Sunday, May 8, 2016

The parable of the debtor of the ten thousand talents

I had an argument with somebody recently. It was not the first time that this had happened and I was wondering: “Come on. It can not be that the same behavior comes up every time I meet this person. It simply cannot be.” I was rather upset and in my morning study I told God: “this happens repeatedly. I can’t bear with it”. Then surprisingly the following answer came back to my mind: “you repeatedly do the same sins again and again and I forgive you”. Of course, I “shut up” immediately. It didn’t take long to bring into my mind the same sins repeated again and again through the years and the times I went to God, not with tears, not with much heaviness but with a simple sorry like nothing had happened, requesting that He forgives me because …. He had to! You know, we were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). If you are hurt when your brother sins against you, God is also hurt when you sin to Him (and/or your brother). It does not matter whether your behavior affects anybody or not. Regardless of whether or not the sin is against another human being, it always hurt God. And He forgives. Continuously! Non stop! Later the same day, thinking of this incidence that happened in the morning God brought to my mind the parable of the debtor of the ten thousand talents. Before we go to this parable though, let’s look at its context. In Matthew 18:15-22 we are reading:
Matthew 18:15-22 
"[The Lord is speaking] Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. "But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that `by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' "And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
The verse that follows the Lord’s reply to Peter is the parable of the debtor of the ten thousand talents. But as we see the context is forgiveness. Jesus explained what must be done when a brother sins against us. Then Peter comes with the question of the number of times he must forgive his brother. He must have thought of it like this - like probably the way me and many of us think -: “OK Lord… if this brother sins against me I can forgive him the first time, even the second and the third time…. I must give him more chances. But after some times, it is enough! I mean I gave him many opportunities but he continuously repeats the same error. I cannot bear with this any longer. I already gave him enough opportunities to change”. For Peter, 7 times would be enough. If the same error was repeated after seven times, then he would probably not give to his brother another chance. He had enough. Imagine God following the same principle with us! Imagine that He had a certain limit where He would say: “OK little fellow… I had enough with you. I can’t bear with you and your character any longer. I gave you enough chances and this was your last. Finished!” But fortunately that’s not what God does! God is a forgiving God. There is only one sin that cannot be forgiven, the unpardonable sin, but there is no other sin and no limit of times that a sin can be forgiven. In I John 1:8-10, 2:1-2 the Word says:
I John 1:8-10, 2:1-2
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
The Word says these things that we may not sin. But if we sin and confess our sins to God, He is faithful and just to forgive us! In Him there is unlimited forgiveness! It is not “up to 7 times and then finished!”. It is not “I can’t bear with you any longer due to it!”. It is not “I had enough with you and your sins!”. In God there is endless forgiveness. I believe this is one of the most wonderful news in the Christian faith! That’s why the Lord turning to Peter told him “"I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”, meaning “there is no limit Peter. As the Father forgives you so also you must forgive your brother.” As there is unlimited forgiveness from our Father to our sins, so also there must be unlimited forgiveness to the sins of our brothers towards us. When you think that “you had enough with it and you cannot forgive any longer your brother” please think of the thousands of times God has forgiven you and will be forgiving you. I believe you will change your mind.

The parable of the debtor of the ten thousands talents

It was in this context of unlimited forgiveness towards one another that the Lord spoke the parable of the debtor of the ten thousand talents. This parable follows immediately after the conversation with Peter and is given in verses 23-35 of Matthew 18:
Matthew 18:23-35
Therefore [this word links the parable directly to what the Lord had just said about forgiveness] the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. "And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. "But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. "The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, `Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' "Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. "But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, `Pay me what you owe!' "So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' "And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. "So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. "Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. `Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' "And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
The word “therefore” that opens the parable links it to what the Lord said in verses 15-22 about forgiveness. God brought to my mind this parable giving me also the following explanation: The king is God, the owner of the ten thousands talents is me, the debtor that owns me the 100 denarii is my brother that has sinned against me, the talents are a measure of sin. My sins towards God are like millions. Many, day after day, and many times the same again and again. I go to God for forgiveness and He does forgive me. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me from all my sins. God has deleted all my old debts and deletes any new one so that I can day after day live “debt-free”!! But now this fellow, my brother, comes and sins against me. And instead of thinking “I’m a debtor to God also. He forgives me and my debt every day. The same I will also do to my brother”, I say “No. I cannot accept your debts towards me. I had enough. I’m not going to forgive this. Put this brother to the prison. Throw him out. I don’t want to know him any longer (or more subtle like “I will keep my distances from him”)”. When we behave like this, we have forgotten from what God has forgiven us! And not only that but by doing “judgment” to our brother we also call the judgment of God in our lives. See what the Lord said:
Matthew 18:32-35
"Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. `Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' "And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.
When instead of forgiving your brother you act as a judge, passing judgment and punishment to him, then you invite the judgment and punishment of God to your life and your sins! Jesus is very clear: “So my heavenly Father also will do to you”! What Jesus is saying is “be careful. If you act as a judge for the sins of your brother toward you, expect God to start acting as a JUDGE and start passing judgment on your sins too. Instead of forgiveness of the “debt”, expect punishment! Instead of “debt-free” life you may be “thrown into prison”. You may not like this, but that’s how it is!

Forgiveness: Other references

Here are some other references especially for those of us that have taken God’s forgiveness as granted and find it hard to forgive others:
Matthew 6:12-15 
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Mark 11:25-26
"And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Luke 6:36-37
"Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. "Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
What about if God stopped forgiving you? Terrible eh! What about if God started passing judgment for your sins? Awful! Well, that’s what is going to happen when we do not forgive others but we harbor in our hearts sins and hurts they may have given us, denying the gift of forgiveness to them. If we don’t forgive we will not be forgiven. If we pass judgment then we may find God passing judgment on our sins too! Who wants this? Certainly not me!
Ephesians 4:32
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
Also Colossians 3:13
“bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
If you are looking for a measure of forgiveness, well here it is for you: “just as God in Christ forgave you”, “even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do”.


Forgiveness is not an option. It is a MUST. Sin is a reality and as others sin against us so also we sin against others and against God. Whenever you find it hard to forgive, whenever you come across to same behaviors and sins that are repeated, think of the forgiveness of God. Think of how many times, He has forgiven you and will keep forgiving you. We are all of us debtors of ten thousand talents and what is owed to us is just a few cents. Let them go!

               Please check out Anastasios's book 
               "The Warnings of the New Testament". 
               Purchase at Kindle and Amazon or 
               download for FREE at:

No comments:

Post a Comment