Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 17, 2017
Forgiving Our Debt with His Payment
In the name of the Father and of the ☩ Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
At the heart of this parable is the difference between justice and mercy. Justice is getting exactly what you deserve; mercy is getting the opposite of what you deserve. The servant stands before the king and which one does he ask for? Does he ask for mercy or justice?
24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26The servant fell on his knees before him. He begged, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay back everything.’
MATTHEW 18:24-26 NIV
This servant shows that he didn’t believe that he needed to be forgiven because he didn’t ask for forgiveness. He asked for patience. He thinks that the king has simply done him a favor that he might have done on his own, if only he were given enough time. So he is not repentant. He doesn't really think that the king has forgiven him, because he doesn't think he really had something wrong with him. He probably would have said that the king was a nice guy, but his freedom and his righteousness were his own, and that he would have gotten free eventually on his own.
This is a warning to us. By faith we will be generous and merciful to other people, but that we also see our place in God's kingdom: we are beggars. We cannot dig ourselves out of this hole. We sins are too much for us. We were dead in our trespasses and sins. So we need His mercy, not more time to dig ourselves deeper into debt.
In short, we need Jesus. We need Him to forgive our debt, our trespasses, our sin. It is too much for us, but Jesus has forgiven it all.
27The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
MATTHEW 18:27 NIV
So, dear beggars and now also servants of the true everlasting King, Christ hasn’t give you justice, but mercy. He has given you the opposite of what you deserve: instead of prison, He has given you a place in His kingdom.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,
and to give His life as a ransom for many.