Summary of passage: Peter asks how many times should you forgive someone who has sinned against you. Jesus says 77 times. Then he tells the parable of a servant who owed his master millions of dollars. He begged for mercy and the master let him go and canceled the debt. But when that servant was owed a few dollars by another man, he had the other man he choked him and had him thrown in jail over it!
When the master found out, he had the servant called in and told him he should have had mercy on the man just like he had and he had him tortured because of it. Jesus says God will do the same thing if we do not forgive others.
12a) Peter thinks there is a limit on the number of times you can forgive someone before not forgiving them and possibly throwing them in jail or what-have-you. Asking about his brother shows he doesn’t get the parallel between God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others.
b) The world follows Lamech’s view: that if he is wronged 7 times he will have his revenge 77 times. The world does not forgive; it only seeks vengeance. Jesus said to forgive unlimited times. Lamech said to seek vengeance unlimited times.
13a) It is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants who owed him so much money that they would never be able to repay it and therefore had to be forgiven or face eternal hell.
b) Personal Question. My answer: We must forgive others since God has forgiven us the immensity of our sins for our sins are 77 times greater (or infinitely times greater) than any other sin committed against us by others. We forgive over and over again as God does us.
c) Personal Question. My answer: It would be a calmer place to live. Less stressful. More encouraging. Happier. If we truly understood the enormity of our sins then nothing others did to us would matter. Strife would end.
d) Personal Question. My answer: Oh, Lord, forgive me that which does not deserve forgiving. Without your grace I would be nothing. Thank you, oh Lord, for your forgiveness of my sins and help me to show my gratitude as I forgive others. Amen
Conclusions: I liked this lesson. Very powerful parody in the undeservedness of God’s forgiveness and how we are to extend the same to others. Always easy to say and not so easy to apply in life, thus making it a good lesson to hear over and over again.
End Notes: If you were a first century Jew, you were taught you could only forgive someone up to 3 times and that’s it. Here, Peter doubles that, thinking himself generous, which of course, Jesus says is ridiculous. This is Peter, after all.
Note the anger of the man who had basically just been set free by his master. He grabbed the guy by the throat very threateningly and demanded payment. How many times have we done the same thing: our anger so overpowering us that we blow something up that was so very minor in our lives?
The man was blind to his own sin (as we so often are and why we need people to point it out like Lesson 4 just pointed out) and instead of mercy now received justice. Note we deserve justice but God gives us mercy anyways if we ask His forgiveness and repent.
Since God who forgives (when He doesn’t need to since He has nothing to be forgiven of) us who are full of sin, we must forgive others who need forgiveness every day of our lives. We have no right to hold onto grievances.
You can forgive sins but the sinner still faces consequences like in the case of murder.
Forgive others or you yourself will be tortured.