Matthew 18:21 - 19:2

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

JESUS’ INSTRUCTION

CONCERNING FORGIVENESS

INTRODUCTION:

 

We are in the process of looking at Jesus’ teaching on the meaning and greatness of forgiveness (18:1-35).

 

It includes Jesus’ instruction concerning humility (18:1-6), His instruction concerning offenses (18:7-14), and His instruction concerning the discipline of offenders (18:15-20). In this message we continue with His instruction concerning forgiveness (18:21-35). We also look at the concluding statement in this section in 19:1-2.

We see –

    I.     PETER’S QUESTION – 18:21

 

Matthew 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

 

Then came Peter to him, where him is Jesus, may instead be understood in the sense of thereupon, after Peter came to (or approached) Jesus.

 

Inasmuch as what Peter said introduces a question, and said is understood in the sense of and asked.

 

He addresses Jesus as Lord by which he demonstrated his belief that Jesus is God the Son, the Messiah; and he also demonstrated his submission to Jesus.

 

How oft shall my brother sin against me? is how many times (or how often) shall my brother sin against me? A brother may be a sibling, a fellow believer, or a neighbor.

 

And I forgive him is and I shall forgive him.

 

He knew that he was supposed to forgive someone who sinned against him, but he underestimated the number of times as till seven times indicates. He likely thought he was being magnanimous in forgiving someone seven times.

 

It is to the point of seven times and suggests the upper limit of how often he was required to forgive a brother.

 

It suggests that Peter’s thinking was that, beginning with the eighth time, he would no longer need to forgive his brother.

We also see –

  II.     JESUS’ ANSWER – 18:22

 

Matthew 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

 

Jesus saith unto him suggests, Jesus answered him (i.e. Peter).

 

I say not unto thee, Until seven times is I am not saying to you (Peter) (or I am not telling you) up to (or as many as) seven times.

 

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to until seven times.

 

Until seventy times seven is up to the point of (i.e. up to or as many as) seventy times seven.

 

So, does it mean that a believer should keep a list of how many times someone offends him and with the four hundred ninety-first time no longer be required to forgive this person?

 

No, Jesus means that someone should forgive his brother every time he sins, without any limitations.

 

Ephesians 4:32 is pertinent,

 

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Next, we see that –

 III.     JESUS COMPARES THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN TO A KING WHO WANTED TO SETTLE ACCOUNTS WITH HIS SERVANTS – 18:23

 

Matthew 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

 

Therefore is because of this and refers to Jesus telling Peter to forgive not just up to seven times but up to seventy times seven times, which implies an unlimited number of times.

 

The kingdom of heaven is likened unto suggests the kingdom of heaven is similar to, is like, or may be compared to.

 

A certain king is literally a man, a king.

 

Which would take account of his servants further describes this king and means who wished to settle accounts with his slaves, some of whom owed him money.

 

It was in the king’s best interest to keep track of what he was owed and have it repaid.

 

Take account of is a commercial technical term meaning in settlement of an account.

In addition, we see that –

 IV.     THE KING DISCOVERED ONE SERVANT WHO OWED HIM AN ENORMOUS DEBT – 18:24

 

Matthew 18:24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

 

And when he had begun to reckon suggests and after he had begun to settle (accounts).

 

One was brought to him, which owed him ten thousand talents is one debtor of ten thousand talents was brought to him.

 

Although the value of a talent varied from place to place and from time to time and depended on whether the talent was gold, silver, or copper, it was an enormous amount; and 10,000 of them would be impossible to repay. A talent weighed about 75 pounds; so, 10,000 talents would weigh about 750,000 pounds.

 

It is an intentional exaggeration for purposes of illustration.

We furthermore see that –

   V.     IN ORDER TO COLLECT THE DEBT, THE KING ORDERED THAT THE MAN, HIS WIFE, AND HIS CHILDREN, AND ALL HE POSSESSED BE SOLD AND PAYMENT MADE – 18:25

 

Matthew 18:25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

 

But transitions to the next thought in the narrative in the sense of and, now, or then.

 

Forasmuch as he had not to pay suggests because he did not have (anything) to repay (the debt).

 

His lord is his master or his owner.

 

Commanded him to be sold is ordered him to be sold (as a slave).

 

And his wife, and children indicates that his wife and children were also to be sold as slaves.

 

And all that he had indicates that everything he possessed was also to be sold.

 

And payment to be made suggests and to be repaid or repayment to be made.

Then we see that –

 VI.     THE SERVANT PLEADED WITH THE KING NOT TO DO THIS AND PROMISED THAT HE WOULD PAY EVERYTHING HE OWED – 18:26

 

Matthew 18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

 

The servant is the slave.

