Summary: The key to forgiving others is found in our own forgiveness. And the Bible also indicates a level of ’forgetting’ Christ can make us capable of. Link included to formatted text, audio, and PowerPoint Template.

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Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Matthew 18:21-35

1. "The Parables Of Jesus" we have considered so far have centered around the kingdom of heaven itself...

2. The next parable we shall consider is one that describes "the character of the citizens" which are to make up the kingdom...

[We begin our study by noticing...]



1. Peter’s question about forgiving a brother - Mt 18:21

a. He probably thought he was being very gracious

b. Many Jewish rabbis taught that three (3) times was sufficient

2. Jesus’ initial response - Mt 18:22

a. His answer is not to be taken literally [490 times]

b. Rather, Jesus confronts Peter with the truth that the spirit of forgiveness really knows no boundaries.

3. To reinforce His point, Jesus proceeds to tell the parable...


1. A king shows mercy to his servant by canceling his huge debt

- Mt 18:23-27

a. How large amount was 10,000 talents?

1) If the Attic talent is intended, about 6,000 denarii’s were involved in just one Attic talent.

2) Remembering that denarii’s were a day’s normal wage, the poor fellow owed something like 60,000,000 denarii’s."

3) Using the rate of $50 as one day’s wage, the amount would be

$3,000,000,000 (3 billion dollars!)

b. The mercy of the king goes beyond the actual request

1) The request was for patience to pay the debt

2) Yet the king was willing to forgive the debt entirely!

2. That servant in turn then refuses to cancel a fellow servant’s petty

debt - Mt 18:28-30

a. How much was a hundred denarii?

1) Remember, a "denarii" was equivalent to a day’s wage

2) Using the same rate above ($50/day), the amount would be $5000

b. The unmerciful servant refuses to heed the same plea made earlier by himself.

3. The final result: Upon this cruel servant the king imposes the former sentence, even adding to it! - Mt 18:31-34

a. Before, he, his family, and his possessions were only going to be sold

b. But now, he is to handed over to the "torturers". Aren’t you glad we don’t have those today?! Some of you who provide services might benefit if we did!


1. As stated by Jesus Himself - Mt 18:35

Failure to forgive a brother will bring severe punishment!

Prompted by gratitude the forgiven sinner must always yearn to forgive whoever has trespassed against him.

2. We can also draw several other lessons:

a. We are all God’s debtors – Rom. 3:23 – “come short”

b. None are able to pay what is owed

c. But by Christ’s atoning sacrifice, the debt is paid - Mt 18:27;

- cf. Mt 20:28

Matthew 20:28

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

d. Only those who are willing to forgive others can be assured that

they are indeed forgiven - Mt 18:35; cf. Mt 6:14-15

Matthew 6:14-15

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

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