Matthew 18:28-30 (On Choking Others Over Pence and Motes and Gnats)

After the Lord had forgiven the debt of the slave who owed him the vast sum of money and released him, what did the slave proceed to do?  See Mat 18:28.  In what way is that similar to some who encounter the Lord and find “religion”, but as if to demonstrate their newfound “devotion” to their master become punctilious in their religious practice and judgmental and exacting of others?  Cf. Mat 7:1-5, 9:10-13, 15:2, 23:16,23-24, 27:6-7, Luk 11:46, Joh 18:28.  Are we like that?  Is it significant that the slave’s words to the man were literally, “Pay back if anything you owe”, as if he didn’t even know how much was owed?  In what way is religious hypocrisy like that?  What word do we use that means to choke or suppress the flow of air that is related to the word for throat?  In what way do those who are only religious “throttle” others who are in their power?  Cf. Mat 24:45-51, Gal 4:8-11, 2Co 11:20, Col 2:16-17,20-23, and consider how such actions cut off the flow of the life-giving breath of God’s Spirit; see Joh 6:63, 2Co 3:6, Rom 8:2.  Are we guilty of choking others with what are only the commandments and teachings of men so they are deprived of the Spirit that gives life?  What does this parable teach us about the great danger after being touched by the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness of only becoming religious and not truly sanctified in His image to fulfill the “weightier provisions of the law”?  Cf. Ecc 7:26, Rev 17:1-6, 18:1-5.  What are those weightier provisions?  See Mat 23:23 as well as Mat 18:27,33.

Who does the slave who owed a hundred denarii to the man who had been forgiven the great debt represent in the parable?  See Mat 18:21.  How much would a hundred denarii be worth in terms of our money today?  See NASB text note[1].  Was that an insignificant amount of money?  In terms of others’ sins against us, does it refer to some small, insignificant matter?  Consider that the fellow slave owed enough that his debt must have been accumulating over time as the first slave had been forgiving his inability to repay; in what way then does the first slave represent the answer to Peter’s question in Mat 18:21?  As significant as the fellow slave’s debt was, how did it compare to the vast sum that the first slave had been forgiven?  Recall that a talent was equivalent to 6000 denarii, so a hundred denarii was 1/60th of a talent, and 1/600,000 of 10,000 talents; hence it is the equivalent of being forgiven a debt of $600,000, but then demanding payment from someone else of $1.  What does this teach us about how small and insignificant the sins of others against us are in comparison to our sins against God?  Cf. Psa 51:4 and the context.  Besides denarii and talents, by what other terms does Scripture contrast our sins against God with others’ sins against us?  See again Mat 7:3, 23:24.  With this understanding, what should be our response when dealing with the sins of others against us?  See Luk 6:36-38.

What was the fellow slave’s response at the first slave’s demands?  See Mat 18:29.  What is the significance of his response?  See Mat 18:26.  Is it just as significant that Jesus did not describe the fellow slave as being unrepentant?  In terms of the parable’s teaching on forgiveness, should we understand that when a brother sins against us and remains unrepentant that we are to forgive him anyway and pretend like nothing happened?  See Mat 18:15-17 and think: when men remain unrepentant does God just forgive them anyway and pass over their sins as if nothing happened?  Cf. Rom 2:4-5, Zec 7:11-13.  Does God’s mercy and love negate His justice?  If we are to become like God in His righteous character, shall we then emphasize His love to the exclusion of His justice?  Is it in fact an act of true love to ignore the sins of the unrepentant so they are misled in regard to God’s justice, as if He will never call them to account for their sins?  Should our motivation in such circumstances be one of vengeance?  See Rom 12:19.  Or should it be that the sinner by facing justice for his actions in this life might yet come to repentance and his soul be saved in the day of judgment, in hope that not even a single little one would perish?  Cf. 1Co 5:5.  For grievances between Christians, should such justice ever be decided and meted out through the courts of men and of nations?  See 1Co 6:1-11.

 


1. If a day’s wages is $100 ($26,000/year) then a hundred day’s wages would be $10,000.

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