 

Therefore is used in the sense of so, then, or now.

 

Fell down may be understood in the sense of when (or after) he fell down.

 

Worshipped him is was worshiping him (i.e. was worshiping his master or owner) or was prostrating himself before him.

 

Saying may instead be understood in the sense of and was saying or while saying. He was on his knees begging his master.

 

What the slave was saying is, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

 

He addresses his owner as Lord or master.

 

Have patience with me is be patient with me.

 

And I will pay thee all is and I will repay you all (things) or everything.

As a result, we see that –

VII.     THE KING FORGAVE THE DEBT – 18:27

 

Matthew 18:27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

 

Then transitions to the next thought in the episode in the sense of and or now.

 

The lord of that servant is the owner (or master) of that slave.

 

Was moved with compassion may instead be understood in the sense of because he was moved with compassion, because he had pity, or because he felt sympathy.

 

Loosed him is released him (or freed him) (from the threat of being sold as a slave).

 

And forgave him the debt is and forgave the loan or canceled the loan.

 

As we move on, we see the same scenario repeated but with different characters and a different result. We see that –

VIII.   THE SAME SERVANT WHO OWED THE KING AN ENORMOUS DEBT FOUND ONE OF HIS FELLOW SERVANTS WHO OWED HIM A SMALL DEBT, AND HE DEMANDED PAYMENT – 18:28

 

Matthew 18:28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

 

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to the forgiveness for an enormous debt which the slave owner extended to his slave.

 

The same servant is that slave.

 

Went out may instead be understood in the sense of after he went out.

 

Found one of his fellowservants suggests came upon one of his fellow slaves.

 

Which owed him an hundred pence is who owed him a hundred denarii, i.e. one hundred days’ wages, which is a manageable debt.

 

And he laid hands on him may instead be understood in the sense of after he laid hands on him or after he grasped (or seized) him.

 

And took him by the throat is he was strangling (him) or he was choking (him).

 

Saying may instead be understood in the sense of and was saying or while saying.

 

What he was saying is, Pay me that thou owest, i.e. pay me what you owe or repay what you owe me.

 

The tense of pay indicates that its action is to be undertaken at once; whereas, the tense of owest indicates that this is an ongoing situation.

 

He is demanding immediate payment in full for his existing loan to his fellow slave.

As we move on, we see that –

 IX.     THIS FELLOW SERVANT ASKED FOR PATIENCE AND PROMISED TO REPAY EVERYTHING – 18:29

 

Matthew 18:29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

 

The fellowservant said the same thing to him he had previously said to their master.

 

And his fellowservant is his (i.e. the slave’s) fellow slave.

 

Fell down may instead be understood in the sense of after he fell down.

 

At his feet indicates where the fellow slave fell down. It was at the feet of the slave who had been forgiven the enormous debt.

 

Besought him is was beseeching him or was imploring him, i.e. imploring the slave to whom he owed one hundred denarii.

 

Saying may instead be understood in the sense of and was saying or while saying. He was on his knees begging his fellow slave.

 

What the slave was saying is, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all, i.e. be patient with me, and I will repay you all (things) (or I will repay you everything).

But, we see that –

   X.     RATHER THAN BEING PATIENT AND GIVING THE FELLOW SERVANT A CHANCE TO REPAY HIM, THE SERVANT WHO HAD BEEN FORGIVEN THE ENORMOUS DEBT CAST HIM INTO PRISON UNTIL HE WOULD PAY THE ENTIRE DEBT – 18:30

 

Matthew 18:30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

 

And (or but) he would not means that the slave whose enormous debt had been forgiven was not willing to be patient and give his fellow slave a chance to repay him.

 

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to what he had been urged to do.

 

Went, i.e. having gone away or after he went away, and cast him into prison, i.e. threw him into prison.

 

Till he should pay the debt is until the time when he might repay what was owed.

As a result, we see that –

 XI.     THE OTHER FELLOW SERVANTS REPORTED TO THE KING WHAT HAD BEEN DONE – 18:31

 

Matthew 18:31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

 

So transitions to the next thought in the narrative in the sense of then, and, now, or but.

 

His fellowservants are his fellow slaves.

 

When they saw what was done may instead be understood in the sense of after they saw the things which happened, because they saw the things which happened, or they saw the things which happened.

 

They were very sorry indicates that his fellow slaves became extremely sad (i.e. extremely sorrowful or extremely distressed).

 

And came and told unto their lord is came and related to their master, reported to their owner, or told their lord in detail all that was done, i.e. all (things) that had happened or everything that had been done.

