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Matthew 18:21-35; Colossians 3:13

Matthew 18:21-35; Colossians 3:13


Scene #1: God the King-Judge and human being the helpless debtor (verses 23-24)

1. Jesus teaches how God forgave the believers from their humanly-unpayable debts (18:21-27)

(a) Human being deserved to be punished eternally because their debts were humanly unpayable (ten thousand talents) (verse 25)

(a1) He had broken the trust of his Master by causing a huge debt/loss—the amount of money is an evidence for the Master’s trust
(a2) He hurt (caused pain to) his Master (hurt is painful; in certain cases, it is like death)—“the Master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt”

(b) What are some of the natural responses in such situations?

(b1) Anger, sense of retaliation, and desire to hurt back
(b2) A desire to use the hurt as a weapon to punish whenever opportunity comes
(b3) Hurt affects intimacy, creates distance, and breaks the trust

(c) Contrary to natural responses to such situations, God’s response was grace of forgiveness (verses 26-27)—man became debt free

Scene #2: The forgiven servant and his debtor

2. As a recipients of God’s immeasurable grace of forgiveness, Jesus expects the believers to forgive (drop the charges) their debtors (18:28-30)

(a) The forgiven servant did not extend to his debtor the grace that he received from God (He grabbed his debtor and began to choke him for a hundred denarii verse 28)

(b) Instead of grace, he dispenses ruthlessness (verses 29-30)

Scene #3: The master and the unmerciful servant (verses 31-35)

3. Jesus uses this story to encourage forgiveness among His people (verse 35)

(a) God disapproves the unmerciful servant’s behavior

(a1) God’s mercy is not cheap, but it requires appropriate reciprocation

(b) Those who behave like the “unmerciful servant” have not truly understood God and His outreach to helpless human being

(c) And they are not shaped by the Gospel

4. The theme “forgiveness” is emphasized in many places in the Gospel. For example,

(a) Matthew 6:12 “Forgive our debts just as we also have forgiven our debtors”
(b) Mark 11:25 “when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins”

5. Take Away

Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13)

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at