July 12, 2023

JD Wilhelm
"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."
Matthew 18:28-35

The debt of the fellow servant is microscopic compared to what the first servant had been forgiven of. I attempted to do the math, and by comparison, this servant owed 1/600,000 of the amount owed by the first if taken literally, but the figures are intended to represent an infinite contrast. This is not to say the amount is insignificant, as a hundred denarii represented 100 days of work for an ordinary day laborer. This is no small sum. The contrast between the way the first servant is treated by the king and how this man is treating his fellow servant is meant to be outrageous! The servant does not reciprocate the forgiveness shown to him by the king.

The contrast is meant to elucidate the meaning of the parable. When we begin to understand the depth of our sin and the forgiveness offered to us by God, we in turn demonstrate the same kind of forgiveness to others in our life. Jesus here paints a picture of what imitation of the character of God is to look like. The only prerequisite is that we understand the depth of our own brokenness. In light of this, we begin to understand the depth of forgiveness offered to us in Christ Jesus. Praise be to God that He offers us opportunities to participate in His mission by offering the same kind of forgiveness in our relationship with others.