Next, we see that –

XII.     THE KING THEN REMINDED THE SERVANT WHOM HE HAD FORGIVEN THAT HE HAD FORGIVEN HIS ENTIRE DEBT AND ALSO ASKED IF THE SERVANT SHOULD NOT HAVE HAD MERCY ON HIS FELLOW SERVANT – 18:32-33

 

Matthew 18:32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me.

 

Then suggests thereupon.

 

His lord is the slave’s owner (or his master).

 

After that he had called him is after he summoned him (i.e. after the king summoned the slave to whom he had forgiven an enormous debt).

 

The slave owner said unto him, O thou wicked servant, i.e. (you) wicked slave.

 

I forgave thee all that debt is I forgave you 10,000 talents of debt.

 

Because thou desiredst me is because you urged (or implored) me.

 

 

Matthew 18:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

 

The structure of this question in the Greek text indicates that it is expecting a yes answer.

 

Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant is you should have had compassion on (i.e. had mercy on or pitied) your fellow slave, shouldn’t you? and implies Yes, you should have.

 

Even as I had pity on thee is just as I also had compassion (or mercy) on you or just as I pitied you.

Next, we see that –

XIII.   THE KING THEN DELIVERED HIM TO BE TORTURED UNTIL HE PAID HIS ENTIRE DEBT – 18:34

 

Matthew 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

 

And his lord was wroth refers to the master or owner of the slave whose debt of 10,000 talents had been forgiven.

 

It may instead be understood in the sense of because (i.e. since, inasmuch as, or in view of the fact that) he was angry.

 

His lord refers to the slave’s master or owner, the one who owed his master an enormous sum.

 

Delivered him is handed him over or gave him over.

 

To the tormentors suggests to the torturers, i.e. to the oppressive (or merciless) jailers.

 

Till he should pay all that was due unto him is until the time when he repays in full all that is owed to him.

 

Due to the enormity of his debt, he would never be able to pay his entire debt.

Finally, we see that –

XIV.   JESUS TOLD HIS DISCIPLES THAT IF THEY DID NOT FORGIVE THEIR BROTHERS WHO SINNED AGAINST THEM, GOD THE FATHER WOULD NOT FORGIVE THEM EITHER – 18:35

 

Matthew 18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

 

Verse 35 is a conditional statement whose construction indicates that no assumption may be made regarding its truthfulness. It will be true for some, but it will not be true for others.

 

Ordinarily, the condition comes before its conclusion. However, when the writer or speaker wishes to emphasize the conclusion, he reverses this order as Jesus did in this verse.

 

The condition is if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses, and the conclusion is so likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you.

 

So likewise is so also.

 

Shall my heavenly Father do also unto you is My heavenly Father (i.e. God the Father) will do to you (who do not forgive the trespasses of his brother).

 

The condition may or may not be true.

 

If it is true, the conclusion will also be true; but if it is false, the conclusion will also be false.

 

If ye . . . forgive not is if you (plural) do not forgive.

 

From your hearts speaks of a genuineness from deep within you.

 

It is plural because ye is plural and each of those represented by ye has a heart.

 

Every one individualizes you and means each (of you).

 

His brother has wide application and may mean his sibling, his associate, or his neighbor.

 

Their trespasses refers to the sins all his brothers would commit against the people represented by ye.

 

Ye, your, and their are plural; whereas, his is singular.

 

This individualizes each brother and indicates that all of Jesus’ disciples are to forgive each and every one of all their siblings, associates, or neighbors, which implies that they are to forgive the sins of everyone who sins against them.

We move on to –

XV.     THE CONCLUDING STATEMENT – 19:1-2

 

Verses 1-2 conclude the section on the Destiny of the King. Jesus finished His instruction, left Galilee, and went to Perea on the east side of the Jordan River where large crowds followed Him and many were healed by Him.

 

Matthew 19:1 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan.

 

And it came to pass is and it happened, and it occurred, or and it took place.

 

What happened is that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee.

 

As indicated by the italics, that has been supplied by the translators.

 

When Jesus had finished these sayings is when Jesus finished these words (or statements), and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

 

He departed from Galilee is He went away from Galilee.

 

And came into the coasts of Judaea is and came into the region (or district) of Judea.

 

Beyond the Jordan indicates that He was on the eastern side of the Jordan River in the area known as Perea.

 

Matthew 19:2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.

 

And great multitudes followed him is and great crowds (or and large crowds) followed Him.

 

And he healed them there indicates that in that place (i.e. in Perea) Jesus healed those who needed to be healed.

CONCLUSION:

 

We have seen the need to forgive others who sin against us regardless of how difficult this may seem, especially if the sin is ongoing or frequently repeated; but this is no excuse. We must do it because God has forgiven us.

 

If you are having a problem forgiving someone, ask God to help you do what you need to do.

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