This message was part of the ‘For Such a Time as This’ series, preached at Christ Church Manchester’s church in Gorton in late 2017. The full series included the following sermons:
This sermon was based on Matthew 18:21-35.
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
21Then 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?” 22Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23″Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25And 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. 26So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28But 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.’ 29So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31When 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. 32Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
Peter asks how many times he should forgive. Jesus tells a story to teach that we must forgive – because we ourselves have been forgiven so much.
- Peter clearly had a problem with forgiveness – and Jesus’ response – stop counting – isn’t the answer he is looking for.
- Forgiving people can be hard. Our emotional response to a person/situation is a sign that all is not forgiven and forgotten.
- The man cannot repay his debts, begs for more time to pay, but the king cancels his debt.
- But the same man then doesn’t show the same generosity to a man who owes him a fairly small amount.
- The king calls the man back and punishes him for his unkindness.
- Jesus then adds one last sentence which suddenly relates this story to each one of his hearers.
- Forgiveness is not optional. Jesus says so. Psychologists tell us. Our bodies tell us. If God is reminding you about some situation where you need to forgive then do it. Resolve right now – and do it before the day ends. Remember how Jesus ended his story …