apply
- What prompts Peter to ask how many times to forgive?
- What does the parable imply regarding Peter's understanding of forgiveness?
- How would you describe biblical forgiveness?
- How does Luke 17:1-3 help us understand Jesus' call to unlimited forgiveness?
- How would a more frequent consideration of our sins against God and the mercy he offered to you in Jesus change our attitude toward those who sin against us?
- How do you reconcile the unfathomable forgiveness of God and his ruthless judgment on those who do not believe?
- What relationship do you have that has grown cold due to unforginvess?
- What does your desire to offer forgiveness indicate about your enjoyment of God's forgiveness?