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Caleb Ziegler
Caleb Ziegler... Son of the King.
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Forgive Your Brother
Matthew 18:18-35
Shared October 12th, 2021
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Main point summary
Main point summary
God has lavished compassionate forgiveness upon you. Therefore, forgive your brother from your heart lest God's compassion for you turn to wrath against you .
Matthew 18:21-35
Question on the heels of Jesus laying out his expectations for church discipline
Jesus contrasting with Lamech (Gen 4)
"settle accounts" ... probably similar to the man who entrusted talents to his servants (Matt 25) >> they were in charge of the accounts and responsible for making good use of/increasing their master's resources. Here, the king entrusts his slave with a massive account, and the slave fritters, or gambles, or steals it away. "Myriad" >> an exorbitant amount. Billions of dollars.
All that the slave does is fall down and beg his king for patience. That's all it takes to move the king's heart to extravagant compassion. He far exceeds his slave's request. He does not release him to give him an opportunity to repay the debt. He releases him and then forgives his debt . This is far more than patience. This is generous, extravagant, surprising grace. The heart of Christ ... Who in the world has the ability to simply, at an imploring word, shoulder the burden of billions of dollars of debt?
Violent from the get go.
The slave shed crocodile tears. His response to his fellow slave suggests that he knew the king's compassionate heart and sought to manipulate it with his pleading. What's the difference between a Christian pleading for mercy because he knows the merciful heart of God and trying to manipulate God's merciful heart?
A picture of church discipline following from the preceding passage?
The foolishness of the wicked slave: He has just received forgiveness for a 10,000 talent debt. His friend owes him pennies in comparison; he's not just wicked, he's foolish. Perhaps he truly cannot cover the $1500 that his friend owes him—he needs the money. Well, what's another $1500 to a man who can forgive billions?? Did he doubt the extravagance of the king's forgiveness? I can't go to him again and ask for more ... Christian forgiveness doesn't merely say, "I've received mercy, so I should extend mercy." It's not just that God's forgiveness obligates us to forgive others. No, in the gospel, Jesus lowers his strong, broad shoulders and makes them available to us. Christian, he took your burden, your full, heavy potato sack of sin, and he can take more, much more. He can take your spouse's debt that he owes you without you having to pretend like their debt is less than it is. No, his sarcasm really hurt, and he knew it would. She dishonored me in front of her friends with her criticism, and it was wrong. We can face the sin of others against us without flinching; we can face our own sin without flinching and only carry the burden long enough to allow Jesus to lift it off of our weak shoulders onto his broad shoulders. He is strong enough to carry it all, and wonder of wonders, he is willing to carry it all .
The slave gets one thing right. He knows the compassionate heart of the king. The world's response: There is no debt. The idea of debt is destructive to the human psyche . The forgiveness of Christ allows us to look at our own debt and the debt that others owe us and acknowledge exactly how much we owe. We know the king's heart. Yes, I owe an immeasurable debt. Yes, my guilt is great. Yes, I don't live up to my own standards, much less God's. Yes, I am wicked, a sinner, ugly in my sin. Guilty. Shamed. I cannot pretend that my debt doesn't exist, or even that it is much smaller than it is. And I don't need to pretend . Jesus was fully aware of the extent of my debt, the depth of my sin. He saw it all. All my blackness. All my ugliness. And he paid for my sin, took my guilt. Gave me glory instead of shame. Without payment, the burden of sin is devastating. The secular world is right. It can and does destroy people. They are weighed down with inestimable guilt and shame with nowhere to place it. O sinner, place your sin on the broad shoulders of Christ. He can carry it. It's why he came. If he carries your sin, you can acknowledge how much you owe without being crushed by your guilt and shame.
Isa 55; Ps 31 ... the sinner goes to God for forgiveness, hoping in his abundant mercy. He finds that his hope was not in a fairytale: God abundantly pardons him! And the next step is... Joy! An eternity-oriented joy, a God-centered joy. He has made me glad. A man found a treasure in a field and in his joy he sold everything he had and bought that field. The sinner who receives God's mercy rejoices because he has found everlasting happiness. Any slight, any cost, any suffering, any wrong that he suffers at the hand of his brother or sister pales in comparison to the joy of having Christ. And even more, if this Jesus bends to help and save and take the burdens from his sheep, then every slight, every cost, every suffering, every wrong that you or I suffer at the hands of another is an opportunity to know the strength and forgiveness and mercy and righteous kindness of Christ and to see it all at work on your behalf. It is an opportunity, in other words, to get more of Jesus. "Whatever gain I had I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." Phil 3:7–8 The heart that manipulates God's mercy cares not at all for Christ. It is a pragmatic heart that measures the gain that might be won through groveling. "If I can win my freedom from the debt I owe God, and then also recover what my brother owes me—get back what is rightfully mine: mine dignity, my money—I'll be sitting pretty both in this life and the next. And since the sinner who has received God's abundant pardon is oriented around God himself, he invites others into that same joy. He sees Jesus's strength at work on his behalf, and he delights to see it at work again and again as he forgives his neighbor and continually offloads the burden onto Christ, and then he rejoices even more because he sees Christ's strength at work on behalf of his brothers and sisters. Yes, they owe him some small debt. But each of them—all of us—carry around 10,000 talents. And once one of us has received God's abundant pardon through Jesus, our joy increases to see Jesus shoulder the great burdens of our neighbors. So we don't choke them. We say, "Come! Let me show you a man who told me all I ever did wrong and forgave my debt. He is wealthy enough and strong enough to forgive yours, too.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often y will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? z As many as seven times?”
