Monday, March 26, 2007

Forgive! Forgive!

The parable of the harsh servant is a very humbling and challenging one. The servant himself owes his master ten thousand talents. Now that number basically means nothing to us except that we know it is a lot of talents. But how much is ten thousand talents? Was it an amount that could have been paid back in normal circumstances?

Well, King Herod had a yearly income of just nine hundred talents, and the average yearly income for Gallilee and 'the land beyond the Jordan' was just two hundred talents, so even a King and an actual country couldn't come close to raising the amount that this servant owed the master. Either here Jesus is using hyperbole to make His point, or we are to assume that this servant had acess to the Kings money for a long time. Anyway, the point is that the servant owed a debt to the King that he had no hope of ever paying back. I wonder what he actually spent it all on...anyway.

His master was going to sell him and his family to raise the money that he was owed, as he had very right to do, but the servant pleaded with him for mercy, and the master was merciful to him. He overlooked the great debt that the servant owed him. Isn't that a massive picture of the cross? The debt we owe to Jesus is incalulable, utterly insurmountable. We have no chance of ever paying Jesus off for what we owe Him. We will never be able to work our way into God's favour. He must have mercy on us is we are to have any hope. He must forgive the debt if we are to escape judgement. It's our only hope of rescue from God's wrath.

But the story doesn't end there. The forgiven servant then goes and finds someone who owes him one hundred denarii, a tiny amount given what he owed his master, and choked him and put him in jail until he could pay. The servant master then found out about this, and ended up throwing him in jail as well. Jesus says this is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like, this is how we will be treated if we do not forgive our brothers from the heart. This first servant had no been properly overwhelmed, had not properly understood the greatness of the mercy he had recieved.

Matthew 3:8 tells us to produce fruit in keeping with repentance, and forgiveness is clearly one of those. How can we be angry and hold grudges against people when we consider the great debt that we have been forgiven. How hypocritical of us if we, the forgiven, refuse to forgive. Do we think that we are bigger or somehow nobler than Christ if we don't forgive even though He has? Lets repent, lets forgive and enjoy being living stones of God's temple together.

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