This parable serves to further build upon the meaning of Jesus’ statement about forgiveness to Peter. It is meant to teach us more about the nature of forgiveness. The amount of money that is owed to the king by the servant in this parable is not realistic. A talent was the largest monetary unit in society, equal to 6,000 drachmas, which would have been the wages of a manual laborer for fifteen years. Jesus says that the man owes 10,000 talents. This is an inordinate amount of money. Scholars estimate that this is more money than the taxes of Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, and Samaria. The point is simple, the debt is unpayable. Even throwing him into prison to work off the debt would take more than a lifetime. The servant’s situation is hopeless. He pleads for mercy, and against all odds, the king responds with forgiveness.
For many years of my life, I was able to recognize that I was imperfect. That much was clear. My solution was to try to earn my way into right standing with God. I tried to be perfect, and as a result, I lived with a constant level of anxiety in my life. I will never forget the day I came to terms with my own brokenness. It was at that moment that I recognized I could never earn it on my own and my desperate need for God. Accepting the forgiveness and reconciliation that God offers became the easiest choice I had ever made.