Read Matthew 18
Importance of helping and not hindering a child's faith in God (Matt. 18:2-10). Jesus' purpose in life: To save that which was (is) lost (18:11-14). Importance of forgiving all offenses (18:21-35). Christ and divorce (19:3-12). Difficulty of rich people entering heaven (19:16-30). By faith, we follow our King. With Jesus all things are possible (19:26). Laborers in His kingdom (20:1-16). Jesus foretells His death and resurrection (20:17-19). Importance of being a servant; two blind men receive sight (20:17-34).
The rabbis taught that one should forgive his neighbor who had offended him as many as three times. Peter thought himself to be far superior if his forgiveness was extended to seven offenses. The Savior's reply exposed Peter's attitude as far from adequate when compared with the mercy of God and His willingness to forgive us without limitation. It demonstrated that there is no forgiveness from God unless one's forgiving spirit is limitless.
The Lord's response was a parable of a king who discovered that one of his servants owed him ten thousand talents (Matt. 18:24) — an amount far beyond his ability to pay in a lifetime. The servant begged for patience (18:26). The king was moved with compassion, and . . . forgave him (all) the debt (18:27). This same servant soon was confronted with another slave who owed him an hundred pence (100 days' pay): and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat. . . . and cast him into prison (18:28-30). Having heard this, his lord (the king) was wroth (angry) (18:31-34). He reversed his decision and delivered his servant to the prison and the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him (18:34). Then Jesus said: So likewise shall My Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one . . . their trespasses (18:35).
The principle of forgiveness is based upon the redeeming love of God, fully and freely granted in mercy and grace to undeserving sinners. The evidence of His forgiving work of grace in one's life will become apparent by one's response to the offenses of others. How insignificant are my brother's offenses against me compared to my numberless sins against God?
True repentance toward God is inseparably associated with our attitude toward our fellowmen; it cannot exist apart from our forgiving spirit (18:35). Jesus said: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven (5:44-45).
Thought for Today:
If ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matt. 6:14-15).
For Matt. 18:16: See Deut. 19:15. Matt. 19:4: See Gen.1:27; 5:2. Matt. 19:5: See Gen. 2:24. Matt. 19:7: See Deut. 24:1-4. Matt. 19:18: See Ex. 20:13-16; Deut. 5:16-20. Matt. 19:19: See Ex. 20:12; Lev. 19:18; Deut. 5:16.
18:6 offend no wrong, cause to sin; 19:14 Suffer permit; 20:3 third hour about 9 a.m.; 20:11 murmured against the goodman of the house were indignant, critical of their employer; 20:15 Is thine eye evil? are you begrudging, jealous, or envious?; 20:26 minister servant.
Pray for Government Officials: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH) and Rep. Thomas Price (GA) • Country: Belize (236,000) on the eastern coast of Central America • Major languages: English and Spanish • Religious freedom • 64% Roman Catholic; 26% Protestant; 2% spiritist/animist; 1% Hindu; 1% Muslim; 1% Baha'i • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for your adversaries (Ps. 109:4).
Memory Verse for the Week: