FORGIVENESS & GRACE
Money Lender & 2 Debtors Lk 7:36-50
King & 2 Slaves Mt 18:21-35
Landowner & Laborers Mt 20:1-16
I. Background to the Parables
a. Jesus’ parable is His response to Simon’s doubts and wonder that Jesus, allegedly a prophet, is letting a known sinner touch him, Lk 7:36-50.
b. Jesus’ parable of the unmerciful servant is given in response to Peter’s question in Mt 18:21 and what Peter thinks is his own very generous answer.
c. Jesus’ parable of the landowner and laborers was given to clarify his statement, “The last shall be first…,” Mt 19:30, 20:15-16.
2. Definitions/Cultural Insights
a. “Good” Jews did not associate with “bad” people, Lk 5:30, 7:39, 15:2, 19:7,
b. Hospitality customs called for greeting and honoring your guests with footwashing, a kiss, and refreshing oil.
c. Denarii: a day’s wage
d. The Jewish rabbis (teachers) of Peter’s time taught a person was to be forgiven 3 times, no more!
e. Day laborers were hired in the morning and paid at sunset, as the Law of Moses said, Deut 24:15; Lev 19:13.
II. Understanding the Parables
1. Simon the Pharisee understood Jesus’ parable, the one who loves the most is the one who understands he has been graciously forgiven most.
2. In Mt 18, Jesus again taught that the kingdom is a place of forgiveness, and that personal forgiveness carries a responsibility.
a. When pleaded with, the Lord forgave his slave who had a debt impossible to repay.
b. That slave, even though begged, refused to forgive his debtor.
c. The Lord heard of the first slave’s failure to forgive (wickedness) and punished him.
3. Jesus did 2 things in the parable of the landowner and laborers: He clarified His “first shall be last…” statement and He painted another picture of the kingdom.
a. The first laborers hired were treated fairly, they received exactly what they agreed on, but were paid last.
b. The laborers hired later were paid first, and were paid generously, if you calculated wages per hour.
III. Consideration and Application of the Parables
1. God Graciously Forgives…
The kingdom of God is the place where grace and forgiveness rule, Col 1:13-14. Are you aware of your own sin, and the cross’s grace and forgiveness? Do you deeply love God, and therefore others since you have been forgiven? Can you “see” others as needing this, or do you see only the sinner, as Simon saw? Is there a right and wrong way to associate with sinners?
2. God Forgives… you forgive
Forgiveness became available to all when Jesus paid sins debt at the cross, and all have access to that forgiveness through faith’s repentance and baptism, Acts 2:38. The challenge of this parable is to personally extend that forgiveness to others who have sinned against you. Do you forgive others or wait for complete repayment; hold grudges or get even?
3. God Won’t… if you don’t
Everyone is sinned against by someone. You can either cultivate a forgiving, vengeful, or bitter heart. Remember the prayer of Mt 6:12. God can help you forgive. Are you praying this type of prayer and seeking God’s help? If you trust in your own power to forgive, you’ll fail.
4. God’s Generous… as He sees fit
James said God is the giver of every good and perfect gift, Js 1. Rejoice in God’s generosity towards you. His gifts are perfect for you and for what He’s called you to be and do. Do you compare your life, circumstances… to others and find yourself grumbling or becoming self-righteous? Do you rejoice in God’s greatest gift - salvation in Jesus Christ!?
IV. Memory Verse - Lk 7:47