Τότε προσελθὼν ⸂ αὐτῷ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν ⸃ · Κύριε, ποσάκις ἁμαρτήσει εἰς ἐμὲ ὁ ἀδελφός μου καὶ ἀφήσω αὐτῷ; ἕως ἑπτάκις;
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Οὐ λέγω σοι ἕως ἑπτάκις
ἀλλὰ ἕως ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά.
“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished a to settle accounts with his servants. 1
Διὰ τοῦτο ὡμοιώθη ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ἀνθρώπῳ βασιλεῖ ὃς ἠθέλησεν συνᾶραι λόγον μετὰ τῶν δούλων αὐτοῦ·
When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him b ten thousand c talents. 1
ἀρξαμένου δὲ αὐτοῦ συναίρειν ⸀ προσηνέχθη ⸂ αὐτῷ εἷς ⸃ ὀφειλέτης μυρίων ταλάντων.
d And since he could not pay,
μὴ ἔχοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἀποδοῦναι
his master ordered him e to be sold, with his wife and f children and all that he had, and payment to be made.
ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὸν ὁ ⸀ κύριος πραθῆναι καὶ τὴν ⸀ γυναῖκα καὶ τὰ τέκνα καὶ πάντα ὅσα ⸀ ἔχει καὶ ἀποδοθῆναι.
So the servant 1 g fell on his knees,
imploring him,
οὖν ὁ δοῦλος προσεκύνει αὐτῷ λέγων·
‘Have patience with me,
⸀ Μακροθύμησον ἐπ’ ⸀ ἐμοί,
and I will pay you everything.’
καὶ πάντα ⸂ ἀποδώσω σοι ⸃ .
And out of pity for him,
σπλαγχνισθεὶς δὲ ὁ κύριος τοῦ δούλου ἐκείνου
the master of that servant released him
ἀπέλυσεν αὐτόν,
and d forgave him the debt.
καὶ τὸ δάνειον ἀφῆκεν αὐτῷ.
But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred h denarii, 1
ἐξελθὼν δὲ ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος εὗρεν ἕνα τῶν συνδούλων αὐτοῦ ὃς ὤφειλεν αὐτῷ ἑκατὸν δηνάρια,
and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’
καὶ κρατήσας αὐτὸν ἔπνιγεν λέγων· ⸀ Ἀπόδος εἴ τι ὀφείλεις.
So his fellow servant fell down
and pleaded with him,
οὖν ὁ σύνδουλος ⸀ αὐτοῦ παρεκάλει αὐτὸν λέγων·
‘Have patience with me,
Μακροθύμησον ἐπ’ ⸀ ἐμοί,
and I will pay you.’
καὶ ἀποδώσω σοι.
He refused
ὁ δὲ οὐκ ἤθελεν,
and went and put him in prison
ἀλλὰ ἀπελθὼν ἔβαλεν αὐτὸν εἰς φυλακὴν
until he should pay the debt.
ἕως ⸀ οὗ ἀποδῷ τὸ ὀφειλόμενον.
When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed,
ἰδόντες ⸀ οὖν οἱ σύνδουλοι αὐτοῦ τὰ γενόμενα ἐλυπήθησαν σφόδρα,
and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.
καὶ ἐλθόντες διεσάφησαν τῷ κυρίῳ ἑαυτῶν πάντα τὰ γενόμενα.
Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.
τότε προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ λέγει αὐτῷ· Δοῦλε πονηρέ, πᾶσαν τὴν ὀφειλὴν ἐκείνην ἀφῆκά σοι, ἐπεὶ παρεκάλεσάς με·
i And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’
οὐκ ἔδει καὶ σὲ ἐλεῆσαι τὸν σύνδουλόν σου, ὡς κἀγὼ σὲ ἠλέησα;
j And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, 1
καὶ ὀργισθεὶς ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ παρέδωκεν αὐτὸν τοῖς βασανισταῖς
k until he should pay all his debt.
ἕως οὗ ἀποδῷ πᾶν τὸ ⸀ ὀφειλόμενον.
l So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you,
Οὕτως καὶ ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ ⸀ οὐράνιος ποιήσει ὑμῖν
if you do not forgive your brother m from your heart.”
ἐὰν μὴ ἀφῆτε ἕκαστος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν καρδιῶν ⸀ ὑμῶν.
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.