Lesson Scriptures: Matthew 18:21-35
Key Lesson Theme: “Forgive Your Neighbor”
Today's Lesson: Monday, August 8
21 Then Peter approached him and asked, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?”
22 “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.”
23 “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
24 When he began to settle accounts, one who owed ten thousand talents was brought before him.
25 Since he did not have the money to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt.
26 “At this, the servant fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything.’
27 Then the master of that servant had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan.
28 “That servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, ‘Pay what you owe!’
29 “At this, his fellow servant fell down and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
30 But he wasn’t willing. Instead, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed.
31 When the other servants saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened.
32 Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.
33 Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’
34 And because he was angry, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed.
35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister from your heart.”
The Bible Meets Life
Forgiveness is not easy. Things often surface that remind us of the hurt or injustice we felt, and a bitter spirit can resurface. In those moments, we must remember the depth of forgiveness God has extended to us. Even as God forgave us in Christ, we are to forgive. Forgiveness is a great healer in any relationship.
Matthew’s Gospel includes five major discourses (Matt. 5–7; 10; 13; 18; 23–25) in which Jesus instructed His disciples on what it would mean to follow Him and to live as citizens of the kingdom of heaven, meaning under the rule and reign of God. Each discourse ended with a summary statement (8:1; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1).
The verses for this session come from the fourth discourse (Matt. 18). Here Jesus gave instructions concerning the character of His disciples; specifically, humility and forgiveness. The discussion was in response to the disciples’ question, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (v. 1). In response, Jesus taught a lesson on humility (vv. 2-14), described a process for being reconciled with one who sinned against them (vv. 15-20), and the importance of avoiding offensive actions against others (vv. 21-35).
Jesus’s teaching about forgiveness generated a question in Peter’s mind. So, after the public teaching was over, Peter approached Jesus to follow up on what He had said. Perhaps the question was something he had been pondering for some time. How many times should one forgive another person?
In this session we will be reminded how we are to relate to each other in the community of faith, especially in those times when we are struggling with one another. Jesus focused on the spirit of forgiveness that characterizes those who have received abundant forgiving grace from God. “One of the greatest tests of the degree of a person’s transformation into the likeness of Christ is his reaction to the one who does evil to him.” Relationships that are marked by forgiveness will grow deeper and deeper when the principles identified in this session are put into practice. These same principles apply in our relationships with persons outside the church as well. No matter who or where, love leads us to forgive.
Until tomorrow Saints...
Every day is Sunday